We welcome you back to the original intent of this blog; ICE FISHING! As the ice belt starts to thicken, we are all chomping to get out there and walk on the water. Some places in New England have been on the water for a few weeks now while others, like here, are just beginning to show signs that winter is here to stay. Hopefully!
We checked several ponds this morning that are known for early ice. The first spot is our usual go to honey hole for early ice and is loaded with decent perch and sunnies as well as bass, suckers, shiners, and bullhead. No go. It looked like the shores had just froze up last night with a measure of only 3/4″. There was a definite line of better ice out in the middle but was unreachable even with planks. Onward to the next spot with dry legs!
We found a better spread of ice upon arrival at our second location. We punched holes around a small area over shallow water finding enough ice to support our weight. Being early in the morning, the shores were still locked up tight. We began in an exposed section of the pond but quickly realized that we weren’t going to be able to get into deeper water that had enough ice for us to venture on because of the elements. With that knowledge gathered, we moved around to a shaded side of the pond hoping to to find more ice as the water dropped off to 9 feet fast.
Our move provided us with slightly better ice but still a lack of fish. We were in a pocket that usually holds decent numbers of fish in the summer but apparently not so much in the winter. After 45 minutes of fishless jigging and lots of cracking and popping under our feet, we decided to pack it up. We thought that we would go look for ice on waters that we were more familiar knowing that this might be the only ice we would be able to walk on.
We checked two more ponds and found no ice that would support our weight further than a few feet from shore so we called it a day right around lunch.
All in all it was a good day and being back out on the ice is a great feeling. Sure catching one tiny pumpkinseed would have tied the day all together but we got out on early ice and did it right. We fished in a pair, checked ice very often, stayed close to each other but not so close as to stress the ice, were prepared with rope, picks, and floatation devices, and had a plan if a situation came up. A lot of people told us that we were crazy for going out on these conditions but we used our heads and left when we felt the ice was worsening.
The ice wasn’t doing so hot when we were leaving. Cracks were showing through and the shores were slowly pulling away.