BWS OutDoors
New England Outdoors

ice fishing blog 2014/2015








This page is going to be an ongoing diary of our days on the ice that we are fishing around the New England region. We will be sampling a variety of ponds and lakes in search of fish as large/smallmouth bass, perch, crappie and sunfish with the ever abundance of pickerel. As the ice thickens with the cold weather of late, this will allow us access to a number of these ponds and lakes. Hopefully we will be catching numbers of fish and also be able to teach fellow anglers a few tips along the way. Enjoy our blog for this ice season and hope to see some of you out on the ice.




Fishing Report April 4 2015 New Hampshire 

Target Species: Bass, Sunfish and Crappies

Location: Central New Hampshire

Depth: 8’ to 30’

Air Temp: 32-42 degrees

Wind: straight line high winds

Ice Conditions: 24 plus inches of ice, areas of slush pockets through the ice, shorelines eroding quickly

 

The ice fishing in Massachusetts is over on the Northshore as the warm temps and rain storms had eroded the shorelines. There is still a good amount of ice on the lakes but the surface ice as well and the shorelines are honey combing and melting quickly.

 

We headed to New Hampshire and started our search in the Southern part of the state at a few of our favorites only to find that the shorelines were open there as well. So we headed to the lakes region and a smaller body of water in hopes of finding some fishable ice.

 

We went to the lake that we started our ice fishing season at and there was plenty of ice but the shorelines are starting to let go as well. We wanted to fish a different area than the last trip and setup near an island with some lines hugging the island and able to fish a deeper pocket out into the lake.

 

Really wanted to give this area a chance but we had a major weather front that had gone through that left us bluebird skies but straight line winds on the backside of it. We were only able to stay here for about an hour as my son was having a number of false flags and we decided to pick up and head for some relief on the backside of the island.

 

We did catch a jumbo perch as we were packing and moving but it just wasn’t enough to keep us there. This particular lake, the shoreline of the island, has deep water right up to it and we had to place our lines practically on the island edge. This lake has both large and smallmouth bass and my son ran his tip ups along the face of the island as well as out into the deeper waters.

 

It didn’t take him long and he caught a couple of average largemouth and he was very glad that we changed locations. Over the remainder of the day he was able to get some nice bass and smaller perch, but also lost a few large fish at the hole. Being on this side of the island allowed us to enjoy the day on the ice as with the sun shining and lack of winds beating us, it was very enjoyable out there.

 

Once we were set with his lines, the two of us drilled numbers of holes around the deeper waters as there is a good population of large crappies here. After talking with a regular angler that fishes here a lot, he pointed us in the direction of the areas where the crappies hang but it was not fishable with the gale force winds. The next winter’s ice season we will really make it a point and work those areas and figure out the crappie in this lake.

 

As we jigged the area, we were fishing in 24-30 feet of water and that seemed to be a very consistent water depth no matter where we drilled. We were catching some average to smaller perch but did get into some larger sunfish that gave us great battles. Everywhere that we drilled holes, we were always marking fish, but a lot of the fish were very finicky and you had to really work them into biting.

 

We were fishing with the Clam Outdoors Half Ant jig and the Drop Jig and were using multi colored spikes tipping the jigs. We weren’t able to locate any crappies but the sunfish were definitely around, but did find that they only went out to about 28 feet of water and nothing after that.

Today was our last day on the ice and we had a great season once again and were able to fish an extra couple of weeks more than last season. We fished a number of different lakes as well as our usual places but we never have enough time to fish everywhere that we would like.

I want to thank a few companies that I have been able to align myself with and big thank you goes to Clam Outdoors, Ice Team, Ice Armor and HSM Outdoors. Working with these companies, I have been able to elevate my fishing experience and knowledge and looking forward to a long business relationship with all of them and growing into more along the way as we add to this industry.


         

         


Fishing Report March 29 2015 New Hampshire 

Target Species: Bass and Perch
Location: Southern New Hampshire
Depth: 8’ to 20’
Air Temp: 28-42 degrees
Wind: Calm turned to blustery
Ice Conditions: 20 inches of solid ice and shorelines opening a little

We are losing shorelines here fairly quickly on most of the northern Massachusetts lakes and with rains and warmer weather, we may be done with Massachusetts fishing. With that happening, we start chasing ice towards the north and making trips into New Hampshire following that.

Today we made a trip to a Southern New Hampshire lake that we started fishing last season and has come to be one of our favorites on the ice. With all of the snow we had this winter, we were never able to drive on the lake but made many treks to our fishing location.

The shoreline at the access location was opening a little but that is because there is a creek coming into the lake right at the point. The ice is still at 20 inches thick with most shorelines locked up and only a little snow on the surface. Luckily we have been fortunate that the slush never became an issue and this will allow us to prolong our season some.

Lakes are becoming more vacant as anglers are starting to think about open water and this is allowing those still going out, access to more locations without the crowds. The location that we fish is a small underwater point that really doesn’t look like much but the bottom is gravel and some rock mixed around and has been a fish travel zone most of the winter.

The tip of this point has been the best producer giving my son numerous large bass on every trip there and he always makes sure that he has it covered. The water depth is 8 feet deep and when the flag goes off here, you already know that a good fish is ready to come onto the ice.

Today was the toughest day that we have had on this lake and was very slow starting out. Typically we have a hard time getting all of his tip-ups in before the fish start biting but today we were all set and still had to wait for a while before the fish stated coming through.

The bass were pretty non-existent most of the day until the end of our time there when a couple of nice fish came through. Pickerel were slow as well and one run of two coming through was all that could be caught. The perch were more consistent but smaller fish were caught with a handful of jumbo’s that were saved for a fish fry.

I was jigging with the Clam Outdoors Psycho Shad tipped with a Maki Plastics Mino Head and most of the holes had fish in them but a lot of them were lookers and not feeders. Was fun catching them on that combination as well as using the MeatStick rod from Clam and the jumbos gave that rod a good battle.

The weather is getting much nicer and makes the time on the ice that much better. Between the sun shining and a little wind, our faces are feeling it now and is nice not having to be wearing our heavier gear and getting around is much easier. Hopefully, we will be chasing ice now and hoping to get another week but hoping two more and will be the longest that we have been on the ice here in New England.

         

    

Fishing Report March 22 2015 Massachusetts

Target Species: Crappies and Bass
Location: Northern Massachusetts
Depth: 8' to 19’
Air Temp: 26-32 degrees
Wind: Strong
Ice Conditions: 13 inches of ice with a 3 inch slush pocket

The weather change from yesterday was very dramatic as today the temps are in the upper 20’s and there are high winds blowing as well. We only had a few hours so stayed close to home and fished a small pond that has a good population of crappies and sunfish with bonus bass thrown in.

So far the ice and shorelines are holding up but our access point has a little open water and you had to watch where you step to stay on the ice. The little snow we had yesterday was froze on the ice surface and made for walking a lot easier. Ice conditions have 10-11 inches of surface is and then a 2-3 inch slush pocket and then a couple of inches of good ice underneath.

We went to an area that the crappies have been using all winter and that also allowed us to target a shallower area that tip-ups can be run. Ran some tip-ups in depths from 15 feet towards shore to around 8 feet of water. With the high winds wasn’t sure on some of the flags if these were fish hitting or is the gusts had false flags flying.

A few of the runs there was definitely fish there as there was a good amount of line taken off of the spool. Towards the end of the time that we were there, my son finally hooked into a nice 2 pound largemouth bass and it made a good run trying to get away.

We were fishing a number of other holes as well looking for the crappies and sunfish that are here and we did find them. The bite wasn’t fast and furious but it was consistent as more sunfish were caught then crappies.

Using the Clam Outdoor Half Ant jig and Drop jig tipped with some spikes, we were fishing in 18 feet of water and most of the fish came through at the 10 foot mark. We had good numbers of larger fish and they would light up the screen when they came through.

You could really tell when they were crappies or sunfish as the crappies would rise right up to the bait and take it, as the sunfish would move slowly to the bait and sit there for a while before taking the bait. By using our electronics a lot, we are learning so much more as to what is going on below the ice and is helping our fishing immensely.

Really wish that the bite would have been a lot better but looking at the conditions we were dealt, thankful at what we caught. The end of our season is coming quickly and the bite should be getting much better but we haven’t seen that late ice bite come around yet.

Our weather is definitely turning warmer and rain is in the forecast and the ice will still be good but the access points are the ones that you have to watch. Be safe out there on these last days of this ice season and open water is not that far off anymore.

         

Fishing Report march 21 2015 Connecticut

Target Species: Crappies and Pike
Location: Connecticut
Depth: 8' to 11'
Air Temp: 26-44 degrees
Wind: Calm
Ice Conditions: 16 inches of hard, solid ice

My fellow HSM Outdoors and Clam Outdoors Staff partner Michael Jasensky and I had been planning on a fishing trip on his home waters in Connecticut. March 21 was the day that we would meet and fish his lake for crappies and also try for the large pike that are there.

Mike, his son and his friend were on the ice at daybreak and had targeted a small shallower cove, dead-sticking big minnows fishing for pike. When I arrived the snow had started to fall once again and at times visibility across the lake was almost non-existent.

Mike and I started fishing off the end of a point and it didn’t take us long to find the bluegill. They were of a variety of sizes with more small fish than better fish. The abundance of gills in this location helped to keep us busy while working for the bigger bites.

The plan was to keep moving out into the basin of the lake searching for crappies, and it didn’t take long and we were inside of a good weed bed. We had to turn down the power on the Vexilar flashers as this would allow us to see the fish that were hiding in the weeds, enabling us to present the bait at the level that they are using.

Mike was using Clam jigs with a variety of Maki plastics and I was using Clam jigs tipped with spikes. It seemed that the fish were more after the spikes but the plastics were definitely catching better quality of fish. We were able to catch a variety of fish from this particular weed bed; anything from crappies, bluegill, perch, bass and pickerel. The weeds were in 9 feet of water and the fish were located in the 6 foot range.

We wanted to keep searching for the crappies and worked our way across the basin and back and were unable to find them today. We still caught fish in most locations as we went but our targeted fish was being elusive for us today. We ended back up at the weed bed once again and the fish were still using the area but we had to work a bit harder to get them to bite.

The weather gave us a variety of different things as the morning started out cool at 25 degrees with no winds and thick clouds. Didn’t take long and the snow begin falling and it did this for most of the morning. Mid day the clouds vanished and a bright sun shone and the temps rose quickly into the mid 40’s making it very warm on the ice. As the afternoon wore on, the clouds came back, the winds picked up and it felt like the temperatures were dropping.

With the weather doing these swings, that changed the bite from aggressive in the morning to having to work in the afternoon. The boys had a couple of runs on their dead sticks but weren’t able to connect on those fish. We had a great time fishing together, getting to know each other better and having some good laughs. Mike is a great guy and I am looking forward to fishing and working with him in the future on some things and can’t wait until we can wet a line together once again.

         

    


Fishing Report March 15 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Cloudy and rain/snow skies, air temperatures mid 30's, moderate winds, bait of the day tip-ups with medium shiners

We only had a few hours to fish today and wanted to stay local as the weather was not favorable as there was light rain going to the lake that after on the lake, turned over to snow. The snow cover on the ice is totally gone with the previous week’s warm weather and that makes for foot travel so much easier once again.

There were a few anglers on the ice when we arrived but they didn’t stay long and we had the lake to ourselves. We were on the same lake from the previous weekend as the late ice fishing there tends to pick up much better than early ice is.

We made our way to the location that we fished last and started placing our dead stick fishing rods and some tip-ups closer to shore as the better fish seem to be following the shoreline closer. We weren’t finished setting the lines up yet and the first flag went off as my son raced over there.

