Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The First Stripers of 2018

I'd not fished in 9 days. That amount of time off the water is no good! But it has been legitimately too cold to ice fish here on a significant number of days. But yesterday it got above freezing for a little while, so Noah and I went out to see if we could get the first stripers of the year. We would have to target them in a fairly unusual way. We would have to target them through the ice.

There are only a handful of places in CT where catching striped bass through the ice is possible. It takes a pretty unusual mix of conditions to be able to ice fish for holdover bass. Water salinity, current, ocean temperature, river temperature, spring water temperature, wind, air temperature, tide, cloud cover, and where fish are holding is all important. There are places with holdover stripers that rarely freeze over. There are places with holdover stripers that freeze, but aren't safe. The number of places with safe ice and holdover stripers, then, is a minority. But they do exist and we were on one of them. Other people had been there in the previous days so we didn't have to drill, we just broke into recently crusted over holes. Two other guys were already there, and they seemed to be in the sweet spot. It took Noah trying a bunch of holes to find the stripers, but we eventually did.

We both caught our first fish of the year, our first fish through the ice, and they we a fish that really isn't a traditional ice fishing target species. But It was a bit anti climactic. These fish were very, very cold. They were colder than the freezing point of fresh water. They were so cold that the fight they normally have was just not there. Set the hook and two seconds later they were in the hole. It felt a bit mean So, this is the first time I ice fished for striped bass, and unless I get desperate it will probably be my last.


  1. Very interesting way to fish, but for me, I don't like fishing on ice. I can only feel good about fishing when I'm swinging a rod to get a good drift. Love the cold birds.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. That eliminates an awful lot of exciting fishing.