BWS OutDoors
New England Outdoors

ice fishing blog 2013

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.


Now that the snow storms have stopped for a while and the snow and ice are settling, this has helped some ponds and lakes and has hurt others. It had rained the night before and then froze so the pond we went to fish was very slick on top for walking and you had to be very careful not to take a fall. We were able to get out in the morning with low 30's for temps, cloudy skies and of course a good breeze blowing once again. The rains and warmer weather has definitely helped this pond in creating more ice compared to what was there before. The top layer of frozen snow was 4-5 inches thick and the black ice underneath was 4-5 inches as well. We had fished this pond a couple of times before in different locations and decided to stay close to the entry point and fish some shallower water. Set the traps out in different water depths from 6 to 15 feet of water. Of the eight lines out only half of them had activity and a couple had more than the others. We only had 4 lines in the water when the first fish hit and was a nice 2 pound largemouth bass. Throughout the morning other bass were caught but they seemed to get smaller as the time went on. Before packing it in we had a flag and caught a nice 3 pound fat pickerel that gave my son a very nice fight. All in all the day was a success and the action was spread out enough that about the time you were getting bored, a flag would go up. Did try some jigging for panfish but have been having a tough time this year as Massachusetts has banned lead head jigs and I haven't been able to find any non-lead jigs that work like the lead heads that I use to use. The search will continue on and hopefully find some that will start producing.


When you get warm weather in the winter and the ice has not totally firmed up, warmth, wind and rain can wreak havoc on the ice that we had. We had a pond targeted for going after large crappies and when we approached the pond, we were greeted with open water in the main location we wanted to fish. There are two other ponds in the same vicinity and upon viewing them we were greeted with the same results, open water. Headed the truck off to another location as we have a pond that typically is a reliable one for ice conditions and when we arrived we were relieved that we could finally get onto the ice. The conditions were cloudy skies, stiff breeze and mid 20's for temps with snow flakes falling. We setup our lines along the shallows of the shorelines, along an underwater point and a couple in deep water. While the shiners were soaking we drilled a number of holes in the deeper water to look for crappies and sunfish and do some jigging to coax them into biting. After drilling many holes and fishing them all with electronics, was a very rare sight to seeing them void of fish. We had the traps with some action with a small largemouth bass coming from shallow water and also a small pickerel on top of the underwater point. One trap on the point edge had a couple of flags and the line was being spooled off with something making long runs but when time come to setting the hook, nothing was there as the fish must have had the minnow by the head. We have a major snow storm coming in for the latter half of the week so not sure if we will be getting out there, time will tell.


With a cold week for temperatures this is getting the ice on its way for a much needed kick start to get our ice season going this year. Weather today was sunny skies, mid 20's for air temperature and still can't get rid of the strong winter winds. We went back to the same lake that we fished last weekend as we had heard reports that there were some big fish in a different area of the lake. So we made the walk to the other end of the lake to give it a try and with the little snow on top of the ice, made for some fun walking to getting there. The far side of the lake depth wise is a lot different then where you get onto the lake. The shorelines are deep and isn't much for weed structure as well, but usually these are the areas that bigger fish live in and no one usually bothers them there. We setup in a cove in water depths from 6 feet out to 20 plus. Tried for an hour or so and had no takers and we also tried some jigging for panfish and that didn't pan out either. Packed up that location and went across the lake into another cove that had a small island to the one side. Started punching holes around the island and the water depths ranged from 4 feet out to 18 feet so we setup our traps in a variety of depths to cover all of the water depths. The winds were howling much stronger onto this side and as the afternoon went on, the shadows from the trees definitely made it feel a lot cooler than it actually was. We did catch a few fish in this cove but all of them were smaller pickerels. We weren't able to find any bass on this trip but if we come back to this lake again, we are ruling out waters that we don't need to fish. Warm temps moving in this coming week with rain and this will mess with the ice a bit, but we already have a game plan fir fishing this weekend and will be chasing some large crappies.


The ice season has finally come around and since there was no ice last season, is a very welcome sight and can't wait to get this season underway. The ice had formed very nicely with a few inches of clear solid ice but then a very warm spell came through and for most ponds and lakes, this created very unsafe if not open water once again. We have a few places that the access points are consistently in the shade so this allows for no ice degredation to occur. This first pond we wanted to explore the local town's fire and rescue departments decided to use it as a ice rescue practice site not allowing us access to the ice. So we moved on to another pond a bit further away to finding access was good as well. We had the ice to ourselves and setup not to far from the access point. This is a cove with a outlet so there is a bit of moving water going through this area. The winds had picked up considerably and made it a bit tough for fishing as everything was blowing around and actually the wind blew some of the traps out of the holes. We weren't able to do any jigging because of this but had our allotted number of traps in and this allowed us to catch bass and pickerel. The fish were fairly active and with the warm mid 40's weather, made for enjoyable afternoon of fishing. The last half hour slowed way down as a major cold front was moving in with higher winds and dropping temperatures. But all in all was a very productive and fun day for once again getting out on the ice as we never had an ice season last year.