As he eased the tip-up out of the hole the line was racing off the spool and he set the hook into a nice fish. The better fish that we catch here you can tell soon after setting the hook that it is a good one and he battled the fish onto the ice and was a solid 3 pound largemouth bass.

The snow was starting to fall at a fairly good rate at this point and there was a moderate wind making the conditions not ideal at all. The time was starting to drag quite a bit as the bite dropped off to nothing which has been very unusual for this lake as at least the pickerel here keep you active.

There was one average pickerel picked up later in the time and before we decided to leave, my son landed another 3 pound largemouth and those were the only three fish caught this day. The ice conditions weren’t that bad as the top layer is around 6 inches with a slush pocket after that of only a few inches and then a layer of 4 inches or so of ice under that.

We have cold temperatures coming for the coming week and that is going to prolong our ice time some more so we may be able to hit a local lake again next weekend as that is always a good thing saving time from driving and giving us more fishing time.

It is only a matter of time before we will have to start chasing ice to be able to continue our ice season and then we will be onto the open water season. So until next time, may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON…

         

Fishing Report March 8 2015 massachusetts

Conditions: Cloudy Snowy skies, air temperatures low to mid 30's, light winds, bait of the day was shiners on traps

My son has wanted to bring a friend along for a long time and today it worked out as to where we were going to fish and how we were going to fish. Between my son and his friend, they wanted to set all traps out and chase flags for a few hours.

The lake that we fished is a local city water supply lake and the only real pressure that it receives is during the winter months. This particular lake, is fairly shallow throughout the majority of the lake. Average depth's are in the 6-8 foot range and it has a lot of weed growth so the traps are only set around 6 feet deep.

The area that we generally fish, is along  the far shoreline and there is a water supply coming in from the far left and going out to the far right. Also, there is a feeder creek that comes in straight in front of us but this winter with all of the snow, couldn't tell if that was feeding water into the lake or not.

The morning started out slow and which seemed like an eternity, our friend Ben put the first pickerel onto the ice and he said that was the biggest one he has caught so far. The day went through flags going off and periods that they weren't doing anything.

Travel on the ice is getting much easier once again as the snow melt is way down from the warm temperatures of the last few days. At times we were having full scale blizzard conditions and at times the sun would come out and make it feel so much warmer out.

As the time got later, the bass really started to pick up and Ben really had the hot hand for good fish today as he also caught his best bass through the ice today as well. We were having a great time out there and there were a number of anglers coming and going throughout our time out there.

We had a few double flags which was fun watching the two of them run from one to the other and they only lost a few fish which was good. The fish that we caught were all runners and took a lot of line after taking the bait which is a good sign as the waters are starting to warm a bit and getting the fish into a more active mode.

Today was a great day and not sure if we are going to be able to get to this lake once again or not as the weather is getting warmer. May have to start taking more trips north to New Hampshire once again to find good ice but we will try once more this coming weekend to find a place to fish locally. Until next time, may your line be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...

         

    

Fishing Report March 7 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures low to mid 20's, light winds, bait of the day Clam Outdoors Half Ant tipped with spikes and Duckbill Drop with a Maki Plastics Mino

Only had a few hours to get out this morning and wanted to fish a lake that we usually can find the pods of crappies, nothing really huge but nice numbers. Upon getting to the lake I had it to myself and that allows me to target where ever I want to go.

My plan was to fish one of the deeper holes and see if I can tap into the better schools of crappies that have been known to swim in this lake. Using the Navionics lake maps, this allows me to pinpoint and get right into the area without even drilling a hole for searching.

The water depths here are 23 feet deep and with all of the holes drilled, I was marking fish in a majority of them. I am always looking for the fish that are suspended as typically those fish are nicer crappies. Most of the fish in this area were hugging towards the bottom but at least they were crappies but on the smaller side.

I started fishing with the Clam Outdoors Duckbill Jig tipped with a Maki Plastics Mino bait and the fish would come to investigate the bait but wouldn’t commit to taking it. After trying this for a number of holes, I then switched to the Clam Outdoors Half Ant Jig and tipped this with a red and white spike.

Finally I was able to get the fish to start committing to this bait combination but this particular area was only producing very small to small fish. The biggest one that I could catch here was in the 9-10 inch range and that isn’t adequate for what I was looking for.

At this point, packed up the gear and headed to an area that was productive last ice season and started popping holes. At this point the weather had started turning the opposite and the winds were blowing with some force. Fished around this area for a bit before I had to leave but was having the same results with smaller fish.

The lake was starting to get busier at this point and a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to figure the better bite out but there are going to be days like this from time to time. While jigging, the best piece of equipment that I always have with me is the Vexilar Flasher and this is my eyes under the water and a real game changer if you haven’t used one yet.

We are going to be getting out again tomorrow and my son will be bringing a friend along and their plan is to chase flags and hopefully catch some nice fish as well. So until next time, may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON…

         

     


Fishing Report March 1 2015 New Hampshire

Conditions: Cloudy skies, air temperatures mid 20's, light winds, bait of the day Clam Outdoors Half Ant tipped with spikes and dead sticking a shiner

We are having to make at least one trip day a weekend further north so that we can find the best ice conditions that are available currently. So we stayed within an hour’s drive and that allows us to have more time on the ice chasing fish.

The last time that we were here we fished an underwater hump and even though we were able to catch perch and a smallmouth, it didn’t prove to what this lake has to offer. So we headed to an area that we frequent a lot on the ice as well as the open water and it comes down to comfort in a location that we fish.

The water depths that we were in was in the area of 12-16 feet deep. We have started fishing with dead stick rods rigged with shiners while we are jigging for the bluegill. This is offering us another way of catching some bigger fish while still utilizing a rod and reel for the excitement of fighting the fish.

The day was somewhat slow for what we are typically use to but there was some action throughout the day that kept it fun. We were able to finally locate some of the larger bluegill and was jigging them on the Clam Outdoors Half Ant Jig as well as the Drop Jig and having those tipped with a white and red spike for more enticement.

By utilizing the Vexilar flasher that was able to keep you in the zone that the fish were gravitating to as well and allowing you to see if they were cruising much closer to the ice. We were never able to find the pods of bluegill that we have in the past but with a little work, they were still findable.

Starting to think that we may be spending more of our time in New Hampshire in the weeks coming as the ice there is in much better shape than Massachusetts will be having slush issues soon enough. So until next time may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON.

         

    


Fishing Report February 22 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Cloudy skies with snow falling, air temperatures upper 20's, no winds, bait of the day Clam Outdoors Half Ant tipped with spikes

After fishing for bass yesterday, I wanted to head to my favorite crappie pond and see what these fish are up to. Haven't fished in Massachusetts in a while and it didn't take long to see why we are having to drive north to find good ice.
It didn't take long to see that the ice was still a mess as there was 8 inches of snow on top, then a layer of 2-3 inches of ice crust with and pocket of slush, with another layer of ice crust then slush pocket and finally good ice at the bottom. Also, with all of the snow, all lake access points are non-existent right now as nothing is plowed out and finding any place to park for fishing is a major pain.

If you can get onto the ice, you will have the lake to yourself as most waters right now there isn't one foot print through the snow and this means that these fish are having no pressure this time of year. Once I arrived at my fishing location, I drilled a number of holes to allow me to do some hole hopping.

This particular lake, from past experience, has a slow bite in the morning and also evening and the best bite is in the middle of the day. But, when you only have a few hours in the morning, you take advantage of this and search as hard as you can.

Luckily, the first hole I drilled was the hot hole for the trip as for the fish that were caught, most of them came out of that hole. Not really sure what was down there in the water column, but every time that I would come back to that hole, there were always fish there.

I was fishing water that was 19 feet deep and the crappies were coming through at 10 feet deep and without the Vexilar flasher, you wouldn't even know that. Electronics play a major role in our fishing and we never go to the lake without them as once you start fishing with these items, there is no other way of fishing.

I was switching between the Clam Outdoors Half Ant tipped with spikes and the Clam Outdoors Drop Jig tipped with a Maki Plastics Mino bait and the spikes was what they wanted today. By keeping the line weight at 2 lb test, this allows these small light jigs to be able to dance around much more freely and this in turn entices the fish into biting.

Drilling a number of holes just didn't seem to matter today as it was one that I wasn't able to locate any real action and the ones that were caught, were worked hard to getting them. By keeping on the move at least this way you are able to find a few cruisers to catch. Did set the hook into a very nice fish only to lose it when the jig hit the bottom of the hole on the edge of the ice and that fish was gone.

Probably be heading back to New Hampshire next time out as the conditions are so much more angler friendly and at this time of year, that goes a long ways. So until next time, may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON.

    

     


Fishing Report February 21 2015 New Hampshire

Conditions: Cloudy skies, air temperatures mid teen's, light winds

The lakes in Massachusetts are very hard to get around still and planned on heading to New Hampshire in hopes that the snow is less of a nuisance. Luckily this was a good call as the lake that we were fishing the snow is hard and not that deep so it is a lot easier getting to our fishing location and working the area and not being in knee deep of snow.

The lake was empty of anglers and that seems to be the case lately with the extensive snow that we have been getting. Luckily in New Hampshire there isn't any slush to deal with like there is in Massachusetts which always makes for a much more enjoyable day.

The area that we fish here is a small underwater point with gravel and rock on top. We weren't even there 10 minutes and had a very nice largemouth bass on. There best location is on top of the point which is aroud8 feet deep. We also fish out to a depth of around 20 feet deep and that yields some nice pickerel and also some fat perch which is always a lot of fun.

As the storm moved in that really didn't help the fish bite at all and during the afternoon the bite was getting less and less all the time. The winds were really starting to pick up as well as the temperatures were starting to fall as well and the snow was starting to fall.

We had the fish house set up with some heat in there and it was more of a necessity than anything else just to have a place to get warmed up once in a while.

While hanging in the fish house, I had a hole drilled in there and was doing a little jigging with the Clam Outdoors Psycho Shad. There were a lot of fish in this location and we were catching a number of perch in a variety of different sizes. That always makes for a fun afternoon when some of your lines aren't really doing anything but when you can jig fish up on a rod and reel, that is a lot of fun.

Hopefully we can get out again tomorrow on a favorite crappie pond and is always an experience since we haven't been there in a while to see what the snow condition is. so until next time may your lines always be TIGHT and you have a FISH ON...

         

         


Fishing Report February 7 2015 New Hampshire

Conditions: Partly cloudy skies, air temperatures low 20's, light winds

With all of the snow that we have been receiving in Massachusetts creating slush conditions on the ice, we headed north in search of less snow and no slush. We were able to find no slush but still had snow to deal with but at least with the snowshoes we are able to get around as some of the snow is easily knee deep.

This particular lake has a good population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as large perch. The lake has no crappie population and haven’t been easily able to crack the sunfish population. The area that we generally fish is a small underwater point that has rock on top and is laden with gravel.

We have found in the past that you want to stay on the deeper edge as the shallower waters produces more pickerel and we would rather not catch those. So we typically fish in depths of 6 – 20 feet of water and have one spot particular that at 6 feet deep, consistently produces the much better sized fish as well.

Today’s fishing was one of those days that everything went in the right direction and that made for the best day of the ice season so far. The largemouth bass were on fire and at one point we had three large bass on the ice at one time. The smallmouth never showed up today but there were a number of large yellow perch caught as well.

We were having fish bite throughout most of the day with only a small amount of time where there was nothing going on. I wanted to do some jigging but with traps that my son had out constantly going off, they kept us so busy that we never were able to get the allotted number of traps set out.

My son was having the best of times out there and couldn’t believe the quality of the fish that were being caught. With the knee deep snow it also gets very tiring chasing flags and we did sleep very well that night. We have been to this location a few times now and it has not let us down yet, but with all the snow, we just are not able to try too many places yet. Other anglers target the obvious structure areas and so far we haven’t had to resort to that.

