The Ice Fishermen of Schroon Lake, New York

05/26/2015 01:00 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2016

Ice Fishermen, Schroon Lake, New York

I know that everyone is getting ready to slip into their flip flops and sandals, but let us all not forget that less than a few months ago, the east coast, New York in particular, was experiencing a pretty brutal winter. I decided that instead of fighting the cold harshness of mother nature, embracing it might be a better approach! That is when I decided to travel up to the beautiful town of Schroon Lake, NY to photograph the annual ice fishing derby.

Having never been up to the Adirondacks at all, this was quite the adventure. The small town is tucked away between a beautiful lake and the interstate. I started out with familiarizing myself with the locals by visiting the town fish and game club since they were the ones putting on the event. After learning more about the agenda, access locations to the lake etc., I headed out to the ice.

Having no experience at all with the ice fishing sport, I had my doubts as to whether the ice would be safe. Those doubts quickly subsided after seeing the amount of SUVs, cars, and four wheelers that seemed to be safely gliding along the lake. It was dusk on a Friday evening and the fishermen were already out there drilling and setting up their home bases for the weekend.

Over the course of the next two days, we worked from sunrise to sunset walking around the lake, meeting and talking with people, and taking their portraits. The temperature at 5:30am was around 5 below zero, but by the afternoon, the temp rose to about 15 degrees. We definitely battled with the bitter cold, and equipment started malfunctioning, but we made it through. I was both amazed and inspired by the amount of determination and hard work that the ice fishermen and women put into this sport.



Rick came up to the lake to do some ice fishing with his daughter. They arrived on the lake around 3am and began drilling holes.


A family sits and waits by their ice fishing holes.


An ice shanty sits on the lake. This is a mobile shelter often left out on the lake for the season. Some shanties are powered by generators to supply heat and electricity.



Two ice fishermen drill holes all over the lake. They planned on drilling into the late evening.




Moto Hikita and his son stand next to a shovel. They are both from Japan and enjoy ice fishing very much.



Eric Talmadge from Greenwich, NY sits on his four wheeler. Eric has been fishing the derby for the last few years with his friend Ray. Together they have ice fished on eight different lakes this past winter.


An ice fisherman baits his line before dropping it into the hole.


A local perch was caught and sits on the ice.


Lisa and Joe Mieczkowski get up at 5am on the second day of the derby to try drilling on a different part of the lake as the day prior proved to be unsuccessful.


Dan Barcomb stands next to his fishing pole after he baited his line.


Mike Charbonneau sits on his two-seater with his tip up. Ice fishermen rarely use traditional fishing poles. Most resort to the use of a tip up which is a spring loaded contraption that raises an orange flag when a fish tugs on the bait.

Yvonne Albinowski is an environmental portrait, travelogue, and food photographer based in New York City. In addition to working in the commercial world, she continues to shoot personal photo essays that take her to remote places all over the US.

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