Castleton, VT — While many Vermonters are bundling up at home to stay warm on frigid days, others are turning their sights on getting outside for ice fishing.

Vermont’s free ice fishing day is Saturday, January 29 and people across the state can ice fish on any waterbody that is open to ice fishing without a fishing license.

Corey Hart, an education specialist for Vermont Fish & Wildlife, has been ice fishing for most of his life. “As long as I can remember I used to go out fishing with my family, and now I just do it on my own as well.”

According to Hart, the first thing you want to do when you get out on the ice is to drill your hole, kick surrounding snow away and use a ladle to pick out the snow. Hart notes how water depth is important to consider depending on the species of fish you are trying to catch.

“We are at about six feet of water and for different fish species you want to be in different depths,” said Hart. “So if I was going for trout or bass I would want to be in different areas of the lake.”

From there, Hart says to put your weight into the water and wait. “On a cold day you want to do it fast so the minnow doesn’t freeze. Put it back in the hole so its nice and lively, set it down and set the tip up, put the flag down and wait.”

Vermont State Game Warden Robert Sterling shared some reminders to keep in mind before going out on the ice. “Make sure you check the ice before you go out, use a spud or something and check it and see what you go for depth.”

Sterling says don’t forget to bring all of your supplies but make sure to keep your car or vehicle on the shore. “Over the number of years I have been doing this job, I have seen many vehicles, ATVs, snowmobiles and trucks go through the ice.”