We always like looking for locations where people are not and try and figure out how and what the fish want there. Each time that we have been here, we always have at least one local lake owner come out and say they can’t catch fish on the ice and especially in the location where we are at. By venturing away from other anglers, you may find some untapped schools of fish that are willing to bite your lines.

Not really sure when our next trip will be as we have a number of snowstorms coming through and will be adding more snow to the never ending loads already on the lakes.so until next time, may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON…

         

         


Fishing Report February 1 2015 New Hampshire

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures mid teen's, high winds, bait of the day - traps with shiners

Today's trip found us back in New Hampshire as the snow depths are less and little to no slush to have to deal with like Massachusetts. Was hoping that the snowmobiles had ran the lake compacted the snow that is there but no such luck and snowshoes were a necessity.

We had found an underwater island that larger fish were using last fall and wanted to pepper that location with traps and see if they are using it in the winter months. It didn't take long and the first flag was flying and upon setting the hook, could tell that it was a large fish. didn't take long and it came off and for that location, it never went back up the rest of the day.

We weren't able to spread the sets out that far as without the snowshoes, you were knee deep in snow and made a lot of work getting to and from running to the traps. The water depths ranged on top at 6 feet deep while outer lines were in 22 feet of water. The sides would drop off into 40 plus feet of water and really had hoped this location was going to play out better.

we were able to catch some nice yellow perch and a few pickerel, but there weren't any bass caught. The winds were blowing very strongly and having our Clam Outdoors Vista pop up fish house spiked and anchored to the ice was a necessity.

It has been a fun winter exploring new waters on the ice but thinking that this lake may be scratched off the list. been here a few times and just haven't done well at all and there are so many other options. So until next time, may your lines always be TIGHT and you have a FISH ON...


         


Fishing Report January 25 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures mid 20's, little wind, bait of the day – Clam Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop jig with the Maki Plastics Mino bait and Clam Drop Jig tipped with spikes

We took a day off as a winter snow storm had come through and after fishing for 5 of the last 6 days, need a bit of time to let everything relax and defrost. We didn't have a lot of time and wanted to stay close to home and with that we went to our favorite crappie pond and the quality is some of the best that we have around this area.

So glad that I had spent some time out here before the waters froze up and located the better crappies that swim in this pond. As we are working the same general area and it doesn't produce huge numbers of fish but the fish that we are catching are of a much nicer size which is a lot of fun on the short rods.

With the addition of the snow over the last day, it made getting out there a bit more work but still not enough that we had to break out the snowshoes yet. The area that we are targeting the water depths are from 15 to 20 feet deep. You have to keep on the move and a number of holes are drilled so that when one hole goes cold, you move on to the next and proceed throughout all of the holes that are drilled looking for actively feeding fish.

While watching the Vexilar flasher, you can tell when the crappies come through as they are typically suspended 4 to 8 feet or more off of the bottom. But don't think that those fish hovering near the bottom are bad either as we are finding the bigger sunfish here are lurking near the bottom. There is a good mix of crappies and sunfish together that makes for a great day on the water as you never know what you may have on the end of your line.

The key to staying on fish we are finding is that you need to stay mobile, keep moving from hole to hole. Keep changing your baits and if need, have some bait, spikes, on hand so that if the bite is really finicky, this is another alternative for getting the fish to bite.

Hopefully can get out soon again and hit another lake searching for the large elusive crappies again with a added bonus of smallmouth and largemouth bass. So until next time, may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...

         

    


Fishing Report January 23 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures upper 20's, little wind, bait of the day – Clam Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop jig with the Maki Plastics Mino bait and Clam Drop Jig tipped with spikes

Our trips close to home continue on as well as a new body of water that we fish regularly on the open water but have never been on the ice. There are two main structures in the lake and one of them was occupied by a couple of anglers already, but we didn't want to fish that one as it isn't that big of an area.

The structure we fished was an underwater hump that had a variety of depths from 6 feet deep to 15 feet on the outer edges. Also, off to the side there is a underwater point that comes out so we also setup in the saddle area between these two structures.

There were a number of larger perch caught but the saddle area was the most producing area using the Clam Outdoors Artic Warrior Tip-up. Most of the bass came from that and was a lot of fun catching them on a rod and reel which is a great alternative to using traps.

Towards evening we started hole hopping and was looking for the crappies that are here. We were never able to find the crappies but off of the tip of the underwater point in 15 feet of water, the bluegills were in one area very thick and gave up a lot of fast action until the sunset.

The trip today turned out better than we had anticipated and that always makes for a good day. Couldn't find the crappies that we were looking for, but can't find those on every lake that we fish. Tomorrow will probably be an off day as we are suppose to have a snow storm come through. So until next time, may your lines always be TIGHT and you have a FISH ON...

 

         

    

 

Fishing Report January 22 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures upper 30's, little winds, bait of the day – Clam Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop jig with the Maki Plastics Mino bait

Today is another day of exploring a lake that we fish frequently on the open waters but have never fished on the ice. There was a new mid lake structure that we had found during the summer months and wanted to explore that on the ice as this lake doesn’t have a lot of structure areas so feel that it may concentrate the fish.

As we walked to the area, first thing we noticed was that there were two large areas of open water. Not sure why this was occurring as the rest of the lake, had up to 10 inches of ice and was solid at that. Wasn’t anyone else out there to ask what was going on, but our guess was either shallow water on top of these structures or there is a good flow of springs from underneath?

Of course the main structure that we wanted to fish was right in the middle of the bigger open water so we had to fish out around the perimeter instead. We were fishing depths from 6 feet deep out to 16 feet of water. We were able to find the perch no problem and catching them on the Clam Outdoors Duckbill Drop with the Maki Plastics Mino tail.

There were also pods of small white perch coming through and adding to the action when they do. The screen on the Vexilar flasher would totally light up and was exciting when they did come through. Fishing in general was slow but the weather was nice and always fun exploring new waters.

The pickerel were definitely nicer size and there were a number of jumbo perch caught, so it wasn’t a total waste as anytime fishing is never a waste of a good day. There was another angler out but he was constantly on the move so that is telling me that he wasn’t easily locating fish as well.

We weren’t able to locate any bass or crappies, and will have to think a bit about fishing here again in the near future, but is always nice having more options all the time. Tomorrow we will stay close on another lake that we haven’t been on in the winter months.

So until next time, may your lines always be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON…


         


Fishing Report January 21 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures low 20's, little winds, bait of the day – Clam Pro Tackle Drop Jig tipped with a red/white spikes and also Clam’s Duckbill Drop jig with the Maki Plastics Mino bait


This particular week my son has a number of half days so we want to explore a different lake each day as well as some new waters to see what we can put together. We only had a couple of hours to fish today so stayed very close to home and this lake typically will produce numbers of fish so that was the plan for the shortened time.


There were already a few anglers out and scattered around and were mainly fishing traps and after talking with them, they were having a slow day. Our area that I had fished previously was open and started drilling holes around looking for active fish.


It didn’t take long and we could see that the pan-fish were going to give us a tough time as well as typically your flasher screens are lit up and today was just trying to find them was a chore. We were able to get one here and there but really had to keep on the move as they definitely were not grouped up in this location.


My son was using the Drop jig tipped with spikes and was producing fish better than my Duckbill jig with the Mino Maki plastic. His crappies were of a much larger size and was having fun as he finally found one location that was producing and had topped me for the day. There were a few nice sunfish and perch as well but work and hole hopping was the key for finding anything.


The preferred depth was around the 16 foot range and the crappies were located around 12 feet and would race to your bait on the drop if in the hole. Had one angler come over and take a look at the Clam Outdoors Drill Plate and was very interested in that for the convenience and lightness as he was hauling a 10 inch power auger. Once you start using the Drill Plate, it is hard to even look at the other augers especially for the weight consideration.


Tomorrow is going to find us on a lake that we fish regularly on the open waters but have never been there on the ice. Had found some new structure during the summer and that will be our targeted location when getting there tomorrow. So until then, may your lines always be TIGHT and you have a FISH ON...

    



Fishing Report January 19 2015 New Hampshire


Conditions: Cloudy skies, air temperatures low 40's, moderate winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Psycho Shad

Was time to head back to New Hampshire and fish our favorite lake and see what can be caught as we generally do well for large and smallmouth bass and last winter we were finding the large perch and bluegill as well. Since it had rained the day before, the ice was a bit of a mess as there was standing water in most places and wasn't the best conditions for keeping your feet dry.

Last summer I had found some new structure in this lake that I wanted to try during the winter months. It is an underwater hump kind of shaped like a banana and the outside edges were around 16 feet deep and the top went up to 6 feet deep. My son likes running tip-ups on this lake a lot so we surrounded the hump and also placed a couple on top for covering all areas around it.

The winds were blowing pretty strong so he was having some flags tripped but once the fish started moving around he was catching some nice jumbo 12 inch perch. He was able to catch a smallmouth as well and actually caught it right in front of the local game warden as he was making his rounds. There were a couple of other largemouth caught as well as a pickerel but we thought that it would have been better.

I started popping holes all around the location and started jigging to see if I could catch some of these perch on a rod. I was using the Clam Outdoors Psycho Shad fishing in 18 feet of water and was getting fish to come in but didn't want to commit. Then the Vexilar screen lit up and a nice bluegill slammed the Psycho Shad. We worked all around this area but with the weather constantly changing, seemed to lock the fish down and typically this lake is always hopping.

Will have to make another trip back and fish a different location to kind of redeem ourselves as we know that it could be so much better. There maybe a few more new lakes fished this week and we always look forward to trying new waters. So until next time, may your lines always be TIGHT and you have a FISH ON...


          

     


Fishing Report January 18 2015 Massachusetts


Conditions: Cloudy skies with light rain, air temperatures low 40's, moderate winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop tipped with a Maki Plastic Mino in shiner color and also the Clam Pro Tackle The Drop tipped with spikes

Was planning a trip to New Hampshire but the weather was predicting rain in the early afternoon and a much better chance up north. So decided to stay local and fish a small crappie pond and see how we do as we have not been there yet this season. The access area is usually the last to freeze in the area and the first to open so you really need to take advantage of it while you can.

Wanted to try a different area than we usually fish as last fall before freeze up I had been in the kayak and located some nicer crappies there. My son did his usual running his tip-ups with shiner minnows and was getting a lot of flags at the beginning but the fish just were dropping the bait on a consistent pattern.

He did finally start catching some of these fish and was able to catch a bass, pickerel and also a few nice crappies as well. Once we had his things setup we drilled a number of holes and we each grabbed our Vexilar flashers and started hole hopping throughout the series that were drilled.

He was jigging up some 12 inch crappies and using the "The Drop" jig and with the spikes for added attractant, was able to catch a number of crappies and sunfish. Then at one point he yells over that he has a big fish on and I didn't think to much of it and kept yelling that he needed help. His rod was bent over and wasn't making any headway's as we only have 3 pound test on these rods so I didn't want him to horse it to much.

He was doing a great job of trying to tire the fish out and about every time that the fish would get close to the ice, which is clear enough to see through when a fish comes up, we were hoping to see what he had on. It never got close enough to the ice sheet to reveal itself and after about 5 minutes of battling it, the tiny jig popped out of the fish. To say the least he was a bit upset at that point and it took him a while to calm down and get back to fishing.

As I was bouncing around the holes looking for fish I was using the Duckbill Drop tipped with a Maki Plastics Mino and was marking fish as well. Most of the area that we were fishing was 19 feet deep and when those red marks come through at 14 feet, you better hang on for the ride. As I jigged to entice the marked fish, it slammed my bait combo and after the battle I had a 13 inch crappie laying ice side. That is definitely my biggest of this season and it is very nice to see that this pond has come back around for producing some much nicer fish once again.

