Last year's Schroon Lake Ice Fishing Derby generated some controversy, as many questioned whether it should be held in light of poor ice conditions. Organizers went ahead, and everyone got on and off safely.

The ice is much better this winter, and the derby is again all set for this weekend. It's always been a nice end to the ice fishing season, but the snowstorm predicted for later this week in northern parts of the region is going to make things messy on the hardwater.

This time of year it's easy to get on the ice, but the high sun and warmer temperatures can make it tricky getting off, as ice separates from the warmer shore. Iceshanty.com's thread for Schroon Lake showed some discussion and pictures of areas on Schroon opening up this week, and guys taking their shanties off.

I was on and around Lake George last weekend, and saw plenty of good ice around Hague as of Sunday morning. It had a lot of water on it, and I can't vouch for the conditions after this week's warmup, but there were quite a few people out around Sabbath Day Point.

This has also historically been the time of year where we have seen some ice rescues when diehards hoping for one last good outing venture out onto spots they shouldn't. I'll never forget watching firefighters venture out on Harris Bay on Lake George a couple of years ago to pull a guy off who was on ice that was so gray, it was pretty much blue.

Safety is paramount when conditions can vary so much between morning and afternoon, and day-to-day.

-- Don Lehman