Ice fishing provides a wonderful excuse to get outside in the heart of winter and enjoy the scenery, quiet solitude, and the thrill of the catch. Protected coves and bays on Lake Winnipesaukee can freeze over as early as around Christmas, while the rest of the lake may take considerably longer. In some years with mild winters, the entire lake may not actually freeze, but it won't really impact you since those areas are usually small and avoidable.
In general, by the end of January, you are good to go for a good majority of the lake.
The folks on the Winnipesaukee Forum usually have a thread going that is constantly updated with photos of ice-in progress. The site also offers helpful reports on water temperature.
Once iced-in, it's usually safe to walk on though March or even into early April, although it will of vary wildly from year to year. Regardless of weather and ice conditions, state law dictates all bob houses must be off of all lakes and ponds by April 1st. Consult the link below for a table showing ice-out frequency by date.
For the fisherman who wants to take home more than just a fish, each February people from all over the country swarm on the Lakes Region to participate in the annual Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing derby. Big prizes and a lot of fun makes it a memorable event for everyone.
Don't forget your fishing license!
» Take frequent ice thickness measurements.
» Never ice fish alone.
» Avoid gathering in large groups or driving vehicles on the ice unless conditions are certian.
» Bring a first aid kit and cellphone.
» Saftey on Ice brochure, pdf file.