We were able to stay on these crappies and threw in a few nice sunfish as well as a couple of small largemouth bass. Tomorrow isn't suppose to rain so we are going to make our trip up to New Hampshire and give that lake a whirl looking for the large and smallmouth bass there. So until next time, may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...




          

     


Fishing Report January 15 2015 Massachusetts


Conditions: Cloudy skies with rain/sleet/snow falling, air temperatures low 20's, moderate winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Psycho Shad tipped with a Maki Plastic Mino Head in fathead color

The bigger bodies of water here on the North Shore of Massachusetts are freezing over nicely and this is allowing us to venture to more variety of lakes. This particular lake has an abundance of large perch but what I want to fish here is the elusive crappie that we have caught up to 17 inches in length and also the fantastic smallmouth fishery that it has to offer.

The navionics software that I have on my cell phone is getting much better all the time and this is showing us more places of where to fish. Can't totally rely on this feature all the time and by exploring the waters in the summer months and recording the data with good electronics pay's off huge when using that in the winter months.

There is the main basin that the perch hang out in and didn't take long to get into them and they were up to 12 inches in length. They don't have their big pot bellies yet but in another month or two and they definitely will be showing. I kept moving across this area and my destination is a long underwater point that has sand, gravel and rock on it and hoping the crappies are patrolling the edges as I know that the smallmouth bass definitely do here.

No matter how many holes that were drilled I just could never find the suspended crappies and moved throughout a variety of structure. The smallmouth that were caught were caught while dead sticking the Clam Outdoors Psycho Shad. By dead sticking, I would leave the bait down there while I was off drilling the next set of holes. When I came back the Vexilar flasher screen was all lit up around the shad and a little movement and the smallmouth would attack and the battle was on.

The perch you had a lot off lookers that would come to the bait, hang there and then drop back down towards the bottom. No matter what you did or what color you showed them, they were just be very finicky and I would attribute that to the weather system that was coming through. The winds were blowing and temps were cold as well as at times snow, sleet and some light drizzle was falling and that was not helping the fishing very much.

There is another underwater hump that I have done very well on in the past and that was one area that I really wanted to give a try. About the time I was planned to move over there, another group of anglers moved in and I am not one to encroach on people so I went the other direction searching new waters. I was still able to catch fish but the size had dropped off dramatically and was getting to the point that felt it wasn't worth the effort anymore.

This coming weekend the temperatures are suppose to rise and we plan on making a trip to our favorite lake in New Hampshire as my son really likes getting into the bass there. Last year we located large sunfish as well and that will be my target when getting there. So until next time may your lines always be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON.


     
     


Fishing Report January 12 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Cloudy skies with rain/sleet/snow falling, air temperatures low 30's, moderate winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Duckbill Drop tipped with a Maki Plastic Maki in white color

There was a lake that I was fishing last fall that was producing a great 12 inch crappie bite and wanted to give it a try this ice season. The lakes ice is setup very nicely with a solid 8 inches of clear ice and this part of the lake has a lot of structure contours that range for 6 feet in areas out to 20 feet in the deeper parts.

Started marking fish right away but was soon to see that all they wanted to do was look at the bait and refused to commit to biting. Typically when we run into this scenario, we just keep drilling holes and search out the more aggressively biting fish as changing baits didn't seem to make much difference anyway. Was fishing all of the depth variations and finally worked out into the deepest waters and had one quick school of crappies move through at 6 feet below the ice.

That was the only fish that we were marking that were suspended and kept drilling holes in search of more fish. After drilling at least 100 holes I was seeing that the fish at this lake were just not going to cooperate and it was difficult finding where they were hanging out. Decided to pull the plug here and go to another lake that should be producing much better.

Arrived at lake number two and now it is raining pretty good but by wearing the Clam Outdoors Edge suit, the winds and rain stayed off of me and kept me warm and dry the whole day. A lot of these lakes haven't seen any anglers yet as our lakes are finally to the point that safe travel can be accomplished for doing a ice fishing trip.

I headed right to where I was catching crappies last fall in my kayak and set up a grid set of holes consisting of 20 holes. First hole and the first drop produced a 11 inch crappie and felt good to have action on the Vexilar flasher screen and fish coming through the hole on a consistent fashion. Most of this grid was in water that is 16 feet deep and at times the screen would be covered in red from 8-12 feet of water.

Once a hole went somewhat dead, moved to the next one and the catching would start all over again. I fished this grid for a couple of hours and at that point could tell that these fish were starting to getting accustomed to the bait and moved over and drilled another set of grid holes.

Also at these new holes, changed the color of the Maki Plastics Maki and that helped as well as the catching resumed right where the other holes were at as well. There were numbers of fish caught with some dandy crappies and sunfish as well as a couple small largemouth bass.

By keeping on the move and drilling more holes, this allows you to present your bait to fresh fish all the time and once you go through all of the holes in your grid, you can start over again and typically there will be new fish if you are in the right area. If the fish are not showing themselves move over a bit and drill new holes and that at most times is all that is needed to keeping on the action.

We have a larger lake that the ice is setup now and that will be my next targeted waters as there are numbers of large perch but I typically search there for the elusive large crappies and the smallmouth bass. So until next time may your lines always be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...



          

     


Fishing Report January 10 2015 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures low teen's, moderate winds, bait of the day - running traps with shiners as bait

The ice in Northern Massachusetts has finally come around so that we have safe travels and now we can stay closer to home instead of driving to northern New Hampshire. Today was going to be my son's choice of fishing day as to where he wanted to fish.

He picked a lake that has no depth contours as the majority of this lake is only 6 feet deep and he likes running traps and on a typical day here there is generally a lot of action. There were already a number of groups on the ice and fortunate the area that we wanted to work there weren't any anglers there.

Like it was mentioned earlier, you typically set the trap lines only a few feet under the ice as there is an expanse of a weed-bed throughout the whole lake. By having the bait set a few feet under the ice the allows the fish that are cruising a great opportunity of seeing this bait and keeps the bait out of the weeds.

It started out fairly tough and wasn't a lot of action happening. Thinking it was either early season yet but also the previous week had been very cold. This body of water has a better bite on those sunny and milder days but didn't matter as we were there to fish. It took my son a number of missed flags to finally start getting that feel of when to set the hook and finally start getting fish on top of the ice.

This lake is over run with pickerel but one nice thing is that they are generally a much better sized fish compared to many other lakes that we fish. The pickerel started picking up and he was getting fish up to the three pound range which is a good size for New England pickerel. There are some large bass in here as well but he was only able to get a few smaller fish but these were very healthy and had some great color.

The winds were relentless and luckily we had our CLAM OUTDOORS VISTA popup house along and having the MR. HEATER LITTLE BUDDY heating the house so that there was a place to get your hands warmed up after having them in the water.

We may hold off on coming back to this lake more towards spring as that is when we usually go and the flags are popping all day long and makes for a very fun day out there. Hope to get out in a couple of days again and check out a lake that I had found some good crappies on last fall before freeze up. So until next time may your lines always be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...



          

     


Fishing Report january 6 2015 New Hampshire


Conditions: Cloudy skies, air temperatures low teen's, moderate winds with snow falling, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Dingle Drop XL tipped with a spike and Maki Plastic Mino in shiner color

Still no ice security here in Northern Massachusetts so hopefully today is the last have to drive north to find ice day. Went back to central NH and stopped at a lake that once again, have wanted to fish but today was finally the first time able to get out onto it.

The weather wasn't really the best as the temperatures have finally started dropping into the ice making mode and on top of that the winds and snow were blowing quite a bit as well. Noticing throughout the day that the wind direction was constantly changing and that is never a good thing when you are fishing as it can change the attitude of the fish upon every direction change.

The area of this lake that I was fishing is more of a shallow swampy lake with a deep pocket of water that gets to around 18 feet deep. So that was the area that I wanted to concentrate on as I wanted to search for the crappies that live in this lake. Took a number of holes till I finally found some active fish and these were some very nice hand sized sunfish.

Once the perch would start taking over the hole I would always move on as I didn't want to waste my time with them. Sunfish and crappies were the agenda for the day and there were many holes drilled in search of them. It is nice that the weather has finally started getting cold as the ice here was at the 8 inch mark and that is a great sign since there is no snow on top yet to insulate it.

I worked my way down the deeper channel and did finally start finding the crappies but they were on the very small side. So as I worked my way back to the deeper hole, I finally got back into the big sunfish and also the crappie sized jumped way up. Had a couple of big fish on that got off but was able to land one nice pickerel.

The technique and tackle for the day that worked the best was using the Clam Outdoors Dingle Drop XL and started with the Maki Plastics Mino as the attractant but found that if you added a spike to the bait combination, that was a huge plus to your advantage.

A lot of these fish were lookers and were in the negative mode, but if you worked them enough you could encourage them into taking the bait. Overall is was a very productive day and was fun catching some bigger sunfish for a change.

So a few more days of this nice frigid weather and we should be all set for getting onto the ice here in Massachusetts and being able to stay closer to home is going to be a huge advantage and gives us more time to fish. So until next time, may you lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...


          

     


Fishing Report january 2 2015 New Hampshire


Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures mid 20's, moderate winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Maggot Drop tipped with spikes, Blade Spoon tipped with Maki Plastic Maki in white color

The ice here in Northern Massachusetts is taking its sweet time in forming and getting thick enough for allowing us anglers to finally get our ice season underway. So we made the drive to the lakes region of New Hampshire and fished a lake north of lake Winnipesaukee. After dealing with a surprise snow storm we arrived at the lake and glad to see little snow and 7 inches of good ice.

This season so far we have been fishing lakes that we have never been to at all and always enjoy fishing new lakes and trying to figure them out. A lot of work goes into this before we even leave the house as we will research a particular lake on the computer as to get an idea to what the lake offers for fish species as well as to see how it has been fishing.

When we arrived at the lake you could see that we were the first anglers to fish this lake on the ice and always a bit eerie for how the ice is. So with spud bar in hand, and the Navionics app running on the phone, we were off in search of our quarry. This lake is a smaller sized lake so I wanted to get my son setup on the main lake flat so that then I could go off and explore the deeper water looking for crappies.

My son likes fishing tipups and catching bass while he is doing that. So we set all of the traps on the edge from the flat into deeper water as well as along the island in the center of the lake. If the jigging bite turns on then he will concentrate on doing that as well but for his preference, the traps are his first choice.

Right away when we started he was catching smallmouth bass and was having a good time at that. But you could tell that the weather was changing and his bite dies off rather quickly and was getting a bite once every great now and then. When it got later into the afternoon his bite definitely picked up and as we were getting ready to call it a day, he got the biggest fish of the day and a very nice largemouth bass at that.

For my fishing, I grabbed the auger and set off into the deeper water and my objective was searching for the elusive crappies in this lake. The crappies had beaten on this day and I just couldn't find any of them but did find some very nice sunfish and these were the largest that I have caught this ice season so far.

But they weren't going to come easy. As I worked my jig and watching the fish on the Vexilar flasher, they would just sit there and look at the bait and not even touch it. When you were able to get them to hit the bait, they barely touched it and you really couldn't even see them hitting it. The bite was so light that you really had to watch your line as any movement meant that you had to set the hook.

This really tries your patience, but at the same time, I wouldn't spend to much time on a fish that was a looker as I needed fish that were biters. So giving a hole a few minutes and if the fish didn't want to commit, that meant drilling another hole and moving and finding a more aggressive fish. That meant a lot of holes were drilled but at the same time, some days are just that way and it is part of fishing. There wasn't really one hot bait as I switched through a number of baits and can't really comment on one given bait.

