NORTH BENNINGTON — Temperatures were in the single digits on Saturday, with wind chill hovering around negative 10 degrees. Great conditions for Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to host its free ice fishing day.
Vermont residents and non-residents alike — with or without a fishing license — were allowed to bore holes into the ice and try to catch a fish.
On Lake Paran, a few fishermen set up shop Saturday morning looking for a catch on ice that ranged about six to eight inches thick.
Bill Prufer and Emilio Maisonet set up a tent known as a “shanty” around 8 a.m. to protect themselves from the wind. They used a manual auger to make the holes in the ice, baited their lines, and waited.
For Maisonet, ice fishing is something to do during the winter months.
“Good way to waste some time on a Saturday,” he said.
David Seagren Sr. and David Seagren Jr. were also on the ice at Lake Paran.
The younger Seagren holds a lifetime fishing license, and shared what he enjoys most about the sport.
“Just the fight the fish make and the enjoyment of being outside,” he said.
The elder Seagren said he introduced his son to the sport when he was eight years old. It was around that same age when Sr. went ice fishing the first time himself.
“I got amazed by watching the rainbow smelt swimming underneath the ice,” Seagren Sr. said. “As a kid, you try to grab it, grab it, and they keep going.”
Both groups on the Lake Paran ice Saturday morning held fishing licenses.
Seagren Jr said the low temperatures may have played a part in not seeing any newcomers on the ice on Saturday.
Despite the low turnout, Maisonet is happy to see Vermont offer a free ice fishing day.
“I think it’s great,” Maisonet said. “It gets people more into the sport, and it brings more revenue for the Fish and Wildlife which is great, because we need them folks.”