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Ice-Fishing Season Is Thriving In Northern Westchester

Croton Falls resident Bill Weizenecker ice fishes on the Cross River Reservoir. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Bedford resident Warren Hensel ice fishing on the Cross River Reservoir. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Charles George, left, owner of The Bedford Sportman, with Carmel resident John Desatnik. The two pose for photos while holding equipment. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Sled tracks can be seen on the Cross River Reservoir. Ice fishermen are visible in the distance. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
An ice-fishing hole drilled through the ice on the Cross River Reservoir. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A mix of tracks visible on the icy surface of the Cross River Reservoir. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- It's a cold Thursday afternoon in the middle of the Cross River Reservoir, which straddles Cross River and Katonah. The frozen-solid surface allows for a prime ice fishing spot, which several men take up the opportunity for.

One of the men, Croton Falls resident Bill Weizenecker, sat while his line went through a drilled hole. His earlier catch, trout, could be heard moving around in his sled while it was covered by a plastic bag.

With winter comes ice-fishing season, a time when the reservoirs of Northern Westchester and Putnam can be walked on.

Charles George, owner of The Bedford Sportsman in Cross River, calls ice fishing a “fun activity" and says there is "a lot of participation."

George, whose shop sells fishing equipment, explained that the most frequent questions he gets have to do with safety of the ice and of bait. Equipment for ice fishing, George explained, include an auger, a sled, jigging rods and tip ups.

Carmel resident John Desatnik, who returned to The Bedford Sportsman following a Thursday ice-fishing trip, recalled two days at the Cross River Reservoir. He caught two trout with his jigging rod on the first while catching just small perch on the second.

Desatnik recalls that he has gone ice fishing in Westchester and Putnam.

Weizenecker named the various reservoirs where he goes ice fishing. Aside from the Cross River Reservoir, he goes to the Muscoot Reservoir in Somers and the Titicus Reservoir in North Salem.

Asked how ice fishing has been this winter, Weizenecker said, “not too bad."

Bedford resident Warren Hensel could be seen fishing near Weizenecker on Thursday. Asked how often he goes ice fishing during the winter, Hensel replied, “as much time as I can."

Hensel was not impressed with the fishing quality so far this winter, saying it is “not too good yet." He cited it being early season for ice as the reason and explained that he might have caught more fish if it had formed earlier.

Discussing safety on the ice, Hensel explained that you want at least three inches of "black ice," which he described as looking like glass.

Information about ice-fishing rules, including which reservoirs it is allowed in, click here for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) rules. The city controls the reservoirs, which are used for its water supply.

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