The Return of Ice Fishing

by Dan Kenney

The ice fishing season and 2018 are off to a tremendous start! With record low temperatures for a solid two and a half weeks, most lakes and ponds in New England are locked up solid. In fact, we just had the coldest seven-day period in the last 100 years.

I guess we can forget about global warming.

In all seriousness though, I was super excited for the cold weather because I was able to get out on the ice a couple times this season, even before the New Year. That usually doesn’t happen for me, partly because each winter I’m spending so much time running the New England Fishing & Outdoor Expo, and partly because the last few winters just haven’t been very cold.

But this is 2018. All signs point to an epic season.

All the ice fishing groups on Facebook, websites like, and of course everyone in my social network is reporting very good fishing, with plenty of photos to prove it. I’ve seen guys in Massachusetts & Maine pulling in monster pike and bass, folks in New Hampshire bringing in crappie perch and bass, and even some Connecticut guys on Candlewood Lake and the Connecticut River getting in on the action. I recently saw a guy posted a photo of a keeper-size striped bass from the Connecticut River. Now that’ll spool you in a hurry!

If you haven’t tried ice fishing lately—or ever— it can actually be super fun, even if it sounds like a crazy idea. Half of what makes it great is everything that goes on around the fishing. You can get a group of friends together, set up traps, sit on a bucket jigging, eat breakfast, lunch or dinner on your portable stove (preferably some perch or crappie for lunch), and build a small fire to keep warm. In this day and age of improved shelters, portable heaters, and high quality socks, boots, gloves, ski pants and winter jackets, there aren’t a lot of good reasons to keep you from having a great day on the ice.

That being said, whether you’re new to the sport or you’re someone who’s been doing it for a while, I still recommend getting ahold of an experienced fishing guide and spending a day with him or her. You can learn so much about proper ice fishing setups, ice safety, flashers, jigging and trap fishing. I’m sure that well known guides like Tim Moore from New Hampshire, Richard Yvon from Maine, Paul Mueller from Connecticut and Patrick Barone from Massachusetts are all really happy with the early ice fishing season. If you contact one of them, you’ll be learning from experts who rely on recreational anglers for their business, so it’s definitely a win-win for all.

As I previously mentioned I haven’t been able to get out on the ice much since taking over the Expo a few years ago. But I assure you the day the 2018 Expo is over, I’ll be ice fishing throughout February and hopefully into March!

Good luck with your ice fishing season and please do remember that safety comes first! Always check ice conditions, always keep an eye on the weather and always wear ice picks.

Be smart, have fun and maybe I’ll see you out on the ice in 2018.

Until then, God Bless and Go Fish!


Dan is an avid angler and host of the television show “Go Fish with Dan Kenney.” The television program airs via the Charter Spectrum network and is seen on YouTube at Dan also runs the New England Fishing & Outdoor Expo. Dan wears Typhoon polarized sunglasses on all of his fishing adventures.