A Few Tips on Ice Fishing in CT

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Hi and happy 2015 to all of our readers! Inevitably, the holiday cheer wears off and the party atmosphere dies down as we get further from Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day and into the actual new year. Once this happens, we all suddenly remember how cold it is. However, there’s no reason that should get your spirits down. A brisk cold January in Connecticut is one of the best environments for ice fishing one could ever hope for.

This article has something to offer to all of Connecticut’s winter anglers, whether they be ice fishing veterans looking for some new tips or somebody completely new to this fun and exciting winter sport. We’ll talk a little about safety, legal regulations, fishing methods, drilling methods, what types of fish to look for, and most importantly, where some of the best ice fishing spots in CT are located.

First and foremost, if you’re going to go ice fishing, you’re going to need a license. If you try doing it without one, you might end up as the catch of the day… for the police. You might want to visit this link to refresh your knowledge of CT fishing license rules and regulations.

With that said, we’ll now get into the safety end of things. When going ice fishing, or doing anything else on the ice, you want to be sure that the ice will be thick and firm enough to support your weight. Generally speaking, if you’re going fishing alone and don’t have a tremendous amount of heavy gear, 4 inches of  ice thickness is the minimum to ensure safety. If you’ll be bringing along a friend or two, you’ll want to be sure the ice is at least 7 inches thick1. You’ll also want to be careful if there’s snow on top of the ice. This is important for two reasons. For one thing, snow may cover holes dug by fishermen who were there before you, creating a very obvious hidden hazard. The second issue when it comes to snow is that if it’s thick enough, it will prevent the cold air from reaching the ice and will actually weaken and in some cases, possibly even melt the ice below. This is why it’s a good idea to hold off on ice fishing in the beginning or end stages of the season.

It’s also very important to know the water you’re fishing in. If you’re fishing somewhere where there exists a strong current below the ice, you’ll want to know in what direction in flows. This can be crucial to survival should you fall through the ice. You’ll also want to wear warm wool clothing, as this will provide the maximum insulation effect that could mean the difference between a cold swim and hypothermia. If you happen to fall into waters that are calm and shallow, your best bet for staying safe is to do your best to remain upright. If the water is deep and shallow, try to fall at a horizontal angle so that you can catch the ice on your way down and not sink below, or at the worst, be able to pull yourself out more easily.  Just two more additional tips are to avoid marshy areas with lots of plants as they can give off heat which will weaken the ice, and to always remember that even from miles away, movement from boats can affect the state of the ice.

Now that you know how to stay safe, it’s time to move on to the actual ice fishing. It’s always a good idea to ask around at a local bait shop or sports shop to get the lowdown on what fish are in the area, who’s biting, and where the best local spots for ice fishing are located. Once you have this information, place a call to the area where you plan to fish (if possible, such as if it’s located in a state park or something similar) and make sure the conditions are safe.

Once you’ve made it to your destination, it’s now time to get down to the actual ice fishing. When you’re certain the ice is thick and strong enough and you’ve swept away excess snow that might be covering other fishing holes, it’s a good time to try to figure out where you want to dig yours. When it comes to boring holes in the ice for fishing, an augur will be your best friend. There are many different types you can use, ranging from manual to gasoline-powered and even electric. More or less, your choice of augur will be the result of a debate regarding cost vs convenience. You’ll want to drill multiple holes, usually 2-4, and ideally, the water should be around 15 feet deep, though this is not highly crucial2.

After your holes have been prepared, it’s at long last time to let the fishing begin. For best results, you’ll want to use a brightly colored jig with some form of bait when you lower your line into the water. You’ll also want to make sure there aren’t sharp shards of ice floating around, as these can easily tear your line and put an early end to your day. You’ll want to lower your jig as close to the bottom of the water as you can and to jiggle it in a horizontal fashion. This helps it to serve as a decoy to attract a fish looking for an easy meal. Then just wait for a bit and reel your catch in. Once you get to this stage, the technique required won’t really be any different from that employed in any other kind of fishing.

In terms of jigs and bait, you’ll want to use both horizontal and vertical jigs, as some fish will only go for one or the other. Look into the hole as you’re fishing if possible to see how the fish are interacting with the bait and jigs. This will allow you to glean information that will prove useful in yielding a higher catch. If the water you’re fishing in is on the shallow side, try covering the hole with snow and use a glow-in-the-dark jig. This will give you an extra advantage in fooling the fish below3. In regard to bait, a good, old-fashioned night crawler will usually be able to get the job done, but you might also want to consider dumping some chum into the water before you first cast your line. Chum generally will consist of worms, minnows, and other small fish that are crushed up and then dumped into the water. This will quickly attract fish and give you a much greater chance of reeling one in.

When you’re ice fishing in Connecticut, the following are some of the fish that you’ll be most likely to encounter: Trout, Bass, Atlantic Salmon, Walleye, Panfish, and Northern Pike. If the Northern Pike is the fish you have in mind, you’ll want to use heavier and sharper hooks than what you may normally use while ice fishing.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basic things you need to know in order to enjoy successful ice fishing, we’ll now give you a list of some of the best fishing spots in the CT Shoreline counties to conduct your ice fishing in. Note that some of these locations may not be open during the ice fishing season, but are still great fishing destinations throughout the rest of the year. Click here to see the best ice fishing locations in Northern Connecticut as well.

