Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back In The Saddle

Ice fishermen are once again venturing on frozen Connecticut lakes and ponds. This has been a trying season so far for hardwater fanatics in the Nutmeg State, but finally there is at least a short list of places to take part in our favorite winter hobby. With Mother Nature being very indecisive lately, take full advantage of "safe ice" while it lasts. 

The start to our first trip of 2012 was met with extreme cold. There was a stiff north wind that blasted us in the face on the walk to our chosen destination. It was 12 below zero after factoring wind chill when setting up in pitch black. Hand-warmers stashed in our pockets helped bring our fingers back to life after each bone-chilling task. The roomy shelter and propane heaters also came up big, as did the 30-year old Coleman grill that cooked our breakfast and lunch. 

It is late January now, well past when we'd normally be first walking on water, so how that plays into typical early-ice action is yet to be determined. Whatever the case, the fishing was good overall for our inaugural weekend considering the species and the stingy location. Between four anglers, we lowered down two dozen large dead baits with hopes for some cooperative northern pike. They did not disappoint with some very respectable pike caught and released.

My first iced fish of 2012 (photo credit: Aaron Swanson)

Back down the hole (photo credit: Aaron Swanson)

Prepping for first kielbasa, egg & cheese sandwich of the season!

Chef Swanson manning the Coleman on a brisk morning.

Derrick Kirkpatrick of CT Fish Guides with a nice 38-inch pike that had a huge head.

A good fishing buddy and old colleague made the trek from New Jersey to join us. Matt drove through the night and met us in the parking lot an hour and a half before sunrise. Every time that we hit the ice together he seems to land memorable fish. Over the years, Matt has put in many hours on this body of water so it was great finally seeing her give back a little. He landed a 38-inch northern around lunch time, his largest ever from the lake. Not long afterwards, he topped it with a heavier pike of the same length from the same hole!  It capped off a trifecta of 38-inch pike for the first weekend of the 2012 ice fishing season - not a bad start!

Matt with his first 38-inch pike of the day.

The release shot

Matt with his second and heavier 38-incher of the outing.

Not a bad scene to walk off the ice with.


  1. Great Post. I haven't ice fished since I was in my teens. I know that body of water pretty well and have had some nice days there out of the yak. Those pictures have me contemplating on getting back on the hard stuff. Nice

  2. Thanks, Rich. You should join us on the hardwater sometime, especially when we target trout.

  3. nice to see a hard water report. Way to get out and enjoy it.

  4. Kierran,

    I'd love to. Keep me posted. Hopefully the ice sticks around for a while, the weather this winter has been so all over the place.