Friday, March 28, 2014

Ice Fishing New Hampshire 3/23/14

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...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ice Fishing Massachusetts 3/22/14

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....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ice Fishing New Hampshire 3/16/14

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...


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ice Fishing Massachusetts 3/15/14

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...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Question for day March 13

Q: Do you rely on a certain color for your ice fishing jigs?

A: Not really. For the fish that we are seeking to catch underneath the ice sheet, we are normally only looking for the aggressive biters. Most holes that we drill have fish underneath them and we can see them on the electronics, but if they don't bite right away, we call them sniffers and move on to the next hole. The fish that we are looking for are the ones that as soon as you drop a jig down there, one will come screaming right to it and either hit it right away or after a little jigging coaxing, they generally will bite then. The sniffers that we leave behind we will go back every now and then as at some point they may or will turn on and become aggressive as well. The way that we move around, we only catch a fish or two out of a hole unless we are getting to a time, especially before dark, when they become very aggressive and we may not leave that hole as the fish keep replenishing themselves. There are times when color does matter but if you are only looking for the aggressive fish, it may not matter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ice Fishing New Hampshire 3/9/14

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


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ice Fishing Massachusetts 3/8/14

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…


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ice Fishing New Hampshire 3/2/14

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...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ice Fishing Massachusetts 3/1/14

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...