Middlesex County

  • Bashan Lake – East Haddam
  • Beseck Lake – Middlefield
  • Black Pond – Middlefield
  • Cedar Lake – Chester
  • Chatfield Hollow – Killingworth
  • Crystal Lake – Middletown
  • Dooley Pond – Middletown
  • Great Hill Pond – Portland
  • Lake Hayward – East Haddam
  • Higganum  Reservoir – Haddam
  • Messerschmidt Pond – Deep River/Westbrook
  • Miller’s Pond – Durham
  • Mitchell Pond – East Haddam
  • Moodus Reservoir – East Haddam
  • Pattaconk Lake – Chester
  • Lake Pocotopaug- East Haddam
  • Rowan’s Pond – Middletown4

New London County

  • Amos Lake – Preston
  • Anderson Pond – North Stonington
  • Ashland Pond – Griswold
  • Avery Pond – Preston
  • Aspinook Pond – Griswold
  • Babcock Pond – Colchester
  • Beach Pond – Voluntown
  • Beachdale Point – Voluntown
  • Billings Lake – North Stonington
  • Day Pond – Colchester
  • Dodge Pond – East Lyme
  • Fitchville Pond – Bozrah
  • Gardner Lake – Salem
  • Glasgo Pond- Preston
  • Green Falls Reservoir – Voluntown
  • Hallville Pond – Preston
  • Hanover Reservoir – Sprague
  • Hewitt Flyfishing Pond – North Stonington
  • Hodge Pond – Voluntown
  • Hopeville Pond – Griswold
  • Horse Pond – Salem
  • Hyde Pond – Ledyard
  • Lake of Isles – North Stonington
  • Lantern Hill Pond – Ledyard
  • Long Pond – Ledyard
  • Norwich Pond – Lyme
  • Pachaug Pond – Griswold
  • Pattagansett Lake – East Lyme
  • Pickerell Lake – Colchester
  • Rogers Lake – Old Lyme
  • Red Cedar Lake – Lebanon
  • Powers Lake – East Lyme
  • Savin Lake – Lebanon
  • Sawmill Park Pond – Ledyard
  • Taftville Reservoir – Norwich
  • Taftville Pond – Lisbon
  • Uncas Lake – Lyme
  • Williams Pond – Lebanon
  • Wyassup Lake- North Stonington
  • Zemko Pond – Salem4

New Haven County

  • Allen Brook Pond – Wallingford
  • Baldwin’s Pond – Meriden
  • Baummer Pond – Naugatuck
  • Beaver Park Lagoon – New Haven
  • Branford Supply Pond – Branford
  • Lake Chamberlain – Bethany
  • City Hall Pond – Milford
  • Clark’s Pond – Hamden
  • Colony Pond – Ansonia
  • Edgewood Park Pond – New Haven
  • Hanover Pond – Meriden
  • Hop Brook Lake – Middlebury
  • Lake Housatonic – Derby
  • Lakewood Lake – Waterbury
  • Lower Fulton Park Pond – Waterbury
  • Maltby Lakes – Orange
  • McGrath Park Pond – Prospect
  • Mirror Lake – Meriden
  • North Farms Reservoir – Wallingford
  • Papermill Pond – Oxford
  • Pickett’s Pond – Derby
  • Lake Quassapog – Woodbury/Middlebury
  • Quilliman Reservoir – Ansonia
  • Quonnipaug Lake – Guilford
  • Lake Saltsonstall – Branford/East Haven
  • Scoville Reservoir – Wolcott
  • Silver Lake – Meriden
  • Sochrin Pond – Seymour
  • Southland Falls Pond – Oxford
  • Lake Stibbs – Southbury
  • Upper Fulton Park Pond – Waterbury
  • Wards Millpond – Branford
  • Wharton Pond – Wallingford
  • Lake Wintergreen – Hamden4

Fairfield County

  • Lake Zoar – Monroe
  • Ball Pond – New Fairfield
  • Bunnell’s Pond – Bridgeport
  • Candlewood Lake – Brookfield/Danbury
  • Factory Pond – Redding/Wilton
  • Gould Manor Pond – Fairfield
  • Helen Keller School Pond – Easton
  • Lake Housatonic – Shelton
  • Huntington Pond – Redding
  • Kaatz Pond – Trumbull
  • Lake Kenosia – Danbury
  • Lake Lillinonah – Brookfield
  • Mamanasco Lake – Ridgefield
  • Mohegan Lake – Fairfield
  • Mudge Pond – Sharon
  • Nells Rock Reservoir – Shelton
  • Pierpoint Pond – Ridgefield
  • Pine Lake – Shelton
  • Saugatuck Reservoir – Easton/Redding/Weston
  • Squantz Pond – Sherman/New Fairfield
  • Tollgate Pond – Greenwich
  • Twin Brooks Park Pond – Trumbull
  • Warner Pond – Newtown
  • West Pequonnock Reservoir – Monroe4

 

Works Cited

1. Author Unavailable
http://www.lakelink.com/icefishing/IceFishingSafety.cfm/

2. Condos 12345
WikiHow.com
http://www.wikihow.com/Ice-Fish/

Ryan, Steve
Ten Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques
LakeLink.com
http://www.lakelink.com/articles/read/article.cfm/264/Ten-Ice-Fishing-Tips-and-Techniques/

4. Author Unavailable
Lakes and Ponds
ConnecticutAnglersGuide.com
http://www.eregulations.com/connecticut/fishing/lakes-ponds/

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