It is always fun fishing new waters and I think that we may be doing that more and more this season as we have a lot of fun trying to figure out a new lake. With that the weather is finally changing to a much cooler trend and that means that possibly by next weekend, we may get to fish some home waters. Until then, plan on heading back to NH in a few days and keep the ice fishing fever going. So until next time may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...


          

          

Fishing Report December 19 2014 New Hampshire


Conditions: Cloudy skies, air temperatures low 30's, strong winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Dingle Drop XL tipped with a Maki Plastic Mino in watermelon color

At this time of year you really don't have a lot of choices to pick from for the lakes that you can ice fish on. Anything that has any size to it, will still be in the open water state and will be for some time to come. Also, we are all about trying new lakes that we haven't seen before and adds to the excitement of trying to locate fish on a body of water that you have no knowledge about.

So looking at the map and trying to guess as to where the ice will be thick enough to get out onto, the area that we ended up in is a river/swamp/open lake area that is suppose to be holding some nice fish. Upon arriving there, the gate to the boat landing was locked and we had to take a decent walk through the woods to get to the waters edge.

Being this is a river system, the boat landing you could see had been flooded not long ago and there was ice over everything. Once we found a location to get onto the lake, the ice in general was 4 inches thick and as we searched and fished, it was getting to 2.5 inches thick as the main body of water where we wanted to fish was still open water.

There is a main river channel that has the depth of 18 - 20 feet of water and after fishing a number of areas, that was looking like being the magic depth that the better fish were staging in. The first fish was a large perch that gave a good battle and that always makes for a fun day as now your mind set is in big fish mode and hard to break that anticipation of the next fish.

Since we have never seen this system before, our tactic of locating fish was to keep moving and drill a set of six holes in a box pattern and that allows us to get an idea as to what is below the ice for contours and structures. Typically would drill three holes 6 - 8 feet apart and then match those 3 with another set around 6 - 8 away.

This technique definitely helped a lot as typically there were two of the six holes that were very productive and as we moved along, always keeping an idea as to where the main channel goes. Having the Vexilar flasher is a must on new waters as well as old as I typically only fish a hole for a minute or two and if nothing comes in, time to move on. On a trip like this there is no question that there were well over a hundred holes drilled as we searched for fish.

The bait that we wanted to concentrate on using for this trip was the Clam Outdoors Pro Tackle Dingle Drop XL. We would then tip that with a Maki Plastics Mino and some of the time used the color of white, but then later in the day we switched to a watermelon color.

There were a number of fish caught as we moved around the thicker parts of the ice and overall there were six species of fish caught, crappies, sunfish, perch, pickerel, chub and a white perch. It was one of these days that when you set the hook you really didn't know what was going to be coming through the hole and one of the fish that was caught, not really sure what it was.

With the Maki Plastic Mino, you needed to thread this bait straight onto the hook and make sure that the jig hang horizontally. by working the bait with your tip of the jig rod, this would make the Mino tail flutter in the water and resemble an actual mino swimming. It is all about replicating the existing forage and that is always going to make your fishing experience a much better trip.

The weather is going to be turning to the warm side which is not good for making ice and not sure where we have been fishing is going to be holding up. If that is the case then we may have to break out the kayak once again and go back to open water fishing. So until next time may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...


     

     




Fishing Report December 8 2014 New Hampshire

Conditions: Sunny skies, air temperatures mid 20's, moderate winds, bait of the day - Clam Pro Tackle Blade Spoon tipped with a Maki Plastic Maki in white

The ice has finally found its way to New England but to find safe ice to walk on you have to drive and find it. We finally found some in the lakes region of New Hampshire and the conditions that we had were 2 inches of clear black ice on the bottom with 2-3 inches of cloudy white ice on top.

It was a great feeling to be able to walk on water again and from the looks of the lake we were on, no one had tried to get out there yet. So with spud bar in hand it was off to find some fish for the first ice trip of the year. We have only been to this lake once before last season and caught some fish but not what we had been looking for.

The targeted fish was the large crappies that swim in this lake and since this is first ice, started drilling holes as soon as we got onto the ice. Started fishing in the shallow waters of 8 - 10 feet deep and with the Vexilar flasher just wasn't marking any fish at all.

So as we made our way across the open ice, we were finding that the ice was 4 - 5 inches thick and very consistent at that. Finally found our way out into deeper water and finally started marking fish in 20 feet deep. Unfortunately, these areas were yielding mainly perch and these were on the very small side. We don't mind catching perch when they are in the pound range but when the are 6 inches long, it is time to move.

We finally hit an area that was holding a school of crappies. These fish were not the biggest as well and had a couple of decent fish but still not the ones we were searching for. The bait that was the most productive was the Clam Outdoors Pro Tackle Blade Spoon and we tipped that with a White Maki Plastics Maki bait.

I just kept making our way across the bay drilling holes and trying to locate fish. Never was really able to get into any decent schools of fish as there were plenty of perch caught but the size was very small. Did finally start finding the crappies once again but just couldn't find the size we were looking for.

All in all it was a good first trip of the season. Fish were caught, a few different species at that, but just couldn't find the targeted fish that this particular lake has been known for. Was nice to be able to get onto the ice once again and hopefully the ice stays and we have a long and productive season. So until next time may your lines be TIGHT and you always have a FISH ON...



          

          





March 29 2014 New Hampshire


Conditions: Cloudy skies, upper 40's air temperatures and little to light winds

We are really getting to the end of the ice fishing season here in New England. The ice in Massachusetts is inaccessible as the shorelines have opened up and no access is attainable. So to keep the ice season going you have to drive to New Hampshire to find ice that is fishable. We made a drive to a southern New Hampshire reservoir and were surprised to only see two trucks at the landing. You could go anywhere you wanted on the ice and upon the thickness inspection, there was a good 16-18 inches of ice. As the morning wore on, pools of water were forming on top of the ice and made it a bit sloppy if you weren't paying attention. This reservoir was the first place that we started this year's ice season and we wanted to give it another try as it is a high producer of crappies. Once we were able to get all of our set lines done, and catching pickerel as we went along, it was time to start searching for crappies. There is a ditch that goes through the area we were fishing and staying inside of this ditch is where the crappies were located. If you ended up on either shallow side of this ditch, there weren't any fish that could be found. All of the fish that we were catching were inside of this ditch and the deepest part was 26 feet deep. It didn't take long and we were catching crappie after crappie but these fish were so small. We drilled holes all over the area staying in the ditch and no matter where you drilled, you were catching crappies but there just was no size. We were fishing the Northland Tackle Mooska Tungsten jigs tipped with a couple of EuroLarva for scent attractant. We would catch crappies and a few sunfish but then we would get into pods of golden shiners and some of them were quite large. You could tell on the Vexilar's when these shiner pods would come through as they would light up the whole screen. After drilling holes everywhere in the area that we were in, I started moving a bit further downstream and later in the day did hit a few much nicer crappies. Could only get a few of the nicer ones and by the time we left the other anglers had left long ago. This reservoir definitely has a population of crappie in it but there needs to be a bit of management to getting the size back to being respectable.

There is a lot of rain forecasted for the next couple of days across New England as not really sure as to what that is going to do for the remaining ice.

We are hoping to get out one more time this coming weekend and hopefully find a good crappie lake to cap off this awesome ice season. So until next time may your lines be tight and smiles on your face...FISH ON...


    

    




3/23/14 New Hampshire

Conditions: Snow to sunny skies, upper 20's air temperatures and high winds blowing snow around

We made a long drive to the lakes region of New Hampshire and wanted to try a new lake that is supposed to have good sized crappies in it. On the drive up we had clear sunny skies and the temperatures were holding very nicely but as soon as we hit the lakes region the snow started falling and so did the temperatures with it. Upon arriving we knew that we were at the right location as there were already a number of anglers out on the ice. Conditions were going to be tough as now the sun was shining bright as well as the winds blowing very hard and with it a lot of drifting snow. The location that we wanted to target was already occupied by a big group of anglers. So we set up in between them and another set to our left. There is a deep trough that hugs around the island in the lake and we started setting lines from deeper water of 25 feet up towards the island that was in 6 feet of water. The ice conditions were 4 inches of snow on top with 27 inches of solid ice. With the electric auger, it is getting quite a workout this season and after 12 holes we needed to replace the battery to keep drilling more holes. It didn't take long and the fish were biting our set lines and we had setup in a pickerel hole because we were getting pickerel after pickerel and these fish were small. We haven't caught pickerel this small this season and after a while it was getting very old as we wanted to be targeting bass and we never did find one. Once all of the set lines were ready, I started drilling holes in 20-26 feet of water and we started hole hopping in our search for crappies. With the thick ice we weren't able to drill all of the holes that we typically drill and for the ones that we did have all that we were catching through them were perch. The winds had been relentless and with only catching perch on our jig rods, it was getting to a point that we were ready to leave. By this point all of the other anglers on the lake had left and we were the last ones left and it was still early afternoon. This would be another lake that would be nice to visit in the open water with the boat and explore the lake and mark numbers of locations for future reference.

This trip didn't pan out like we had hoped, but we were still ice fishing as it is getting to the end of March. This next week the weather is warming dramatically and may be the last time on Massachusetts ice.

So till next time may your lines be tight and smiles on your faces...FISH ON...







3/22/14 Massachusetts


Conditions: Sunny skies turned to rain and then back to sunny skies; upper 40's air temperatures and moderate winds

We are definitely getting towards the end of this much extended New England ice season for the 2014 ice fishing season. We have never fished this much and also never this long as generally we are in the boat by now. Today's lake is one that we frequent a lot but we haven't been to yet this year but generally there are a number of pickerel caught and this is why we haven't been here yet this season. We are getting reports that there are good sized bass being caught so with a late start to the day, was a good option for us to go to. I had some concern as to what the shorelines are going to look like as with some warmer sunny weather, the heat is starting to open the shoreline and not allowing access to the ice. We got there and it was frozen solid on this particular side so we headed off across the ice in search of our destination. The area that we had thought was the producing area you could see that there was no activity anywhere on the ice so we kept exploring and finally found the location that we were looking for. This reservoir is very consistent with its water depths and all the holes we drilled there was only 5-6 feet of water below. We would set our lines for four feet deep and it didn't take long and we were catching fish. Started out with some small pickerel but it didn't take long and we were into 3 pounders. Mixed in with the pickerel we were starting to catch largemouth bass as well and the sizes of them were approaching the three pound class. This lake is very weedy as well so when you would set your lines you definitely wanted to keep your bait above the weeds so that the cruising fish would be able to locate them.

It was a fun time out there and many fish were caught and we will definitely be back to fish here again, not sure if it will be this winter anymore, but we will keep this one in our back pocket.

Tomorrow is going to find us in the lakes region of New Hampshire searching a new lake that is supposed to have nice sized crappies in it as well as many other species so until then, tight lines and FISH ON....


    

    




3/16/14 New Hampshire


Conditions: Sunny skies, upper 20's air temperatures and high gusty winds

The temperatures dropped over 20 degrees overnight and the winds really didn't let up at all either. We headed up to New Hampshire to fish another lake that we haven't been to in the winter that we frequent quite a bit in the open water season. With the colder temperatures any melting from the previous day was froze solid this morning and with the strong winds made for a difficult walk across the lake. There is an underwater bar in the middle of the lake that usually is very productive so that was our plan for the day. We started setting lines in water depths from 23 feet of water all the way up to 5 feet of water. We started having fish bite fairly quickly once again but also had a number of false bites as the winds were so strong and that would vibrate our set lines and trigger them as well. There is a good population of crappies in this lake as well and we had the Clam Vista fish house set up in 25 feet of water hoping that they would come through. There were definitely fish below us but the few that we were able to catch showed that they were very small sunfish. With the conditions that we were fishing in, the bite was good the beginning of the morning with a variety of fish caught but as the morning went into afternoon, things slowed down immensely. The most active depths for us here today were the shallower 5 to 10 feet of water. There were only a few anglers out dealing with the winds and from watching them across the ice, didn't look like their fish were that active as well. It is always fun trying new lakes as you always have big hopes in mind because you know what the lake can produce. But when the weather conditions limit you to how you fish makes for a long time out there if they are not that active.

