BackWoods Sportsman OutDoors
new england outdoors

ice fishing blog 2014

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.


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.



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