The annual Vermont Fish and Wildlife ice fishing festival in the US is doing its bit to boost participation during the cold winter months.
The festival offers both newcomers and experienced ice anglers a free fishing day on any water body open to ice fishing state-wide without a fishing licence.
Free ice fishing day takes place on the last Saturday in January and is geared to giving new ice anglers an opportunity to try the experience before purchasing the necessary equipment.
At the state’s Elmore State Park, there were multiple different stations, including one where anglers could cook the fish they had caught.
Vermont Fishing and Wildlife staff, as well as instructors from the state’s Let’s Go Fishing programme, teach hands-on ice fishing skills and how to stay safe on the ice.
“I really didn’t know what I was getting into, but I really like all the stations they have,” said newcomer Cecilie MacPherson. “I thought I was going to show up and just try to figure it out, but I really love they are teaching you how and everything you need to know.”
Sophie Gustafson, another first-timer, said: “I got to meet a bunch of people who were were also interested in ice fishing and I got to learn from people who know a lot about it.”
Andrew Traverso-Estes surprised himself with a 29-inch pike after a long break from fishing. “It started fighting and when I saw it in the hole I thought let’s get it out of there.”