We were able to still catch a handful of fish but glad to have that day behind us and look forward to our next adventure in a few days. The plan for the next trip will be local as we are hearing that some big bass are being caught as well as another trip to NH and this time may find us up in lake country.

So until our next report may your lines be tight and your dreams fulfilled and...FISH ON...




    



3/15/14 Massachusetts

Conditions: Sunny skies, low 50's air temperatures and high winds that turned very gusty

Was a busy morning once again and we didn't get out to the lake until lunch time. Was supposed to rain in the morning as well and that never really happened. There were already winds blowing but they were tolerable and the ice had pooling water on top from the warm air temperatures and melted snow. There were only a few people on the lake and we had a choice of any location that we wanted and tried a new area that heard there were better numbers of smallmouth being caught there. The lake on this day has around 14 inches of ice and the top layer of a couple inches you can tell that it is starting to soften and honeycomb. We started setting our lines in 30 feet of water and didn't even have the second one set yet and had a fish on the first one. It took us quite a while to get all of our lines set as we were continually tending to fish on the lines that were set. We have been fortunate this ice season that we have only had one day that we were able to get all of the lines set before the fish started biting so by having it taking us a long time to get all of them set, is a lot of fun for us. We were definitely into the jumbo perch in the location and they seemed to keep getting bigger as each fish came through the hole. With the high winds we would also have a number of false alarms and with the standing water, makes it very messy trying to keep up with them. We were only here for a few hours and the winds were getting so strong that if you would move a bit too fast they would literally push you across the ice and you had to make sure that you didn't fall into the standing water. We never were able to find the smallmouth in this area and the jigging action was fairly slow as well. We were fishing mainly 30 feet of water and hoping that the big crappies would come through as well but to date there has been only two locations that those have been able to locate. So with the winds and clouds increasing dramatically it wasn't fun anymore having to deal with this so we pulled the plug a lot earlier than we generally ever do.

Tomorrow the temps once again are supposed to drop 20 plus degrees again and the winds are not supposed to die down either. We are heading to New Hampshire to a lake that we have fished a lot on the open water and never have been on the ice and there is supposed to be a lot of crappie in this lake as well.

So may your lines be tight and you catch that trophy of your life and enjoy this extended ice season...FISH ON...



    

    



3/9/14 New Hampshire

Conditions: Sunny skies, 30 degree air temperatures and high winds

What a change in weather from yesterday of over 50 degrees to 30 degrees and high winds. We headed back to New Hampshire to a lake we fished over a month ago and wanted to give it another try for the smallmouth bass that live in that lake. When we arrived we were surprised as there was only two other anglers out there. So we headed back over towards the area that we were at the previous time which is a small underwater point that comes out not far and has rocks and boulders for structure on it. We set our lines fairly deep this time around as the previous time the lines that were shallow didn’t produce anything. With the high winds that we had, there were a number of false signals given for our set lines as they would go off with no fish there. We were setting 12 lines out and when you are getting fish before you can finish setting up, that is a good sign of what the day is going to be like. So far this winter we have only had one trip that we were able to get totally setup before the fish started biting so we really can’t complain about that. The one side of this point always seems to attract pickerel as it didn’t take long and the pickerel were biting but we really weren’t getting any size for them. Also, the perch moved in as well as there were a number of them caught and I think a lot of our false bites were coming from the perch pulling on our baits and not taking them. My son typically runs all of the set lines and I follow behind resetting them and there was a time that 2 or 3 of them went off at the same time so I had an opportunity to take one. The one that I did take when I set the hook I could definitely tell that it was a much better fish. It gave a great fight coming to the hole and as I could see it coming up, the hook popped out of its mouth. Luckily it was already halfway up the hole with its head pointing up and the size of the fish wouldn’t allow it to turn around and go back down. So with that I put both of my hands deep into the water to try and again to try and finally was able to get a hold of the fish and pulled out a nice 3 pound largemouth bass. That fish was the largest for the day and my son was a bit upset but since I don’t get to catch a lot of fish when he is along, I am not going to complain. The bass bite really took off later in the day and we caught a number of two pound largemouth but we were not able to locate any of the smallmouth that are here. The winds really took a toll on us as they were nonstop but we had our Clam Vista popup house and once we had that setup it was a nice place to get out of the wind. When we left we went and checked out another area quickly as the other anglers were fishing it and what we found was that there was an underwater hump there. We really want to bring the boat out here in the open water and drive around the lake watching the electronics and get a good feeling as to what the lake really has to offer for structure.

It was another fun weekend and the coming week looks like some warm weather moving in so hopefully it doesn’t take a toll on the ice yet. We would like to fish for another 2-3 weeks yet and feel that we will still be able to do that.

So until our next trip out we hope that you can catch a trophy of your life and may your lines be tight…FISH ON


    

    





3/8/14 Massachusetts

Conditions: Partly cloudy skies, low 50’s air temperatures and moderate winds.

We had a busy day for sure so we didn’t get to the ice until after lunch time and also went to a lake that my son has never been to with me before. This lake is the one that I search for big crappies on and he was fired up to give it a try as Saturday’s are typically much quieter angler wise on the lake. There were 6 groups of anglers already on the ice and the lake is quite large so no one is crowding each other and there are many different locations that people can fish on. Once we could see where everyone was situated, there is a long underwater point with a large end flat that I wanted to target and see if we could find fish off of the deep edge. We set our lines around the edge of this flat with a few on top as well. The typical depth that we were fishing was 20-24 feet deep and a couple of lines were a bit deep in a deep pocket. This lake contains jumbo perch, smallmouth and largemouth bass and the elusive giant crappies that we are always looking for. It didn’t take long and the jumbo perch started biting and my son was in his glory as these were much heavier than any others that he has caught on other area lakes. We typically set our lines around 2 feet off of the bottom and that way the fish near the bottom as well as the ones that are suspended a bit will be able to locate our baits. We had bites going on all afternoon but noticed that when the sun was shining versus when there were clouds, we would get more bites with the sun. With the warm temperatures the latest snow that we had melted and it was fairly sloppy with a lot of standing water and you could also see that the top layer was softening up. While the set lines were sitting we started drilling holes and search for the crappies in this lake. We were never able to locate any but jigged up a bunch of perch also. Towards the end of our time out there we got a bite that once the fish was iced it was a beautiful smallmouth bass and gave up a great fight. That was the first smallmouth that we have gotten through the ice on this lake as in the open water season we catch a lot of them on tube baits and top-waters. I think that I have spoiled my son a bit with the size of fish that this lake gives up that we may be making a trip here once again very soon. The ice should be fishable for another 2-3 weeks for sure and then we will have to see where we are with its condition.

Tomorrow will find us in New Hampshire again chasing smallmouth and largemouth bass on a lake that we fished previous this year. So until next time, may you catch that trophy of a lifetime…FISH ON

    

    


3/2/14 New Hampshire


Conditions: Cloudy Skies, low 30's air temperatures and light winds

Since last weekend we had a banner day out on this particular lake, we wanted to go back and see if we could repeat what we had done. The ice conditions were so much better this time around and everything was totally frozen and there was around 16 inches of ice. We planted half of our lines in the same holes that were productive last time and the others we moved out into deeper water. We setup up our jigging in the same location where we were catching the jumbo perch and bull sunfish the previous trip. After getting all of the lines setup, this was the first time this season that we were able to do that without getting a fish biting. That was the sign that today was not going to be the same as the previous trip. We were getting a number of bites, but there were no fish there when we would set the hook. We were starting to see a trend happening in this area. The jumbo perch had taken over and that was the main fish that was caught throughout the day. There were only a few small pickerel caught and a few bass as well but the perch were playing with our lines and they definitely were the dominant fish today. The jigging lines were fairly quiet as well and you would pick up a nice sunfish here and there but the numbers of them were not there as well. I was able to jig up a decent bass which is always fun on the short rods. For the day we caught some numbers of fish but definitely compared to the previous trip, was somewhat disappointing. We were fishing depths from 6 feet of water out to 14 feet of water. It didn't really seem to matter as there was not any certain depth that was better than the next. This lake has been very quiet for anglers out there and not really sure why as the fish are definitely there and willing to bite your lines. We have another week of cold weather coming so that means that our ice season will be getting prolonged by another week or two at least. Maybe fishing until April this year on the ice and here in New England that really never happens.

Not sure yet as to where we are going to be going coming the next weekend but we know for sure that we will be on the ice for the weekend once it gets here once again. Tight lines and go and catch that trophy you are seeking...


    

    

    


3/1/14 Massachusetts


Conditions: Sunny skies, mid 20's air temperatures and light winds

Since I was going solo today, decided to stay local and head to the lake that has big crappies in it that I was not able to locate last time and try a different area today in my search. Now that we have had a week of sub-freezing weather, the slush from the previous week is totally gone as it has frozen solid. This lake I was seeing around 13-15 inches of ice and the sheet was making the cracking noise the whole time out there. There is very little snow on the ice which makes it very enjoyable walking to the fishing area. I wanted to fish a flat point off of an island but when I got out there, there was already a couple of angler's setup there. So I went back towards the same area that I had previously fished here but wanted to concentrate more on a sunken island that is in this back corner. Started drilling holes and I always had fish in each hole but a lot of the times they were more lookers and sniffers than biters. I would give each hole a few minutes and if the fish were not aggressively biting, I would move and drill another hole. On the fourth hole I finally hit a spot that was showing some big marks on the Vexilar and it didn't take long for my Salmo Chubby Darter to get slammed and when the fish came through the hole is was a nice 2.5 pound largemouth bass. After my excitement calmed down and a picture was taken he was released and I went back to the hole to see if there were any other fish there. Didn't take long and there was another fish about 4 feet off the bottom and a little jigging magic and the fish slammed the Darter. As I was reeling the fish up, I was hoping that it was a smallmouth as I had never gotten one through the ice in this lake yet. The fish came up the hole and it was a 17.5 inch long crappie and this was the fish that I had come here to find. It took me a while to calm down with this one as this lake has these sized crappies but you generally only catch a couple if you can find them. A few pictures were taken and he was released back into the water and just between those two fish in the few minutes that they bit, my day was fulfilled and anything after that was all an extra bonus fish. This hole died after those fish and my search continued to finding the underwater hump that I wanted to fish the edge on. I was catching jumbo perch here and there and there were a few that when you dropped the Darter down there they would come flying off the bottom and slam the bait. These are the fish that I am always looking for as it is much more fun catching biters than sniffers. After drilling 30 holes I had finally found the island and certain holes were loaded with fish but most of them were sniffers. At this point I also killed the battery on my Strikemaster Auger and with a swap for a fresh battery I was off and drilling again. You would catch a perch or sunfish here or there but as morning turned into afternoon the bite started slacking off and I had other engagements that I needed to be at so called it a day around 1pm. With the catch of the bass and crappie my day was fulfilled and will keep me coming back as now the search for the smallmouth bass that live in this lake will be my next objective.

Tomorrow we will probably hit the road for New Hampshire again and see if we can repeat last weekend's catching. Tight lines and may you catch that trophy of your life...


