Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Day - 2013

Last weekend, I could have gone ice-fishing.  I had the time, my gear was ready...I just simply chose not to. Very weird!

But I did go ice-fishing yesterday (New Year's Day).  I visited a public pond in town that I had not ice-fished before.  I had fly-fished it during open water, and thought I knew where the fish would be holding.  I was wrong.  Since I marked no fish at the first 5 spots I tried (4'-7' deep), I decided the fish must be in the deeper water.

Turned out the fish were scattered in small groups or singles, and constantly on the move.  They were in 10'-14' of water.

I drew a nice fish in using a jigging spoon, but it just followed the spoon up and down without striking.  I switched to a tungsten jig tipped with a Gulp! Waxworm.  Live waxworms and maggots are great ice-fishing bait, but over the last couple of years, I've determined to weed myself off the crutch of using live bait, even during ice-fishing.  I've discovered live bait isn't necessary, even during the tough conditions of winter.

I fished about 4.5 hours, and most of the time was spent waiting for the next group of fish to show up.  If they didn't show up for 10-15 minutes, I would move to another location.  I ended up landing at least 14 Bluegills (biggest I measured was a fat 8-incher, and all were really close to that length).

I also caught one crappie, which was cool, because I'd just caught one crappie during the open-water season here...and supposedly they were never stocked here.  I also caught a largemouth bass of about 12", and lost another just below the hole that looked considerably larger.

I discovered that releasing a fish back into the hole would immediately make the small group of fish beneath my ice-hole disappear.  I could NEVER catch more than one fish from any group of fish.  So, one time I tried just putting the landed fish on the ice until the group moved away, to see if it made a difference.  That time, I caught about 6 fish from the group before it moved on.

There were a LOT of Canadian Geese flying around most of the morning!

Also, the ice was a very safe 7" thick everywhere I measured.  Air temp started out in the morning at around 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and was supposed to reach 17 degrees F (I never checked to verify that).

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