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Extended winter means extended ice fishing on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield

  • Wayne Hoyt of Candia stands for a portrait with his biggest catch of the season, an 18-inch brown trout he caught while ice fishing with his son Robert Hoyt and Robert's friend Mark Chalbeck on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Wayne Hoyt of Candia stands for a portrait with his biggest catch of the season, an 18-inch brown trout he caught while ice fishing with his son Robert Hoyt and Robert's friend Mark Chalbeck on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014. They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove. The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year. Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing. "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark. Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.
    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Wayne Hoyt measures the thickness of the ice after his son Robert Hoyt dug a hole for ice fishing while they and Robert's friend Mark Chalbeck, all of Candia, ice fish on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Wayne Hoyt measures the thickness of the ice after his son Robert Hoyt dug a hole for ice fishing while they and Robert's friend Mark Chalbeck, all of Candia, ice fish on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014. They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove. The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year. Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing. "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark. Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.
    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Wayne Hoyt of Candia (left) waits to shovel slush as Mark Chalbeck of Candia scoops some slush out of a hole in the ice dug by his friend Robert Hoyt of Candia while they were ice fishing on Pleasant lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.     <br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Wayne Hoyt of Candia (left) waits to shovel slush as Mark Chalbeck of Candia scoops some slush out of a hole in the ice dug by his friend Robert Hoyt of Candia while they were ice fishing on Pleasant lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014. They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove. The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year. Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing. "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark. Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Mark Chalbeck of Candia scoops slush out of a hole in the ice dug by his friend Robert Hoyt of Candia while they were ice fishing with Robert's dad Wayne Hoyt of Candia on Pleasant lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Mark Chalbeck of Candia scoops slush out of a hole in the ice dug by his friend Robert Hoyt of Candia while they were ice fishing with Robert's dad Wayne Hoyt of Candia on Pleasant lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014. They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove. The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year. Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing. "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark. Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • One bob house remained near the dam on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  Bob houses must be off of the ice by April 1, but fishing on some lakes is still legal after April 1 as long as the ice is safe.<br/>  <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    One bob house remained near the dam on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Bob houses must be off of the ice by April 1, but fishing on some lakes is still legal after April 1 as long as the ice is safe.

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Mark Chalbeck (left), his friend Robert Hoyt and Robert's dad Wayne, all of Candia, ice fish next to Mark's portable bob house on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Mark Chalbeck (left), his friend Robert Hoyt and Robert's dad Wayne, all of Candia, ice fish next to Mark's portable bob house on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014. They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove. The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year. Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing. "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark. Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.
    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Wayne Hoyt of Candia stands for a portrait with his biggest catch of the season, an 18-inch brown trout he caught while ice fishing with his son Robert Hoyt and Robert's friend Mark Chalbeck on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Wayne Hoyt measures the thickness of the ice after his son Robert Hoyt dug a hole for ice fishing while they and Robert's friend Mark Chalbeck, all of Candia, ice fish on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Wayne Hoyt of Candia (left) waits to shovel slush as Mark Chalbeck of Candia scoops some slush out of a hole in the ice dug by his friend Robert Hoyt of Candia while they were ice fishing on Pleasant lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.     <br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Mark Chalbeck of Candia scoops slush out of a hole in the ice dug by his friend Robert Hoyt of Candia while they were ice fishing with Robert's dad Wayne Hoyt of Candia on Pleasant lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • One bob house remained near the dam on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  Bob houses must be off of the ice by April 1, but fishing on some lakes is still legal after April 1 as long as the ice is safe.<br/>  <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Mark Chalbeck (left), his friend Robert Hoyt and Robert's dad Wayne, all of Candia, ice fish next to Mark's portable bob house on Pleasant Lake in Deerfield on Saturday, March 29, 2014.  They took Wayne's bob house off of the ice three weeks ago, well ahead of the April 1 deadline because they didn't want to chance a thaw making it difficult to remove.  The three of them have come out to the lake every weekend since January 27 this year.  Robert and Mark have been friends since they were kids, and now they enjoy taking their kids fishing.  "It refreshes your love of the sport when you see their joy," said Mark.  Wayne caught his biggest fish of the season on Saturday, a brown trout measuring about 18 inches.    <br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

Rain, wind and cold didn’t stop Mark Chalbeck from hitting the ice at Pleasant Lake in Deerfield yesterday to go fishing. But the poor conditions did ward off his friends, and almost everyone else. “There were only two other guys, and they already gave up,” said the Candia resident about 1:30 p.m.

The early spring weather may not have been ideal, but ice conditions were great. “This time of year usually the ice is off of the shore, you have to use a plank to get out here,” he said. “The only open water so far is . . . at the outlet and probably down at the inlet.”

This was the last weekend bob houses were allowed to stay on the ice. The structures need to be removed by tomorrow, according to state regulations. But a cold winter means most people will be able to keep ice fishing into the coming weeks.

“Usually, most conditions are such that people really need to get them off prior to April 1,” said Scott Decker, program supervisor at the state’s Fish and Game Department. If they don’t, the ice could melt out underneath. “This year, you could leave them out there. It’s probably thick enough in places to leave them out a couple weeks.”

At Pleasant Lake, Chalbeck said the ice was about 23 inches two weeks ago, and now it’s about 18 inches. Farther north, there is still 20 to 30 inches of ice, said Andrew Fosher, an employee at Martel’s Bait & Sport shop in Laconia. “There’s too much ice out there,” he said. “People are getting sick of it.”

Last year, Lake Winnipesaukee ice-out, a nonscientific determination of when most of the lake’s ice has broken up, occurred April 17. The year before that, ice-out was recorded March 23. The date traditionally serves as the start of the spring season. “It will probably be later this year,” Fosher said.

Technically open water season starts March 31 at some of the bigger, deeper lakes, Decker said. But for the majority of the other lakes, people can continue ice fishing past that date, “until the ice is basically not safe to fish anymore.”

“We’ll probably see ice fishing continuing on these smaller lakes, probably well into the middle of April,” he said. “It’s very unusual.”

The Concord area’s winter season, measured from December to February, was much colder and snowier than usual, according to a climatological report from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. The average temperature during that period was 20.8 degrees, 3.1 degrees below average.

That makes this winter tied with the 1980-81 season for the 29th coldest in the past 146 years.

“This is great for us this year because we get to do a little expanded season,” Chalbeck said. Over the winter, his four-person fishing group caught 25 fish. On Saturday, his friend Wayne Hoyt reeled in the group’s biggest catch of the year, a 2½-pound, 18½-inch brown trout. Chalbeck said they have at least two more weeks out on the ice.

Yesterday afternoon, the only other person on the ice besides Chalbeck was someone flying a kite in the blustery wind. While fishing Saturday, Chalbeck and his friends saw a great blue heron. “We were shocked to see one . . . with so much ice and snow around,” he said. “Spring ain’t too far away.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)

Legacy Comments2

Nice fish! Although this article only makes me yearn for the ice to be gone sooner so I can break out my fly rod.

I'm thinking May...

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