    

    


2/23/14 New Hampshire


Conditions: Cloudy, low to mid 40's air temperatures and low winds

Since yesterday was a slop fest in Massachusetts and is only going to get worse today as the temperatures are still warm and more slush and water to form. So we decided to take a road trip to New Hampshire and see if we can try and get away from the slush and visit a lake that we frequent a lot in the warmer months and haven't been there this winter yet. Upon arriving at the lake, first thing we noticed was that the ice top layer was more stable than Massachusetts and also noticed that the snow covered areas were a bit softer than the bare ice areas. For the most part the top ice layer held up for most of the day and was starting to get soft by the time we left. We started setting lines in water depths of 5 feet deep out to around 12 feet deep. We were not even half way done setting lines and we were catching fish and the fun was already starting. Not sure if these fish have seen much for anglers this winter as we could not see any sign that anyone had been out there and that is always a good thing as then the fish are not as aware as they are if they are highly pressured. We typically set our lines roughly 2 feet off of the bottom and that way if there are any weeds down there the minnows are going to be able to stay swimming above those weeds. It is always a lot of fun when you are already getting biting fish before you are even setup yet and the second fish that we had caught was a nice 3 pound largemouth bass. While I am tending lines and sorts my son will work the set lines and when he starts yelling and screaming about the fish he has caught, I know that he has a good one on. This went on for the first few hours of the days and there were numerous pickerel and largemouth bass caught. Once we were able to get all of the lines setup, and things started to calm down, then it was time to start jigging the area and see if we can entice more bass into biting on the rod and reel. Right away we had fish in the jigging holes but those fish were reluctant to hit the bass lures that we had down there. So my son put that rod down and grabbed his panfish jigging rod and started working that. It didn't take long and he was into the jumbo perch which always put up a great fight. There was a period that we caught a number of jumbo's between the two of us as there was a good wave that had come through. As we are jigging our set lines have slowed down a bit but we were getting consistent bites throughout the afternoon. As the perch slowed down, and it was getting into later afternoon, the bull sunfish came in and the fishing turned into fast and furious once again. He typically fishes sunfish in this lake in the warmer months but has never caught the size that we were now catching. I don't think that I had ever seen this sized sunfish in all of the years that I had fished this lake. We really wish the sunfish would have started a lot earlier as these fish fought as hard as the bass did and were a lot of fun to catch. As the sun was getting lower in the sky, they just kept coming in thicker and thicker as you could see them on our flashers as we were fishing. Unfortunately, we still had a drive ahead of us for going home and it was time to start packing it up. He really didn't want to leave and I didn't either but the day had come to an end and was another stellar day on this particular lake. We went thru 3 dozen minnows, caught 4 species of fish and also a nice wind burn on our faces. We will definitely be coming back here before the end of the ice season as this lake never disappoints.

Not sure if we will be doing a road trip next weekend as the weather is going to be turning cold once again and that is going to firm everything up in Massachusetts and set up for another couple weeks of good fishing there.

So tight lines and may you catch that trophy of your lifetime...


    

    

    


2/22/14 Massachusetts


Conditions: Sunny skies, upper 40's air temperatures and moderate winds

All we have been having this week is snow storms that are followed by rain storms and that is doing a number on our local ice conditions. Upon driving past a few lakes, you can see that there is a good amount of slush coming through the snow on top of the ice. But, with the warm weather and the need to fish, we headed out and went to our favorite crappie pond to give it a whirl. When we arrived you were able to get onto the ice, but the shoreline was starting to open a bit. It didn't take long and the slush was greeting us as there were certain areas that the top layer of ice was strong enough to walk on and then other areas you would go right through the top layer. What was setting up was there is a 2-3 inch layer of ice that was followed by a 4-6 inch layer of water that was followed by 6-7 inches of solid ice. The morning wasn't too bad and was bearable but as the day wore on, between the sun shining and wind blowing, you had to wear snowshoes just to stay on top of the slush without sinking down. To keep our feet somewhat dry we had to put plastic bags on our feet into our boots and at least then you didn't feel the cold of the ice water. With these kinds of conditions we were hoping for a repeat of the last time that we were here but the fish had other ideas. The day was fairly tough and only a few fish were caught. The set lines only produced a couple fish and we were able to jig up a few as well but we really had to work for the fish that we caught. By the time that we left the top layer of ice was getting to be junk and it was time to leave before getting to wet.

So for tomorrow we are planning a road trip back to New Hampshire and hopefully the ice conditions are much better up there. So may your lines be tight and you catch those trophy fish that you seek and we will see you next time...

    


2/16/14 Massachusetts


Conditions: Sunny skies, upper 20's air temperatures and high winds

There has been a lake that we have wanted to go to for quite some time but just have never gotten there until today. Upon arriving, we were the only ones there and didn't take long to find out why. With the winds howling and once you got onto the ice, the slush factor was very evident once again as we are seeing on most of all the lakes we are fishing in Massachusetts. We had our snowshoes and these are a must at this point in time and for the most part keeps you on top of the snow and slush. Having not fished here and there is no lake maps of this lake, picked a lake point to fish and concentrated all of our lines around that area. For the stationary lines they were very quiet for most of the time with a few bites but nothing was landed. For our jigging lines it only took a few moments and we were into perch and a number of them were very good sized and were a lot of fun to catch. We took some time and lowered the camera down towards the bottom and watched as the fish reacted and took our baits and was a lot of fun watching them as they looked at and took our bait. We were using the Northland Tackle Mooska Tungsten jigs again tipped with Euro Larva and watching the Vexilar/Humminbird flashers, the fish were there in numbers. There was another party that had come out to fish and had a four wheeler that they eventually buried into the snow and slush and once they freed that they loaded up and left. The winds really picked up in the later afternoon after Saturdays storm and the bite totally died off and after a while of not marking anything, we decided to pull the plug and head out.

We are definitely hoping that we can get out soon again and with another snowstorm and also rain in the forecast, it is going to be quite messy on the ice. You need to get out there and fish as the ice season here in New England can and will come to an abrupt end before you know it, tight lines and may you catch that fish of a lifetime...


    


2/15/14 Massachusetts


Conditions: Partly cloudy to cloudy, low 30 degree air temperatures and light winds

With the weather that we have been having here in New England, it is getting harder for getting around the lakes with all of the snow and slush under the snow. Our ice season was shaping up very nicely with solid black ice and was moving along great. But in the last few weeks, with all of the snow accumulation, if there isn't over a foot of ice on a lake, then we have slush underneath the snow and making travel by foot very hard. We are using snowshoes to get to our spots now but once we reach the fishing area, we are always hoping that there is little slush. So I wanted to get out this morning as another snow storm is coming later in the afternoon. We have been going to many lakes that we have either never been to, or haven't been to in a long time. So I picked another local lake and wanted to target the crappies that are in there. Many people will fish the shallower waters looking for pickerel and bass, so I had the main deep part of the lake to myself. I started fishing in 24 feet of water and that pretty much was the depth of the day out there. It only took a couple of holes to find the crappies and they were ready to bite. I was fishing the Northland Tackle Mooska Tungsten 1/57 ounce jig and tipped it with Euro Larva for added scent. Most of the holes had fish in them and it seemed that the first drop was the enticing trick to getting the aggressive ones to bite. There were many holes that had fish in them but they were only sniffers and would not commit to taking the bait. So I continually drilled hole after hole looking for the active biters and it is a lot of work, but if you want to constantly keep catching fish, this is what you have to do. Sitting and waiting gets old very quickly and our philosophy is to keep moving and looking for the actively biting fish, we are not ones to wait for them to come to us. Many days drilling 60 holes is nothing but fishing is like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. Was very surprised a number of times that the sunfish were suspended to high off of the ground as they generally are not at the heights that the crappies are at. There were many crappies caught during my time out there, nothing huge, but a consistent 8-10 inch fish. I only had so much time to fish so there was a lot of water that I never got to touch so that may be on the agenda the next time we go out there.

Don't let all of this snow put you down for getting out there fishing, it is going to be some work but the fish are there and waiting for you, may your lines be tight...

    
    


2/9/14 Massachusetts


Conditions: Partly cloudy skies, upper 20's air temperature and light winds.

After the previous day of not finding the crappies that we were looking for, we decided to head to a pond that we frequent that has some very nice crappie in as well. Of course this pond has a good amount of snow on also and made it tough getting around on the ice. Another issue that we had to deal with was there was a fair amount of slush under the snow and some areas you were standing in water while fishing. We ran our lines in water depths from 5-6 feet of water out into 12 feet of water and that allowed us to cover a wide variety of water depths. Once those allotted lines were set, we moved out into 18 feet of water as the crappie generally will suspend around twelve feet deep. One nice thing about the crappie in this pond is that when there are fish on the flashers and they are at 12 feet down, you already know that those are the crappie swimming through. We drilled holes all over the ice and were only able to locate and catch one lone crappie but it was a nice fish at 12 inches long. It was caught on a Northland Tackle Mooska Tungsten jig that was tipped with a couple of Euro Larva for added bait attractant. While jigging we had another very exciting moment as we had a good fish go through and strike and the battle was on. We were hoping that it was one of the giant crappie that live in the lake but after an exhausting battle, we finally seen that it was a big largemouth bass. As I was bringing it to the hole, instead of its nose coming up the hole, the fish went sideways underneath the hole and at that point the line snapped and the fish was gone. That fish really gave a great battle and it is always nice to get your hands on them, but at least we were able to see it and it was definitely very nice. We were able to jig up some sunfish and perch as well but the jig bite just wasn't going to be happening on this trip. But, the other lines were very lively for the day as there were a number of largemouth and pickerel caught and it always made for an exciting battle when they would bite. All in all for the day we probably caught 20-30 fish between the 5 species that we caught that day. As we were packing up as the sun was setting, one of the lines that never let us know there was a fish there, had our biggest largemouth of the day and was a solid 3.5-4 pound fish. For the conditions of snow and slush, we had a great time out there and should be able to get onto this pond again before the ice starts its thawing process.

The next trip will probably find us in New Hampshire again at a lake that we frequent quite often but haven't been to it yet this year.

So till next time, may your lines be tight and handle those fish with care and release what you don't need so that others can enjoy that experience as well...

    

    


2/8/14 massachusetts


This weekend definitely is not going to be warm like it has been for the last few weekends and I picked a lake that the wind always blows and is cold in the winter. Today's conditions were upper teens for temperatures, clear sunny skies and stiff winds. The last snow storm has left around 12 inches of snow on area lakes and ponds and this is making it difficult for getting to your fishing locations. The lake that I was on today has great bass, smallmouth and largemouth, in it and when you locate them, they are always of a very nice size. But for some reason they are difficult to locate in the winter months so typically don't fish for them as the crappies in this lake are of a large size and that was the target for today. These fish are another variety that you really have to search for as well but once you locate them, the fish that you catch are of large size and well worth the efforts in locating and catching them. Typically here I generally fish the middle of the lake but with all of the snow cover, it was too much work getting out there so stayed in an area that has good 30 feet of water and started my search. After the first few holes I could see that I was going to have to work at it once again as the crappies were not going to come easy. One good thing there was fish in almost every hole but they were perch and when you would catch one, they definitely put up a good fight. The perch that I was catching were very nice and big and I was catching them on the Salmo Chubby Darter and would work the lure a couple of feet off of the ground. After a while I started tipping the hooks with some grubs and one fish that I caught was one of the biggest sunfish that I have caught here in New England at nearly 12 inches long. I thought for sure that it was a crappie when I was fighting it but was pleasantly surprised to see such a big sunfish. At one point I did have some crappie come through the hole as they were at around 17 feet of water and when they are that high of the bottom that is the only fish that swims so far up. I was able to get the fish to look at the lure but as hard I as tried to entice them into biting, it just wasn't happening. All in all it was a good day of fishing but when is there a bad day when you are fishing. May try and get out there once again when the snow gets knocked down a bit because after you catch one of those crappies, you really want to do it again.

So until the next report from the ice, may your lines be tight...

