Ice Fishing? Why not? We have lots of solid ice on ponds and lakes now in Virginia and believe it or not, fish will bite even in these frigid temperatures.
I had an opportunity to go ice fishing with the late Bob Gooch in a small lake near Manassas a few years back. Bob knew a fellow from Wisconsin who was an avid ice fisherman. He had augers and spikes and shovels and readily made several fishing holes in the ice. I wasn’t very optimistic, but within minutes I had a tiny nibble that turned into a nice crappie and soon we were into all sorts of fish – bass, pickerel, crappie and some nice bluegills.
I think the secret to ice fishing is that fish are drawn to the light created by the hole in the ice and if a bait is dangled before them, they’ll eat it. We used maggots and mealworms for bait, both readily available at pet stores. We also used very short rods, only a couple feet long and fairly light line. The bites were barely perceptible and because of the extremely cold water, none of the fish put up much of a battle. We tossed our catch in a pile on the ice and they froze quickly.
They say you need at least 6-inches of solid ice for safe ice fishing and I don’t think that will be a problem with our frigid conditions this week.
Ice fishing? Why not?
Icy Conditions on Potomac
The Potomac is getting icy, says Capt. Chaconas. Warm water discharge areas will be the best bet, but getting the boat into the water might be tough with icy ramps.
There is, however, a shore fishing location with a good opportunity to hook into a variety of species. The water in Four Mile Run in Alexandria can be into the 40s. The key is light line, long casts and fishing slowly. Spool with 6-pound Gamma Edge on a fast Quantum Smoke spinning reel and 7’ rod with these baits: Lucky Craft Pointer 78 suspending jerkbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, and 4 inch stick worms, grubs and hair jigs.
Water will be warmer on outgoing tides and fish will be more active all the way to the creek mouth. Longer pauses are usually best.
Dress warmly and drink a lot of fluids. Dehydration can happen in the winter too!