Ice-Fishing in New England

Ice-Fishing in New England

By Dan Kenney


Never tried ice-out fishing? Well, this is when the big fish come out to play after months of being trapped under the ice.

Long story short, it’s time to get out on the water! That’s exactly what my good friends Aaron Orsi and Andrew Stidson did when they dropped their little plastic jon boat into a local lake. There were still chunks of ice floating around and they were able to pull a half-doz- en largemouth bass in the three to five pound range and another ten under two pounds.

Regardless of when ice-out time starts in your neck of the woods, it can be a great experience. I’ve had incredible fishing adventures from Maine to South Dakota. After living with a roof over
their heads for essentially three months, fish are enjoy- ing the extra oxygen in the water caused by swollen rivers pumping in run-off and wind whipped waves which makes a great formula for catching some hogs.

And trust me, those hogs are ready to binge eat!

Of course, the weather’s never perfect so you need to plan ahead. Apparel is critical for dealing with conditions that can change daily or even hourly. I’ve always been a proponent of layer- ing up with proper moisture wicking socks and undergarments and fleece or wool pants and jackets. With the kind of fabric technology we have these days there are great companies like Frogg Toggs with products like the Pilot II Guide Jacket. The Pi-
lot II protects you from all of the rain and wind and also comes with a zip-down liner jacket.

Most importantly, don’t get out on the water without a new and reliable PFD. With water temperatures hovering in the 30s or low 40s it liter- ally takes minutes for you to be in major trouble or, to put it bluntly, dead.

So don’t be a statistic—take the right safety measures first. Once you have your gear in order though, the ice-out world is your oyster. Think of it like this: we’ve been adhering to the strictest diet imaginable through the winter, not being allowed to eat steak, chicken, pasta, pizza or chocolate cake for three months. Then all the sudden we’re invited to a buffet of epic proportions.

And you guessed it—we’re going to eat until we get sick. In a way, our favorite under- water friends probably feel the same way. They’ve had a tough go under ice cover but now there are dazzling morsels of food freely swimming in front of their faces. Boom! Fish on!!

So if you haven’t enjoyed ice-out fishing yet, don’t let the cold stop you. Don’t wait until a perfect sunny day in June or July because you’ll miss out on some of the best fishing and the biggest fish of the year.

Instead, get out on the water and celebrate the end of winter on a pond or lake near you.


Until then, God Bless and Go Fish!