    

    


2/2/14 New Hampshire

Time for another road trip and we headed for New Hampshire bright and early with a destination for a lake that we have not seen or fished before. It is always fun fishing and exploring new bodies of water and we have a lot of fun going out there and trying to figure out what and where the fish are and what they are looking for to eat. So today was no different and we had a variety of weather that had plagued us as well with cloudy skies, temperatures were in the 30's, no wind at all and later in the day we had a pretty good rain come through. Upon arriving at the lake, there were already a number of anglers scattered around the ice and they were actually driving cars on the ice. Since we have not been able to drive on the ice here in New England, I choose to park at the landing and we walked. Seeing the area that I wanted to fish was too far for walking, we picked another area that was an underwater point
that came out about 40 yards from shore and was covered in rocks and boulders. This lake has produced some nice smallmouth and largemouth bass and that was the target that we were looking for today. So we set our lines in a variety of depths and seem that the most productive was in the 12-16 feet of water. To start off the pickerel were biting very well and some nice ones in the 2-3 pound range. After about an hour and a half, we finally had a targeted fish on the line and when the 3 plus pound largemouth bass came through the hole, my son's eyes almost popped out of his head as the fish looked very big laying there on the ice. He was very happy and it was great seeing the excitement that he has when he catches a nice fish and this is what keeps him coming back for more. We had taken pictures and video of the fish and released it back into the water. It wasn't even 15 minutes and he had another fish on the line and when this one came through the hole it was a solid two and a half pound smallmouth bass and he was screaming with excitement once again. Now he was really jacked up and was so glad that we made the drive to this lake as he was having a banner day. Once again we took all the pictures and video and he released that fish back into the water to fight another day. The day was shaping up very nicely and the pickerel kept you busy in between other bites. The bass never really got going and those were the only two that were caught but numbers of pickerel and also nice perch were caught. Later in the afternoon a front came through and dumped a good amount of rain on us and luckily we had our Clam popup fish house with us to stay out of the rain. You could definitely see after that the bite died right off and so once the weather stabilized a bit, we packed up and headed back home after a very enjoyable day of fishing.


Not sure where you are going to see us next but we will definitely be out there again very shortly, may your lines be tight...

    

    


2/1/14 Massachusetts


We had a few hours in between a variety of things that needed to get done this day to hit the ice and stayed very close to home. Conditions were very nice with air temperatures in the mid 40's, partly cloudy skies and a light wind off and on. This particular pond we haven't been to for a few years as the ice never gets thick enough if there is any as it is a town's water supply and they have an arator in the pond that keeps part of it open during the winter. When we arrived there were a number of local fire departments there and they were practicing their ice safety and rescue operations and were fun to watch as they would get into and out of the icy waters. We made our way towards the back of the pond where the deep water starts coming up to the shallows that the back half is. We wanted to target crappies and generally find them on this break transition area. We were fishing mainly waters that were 12-16 feet deep and we were marking fish on the flashers but a lot of them we just plain lookers and didn't really want to take any offerings. We drilled many holes around this location and could find fish but tough to get them to bite. When it was time to leave we had caught some fish, pickerel, perch, sunfish and bass but we never were able to locate the crappies. Not sure if we are going to be back to this pond as we were fairly disappointed and we have many other options around the area so chances are, unless we only have a couple of hours, we won't be back this winter.
Hope everyone had a great day on the ice and may your lines be tight.


    


1/25/14 Massachusetts


Was nice to see that the week was going to be very cold again and what that does is freeze up all of the shorelines of local ponds that had opened up from the previous weeks warm weather. With that, I was able to get onto a pond that we haven't been to in a couple of years just because it is the last one to freeze up and the first one to open up. Upon arriving at the pond, there were cloudy skies, a stiff wind and the air temps were in the upper 30's. There weren't any other anglers out there and you could also see that there were no holes drilled in the ice anywhere I was fishing. This particular pond has some very nice crappies in it up to 14-15 inches in length. For a small body of water, that is fairly impressive and you usually don't see that other than in bigger bodies of water. I generally fish this pond where others generally don't go and the water depth there is around 20 feet of water. After drilling a number of holes in a few locations, there was only a few that consistently held fish for the time that I was out there. The bait of choice was the Northland Mooska tungsten jig in the 1/57 oz size and tipped that with a couple of Euro Larvae for added enticement. Generally from fishing these depths you can gauge the size of the fish by where it is swimming in the water column. If they were near the bottom to two feet off, these generally were smaller crappies and more times than not, sunfish. But, when the marks on the electronics flash at 14 feet, you quickly reel your bait to that level and the fish that you are catching there, are always the bigger varieties of crappies and the biggest ones that were caught were the 13 inch size. You usually won't catch a lot of them but the ones you catch are definitely the funniest and those are the ones that keep you coming back. The real key to catching these bigger fish always comes back to fishing and using the electronics to see where the fish are at because without that, you would miss a good quantity of these nicer fish.
So until next time, TIGHT LINES


          


1/19/14 Massachusetts


Well the warm weather really has done a number on our ice conditions on most or the lakes in our area by rotting the shoreline ice and creating open water and making it impossible for getting onto the ice. If you can find a location to get onto the ice, there is a good change that there will be 6 inches of solid ice once you getting past that shoreline. Fortunate for us we have a lake or two that has shoreline that never sees the sun so these areas are generally the first ones to freeze and the last to thaw out. So I checked one of these and the shoreline was still frozen solid so that lake was our target for a morning of fishing. Conditions for the day were partly cloudy after the day before snowstorm, 26 degree air temperatures and winds that picked up as the morning went along. Upon getting to the lake, we were the only ones there and that allowed us to setup on the prime area that we hoped that would yield some nice bass and also get into a sunfish bite. For the bass we generally will run tip-ups and had them placed anywhere from 5 to 22 feet of water and for this outing the 10 foot depth seemed to be the most productive. The beginning of the morning had many flags flying with bass and pickerel, then the winds picked up and it seemed to die off for a bit and then the sun started coming out which made the bite turn on again. The bass that we caught were all about the same size and there weren't any big fish caught but having fish bite and be caught is better than nothing. I drilled a number of holes around the area at various depths and was hoping to find some of the sunfish that live in the lake. But after fishing all around, there wasn't any aggressive sunfish willing to bite but with the flags flying, really didn't care that they weren't biting. For a short morning run we had a great time out there and if you are persistent in locating a place to fish, it will always pay off. Tight lines until next time.


     

     




1/12/14 Massachusetts


Since our ice season is so short here in New England, you really need to drop everything and take advantage of the few weeks that we have to fish on the ice here. Winter break for college is over and we had to move my daughter back to school but we brought the ice gear along and planned on fishing around where her school is. The temperatures are still highly mild and partly cloudy skies helps when the sun is shining but the winds just will not let up and gusts at 20 mph makes for hard fishing on glare ice. We drove to the first location only to find open shorelines and with the winds; there was actually a current that you could see moving underneath the ice. Took off for the next location which is a river system with a dam in between 2 pools and we ran into the same situation as the shorelines were open and you could actually see where the current was in the river channel as that was open as well. It was time to head back to our area as I am not really sure that this location made a lot of ice as this weather really is doing a number and who knows if that ice will ever be fish-able again this winter. The next stop was at a small pond that has big crappie in it and as we checked the shorelines there, it was open a little and you could easily get onto the ice, but my son was very leery about going onto this pond, plus without any snow cover it makes for a long drag pulling the sleds to the pond. After chopping a couple of holes along the shoreline there is definitely enough ice as I was seeing 5-6 inches but if he isn't comfortable, not going to go onto there. So we headed back to where I had fished the previous day and upon getting to the location, was very surprised not seeing another vehicle parked there. We checked the shoreline and it was open a bit but there is a swimming dock that isn't pulled all the way onto shore and that is what we used to get onto the ice. After drilling a hole and seeing good 6 inches, we were comfortable and proceeded to the location where I was catching the crappies the day before. There was still water on top of the ice and you can definitely see that the rains, wind and warm temperatures are really raising havoc with the ice surface. Also, any previous holes and ice cracks, you wanted to avoid those as they were wearing very hard and opening from the conditions. When we finally found the area that I was fishing previously, we dropped the electronics in and the fish were there and waiting for us. My son likes setting out a number of tip-ups as well so we proceeded to setting a line from deep water up into the shallower shoreline. The tip-ups were not that productive for the day as only a few jumbo perch were caught but made for an interesting afternoon trying to run across the glare ice getting to a flag. With the wind blowing so hard we wanted to set up the new Clam Vista shelter and once we had it anchored to the ice, have to say that this is one well-built shelter. It held up very well with the strong winds coming across the ice and was really nice to get out of the wind and when the sun would shine, warmed right up without having any heater on. The crappie action was none stop for quite some time and the electronics screen was lit up with fish and was a lot of fun watching my my catches fish after fish. There was a mixture of crappies, sunfish and white perch and as it got to later afternoon, was thinking that the bite would get better but it actually went the other way. The fish were still down there but they were getting more and more finicky so that was a clue that it was time to head out. It was a very productive day and not sure what the weather is going to do to our ice here, but I have a feeling that we will be making a trip to New Hampshire this coming weekend as the ice up there is more stable after this weather.

     

     


1/11/14 Massachusetts

Since the snow has finally melted down from the previous storms and getting around the lake ice is much simpler, wanted to hit a local pond in search of deep water crappies. In fact the weather now has gone the other way as it is way to warm for a January day with air temperatures in the upper 50's, cloudy skies and rain showers off and on. The top of the ice was very sloppy with standing water all around up to an inch or so deep making for a mess walking around as the ice was very slick as well. There were a number of anglers out on the ice spread around different locations. I wanted to try an area that I had found on the open water last fall that was 22 feet deep but at the time the graph showed either weedbeds or bushes scattered throughout this area. Today's agenda was to jig with electronics in search of suspended crappies and once a number of holes were drilled, didn't take long to find them. The first location wasn't giving me the results that I was looking for as the crappies were very small in size and there were a number of white perch scattered in the area as well. The bait of choice was the Northland Tackle Mooska Tungsten jig and this was tipped with Eurolarva. Seeing that the fish were on the small side, I packed up and moved off another 40 yards or so and drilled a number of holes. As I would move from hole to hole, certain holes only had white perch, others had small crappies, and then I hit the magic holes that finally I had found the bigger sized crappies. These still weren't the 11-12 inch long ones that I was looking for but was consistently catching 9-10 inch long ones. Of course as it got later into the afternoon the bite really picked up but I had another engagement to attend to and had to call it a day. It turned out to be a very good fishing outing for what the weather was throwing out there and was definitely worth every minute of it.

     

     

1/5/14 New hampshire

Finally our ice fishing season has kicked off here in New England and been a long time coming as we never know if there is even going to be a season. We have been having very cold temps and there are waters that were fishable the last couple of weeks but with to many other things going on, getting there was a bit of a problem. We had a major snow storm last week that left 18-24 inches of snow in the area, so with that we decided to head for New Hampshire as they didn't get near that amount and will make for easier walking across the lake to where we want to fish. We went to a reservoir that I have been wanting to fish for quite sometime and finally made it there. There are largemouth bass, pickerel and it is known for its crappies. The day was perfect with temps around 30, clear sunshine skies and no wind. There were a number of other anglers on the water and everyone was spread throughout the reservoir. We started drilling holes in the main river channel and setup a number of traps in water depths from 23 feet up to 5 feet deep. The deeper water traps had little action and the moderate to shallower water produced all day with numerous pickerel and largemouth bass being caught. We drilled a number of holes all around the river channel and used our electronics to search for and catch numbers of crappies. The size was rather small and there weren't any keepers caught but it was definitely a fun day to be out on the ice and kick off our season. The crappies were biting on very small jigs with the use of euro larva that I brought back from Minnesota. Our plans for the next trip will find us around the Boston area and will be fun as we have never fished the waters in that location.