Ice fishing has been excellent in recent weeks, but the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is urging anyone venturing onto the ice to use extreme caution.
"Ice conditions are deteriorating fast," said Col. David LeCours, Vermont's chief game warden. "Ice is melting, water is warming and ice is moving away from shore in some places, so we are asking people going fishing to be extra careful. Conditions can change hourly, so keep an eye on the conditions around you."
At the same time, in response to the warming water and longer days, many fish such as bluegill, crappie, yellow perch and northern pike are moving into the shallows as they get ready to spawn.
LeCours says if you are going ice fishing, don't go alone, carry a cell phone, a floatation vest, ice spikes to pull yourself out, leave your motor vehicle on shore, and check ice thickness as you go.
"We like to see people enjoying a good fishing experience," added LeCours, "but we are very concerned about everyone staying safe."
Colder weather than normal may have extended ice fishing on some Vermont lakes, but a state law requires that ice fishing shanties must be removed from the ice no later than Sunday, March 29.