Sure, you can take to the couch for winter and binge-watch in a blanket. But you can also head outdoors for all kinds of season-specific fun. There are of course the familiar standbys, like snowshoeing and Alpine and cross-country skiing. The list is longer these days, though, with innovative entrants like snow biking, accomplished via super-wide tires that can handle snow. Today we’ll look at a pair of winter activities, one traditional, one much newer – snow biking and ice fishing.
Of course, fish don’t go away in the winter. And it’s easy to spot ice-fishers once the temps drop enough to put the requisite thick layer of ice atop the water. It’s important, of course, to make sure you know when the ice is thick enough, and that you have the right equipment. Armed with both, you’ll find that the state offers guide called GoFishMA to help you find spots to augur through and find the winter fish.
The Connecticut’s current means it doesn’t often freeze up enough, but one popular spot is Easthampton’s Oxbow Lake, which connects to the river but freezes far more quickly, and sits alongside Route 5 just south of Northampton. Other likely candidates for a freeze in Hampshire County include Lake Warner in Hadley (home to hiking and paddle sports as well), and even the popular swimming spot Puffer’s Pond in Amherst.
Northward, in Franklin County, there is ice-fishing aplenty. Barton Cove offers another great spot that’s part of the Connecticut River system. It’s also a good place to keep an eye out for the eagles who nest there. The Deerfield River, much smaller and slower than the Connecticut, winds through much of Franklin County, and sports plenty of hidden coves and likely places from Charlemont down through Conway and to the town of Deerfield.
You may have seen fat-tire bikes, which are growing in popularity. They’re a fun choice in New England, since you can ride snowy trails with them. It can be a bit more challenging to find just the right spots for this kind of riding, and even places that welcome mountain bikers may bear looking into to make sure your fat tires are welcome. That said, there are several spots that are ready destinations. In Belchertown, you’ll find the Canal Trails, popular among mountain bikers. Trails reportedly vary in what’s open and available, and Trailforks features an extensive (and apparently, frequently updated) look at the trails, including difficulty ratings.