With the recent cold nights we’ve had, ice fishing has finally kicked off, but mainly on the Pocono Mountain area lakes and ponds.
According to Willie from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, most of his customers are hitting Promised Land Lake where there’s about five inches of ice, especially at Pickerel Point where some crappies and bluegills are being pulled up. On Promised Land Lower Lake, ice anglers are nailing trout that were stocked there.
Elsewhere, Willie said Mud Pond, off Route 402, did have five inches of ice as did Lake Minisink. Both were producing panfish mostly on waxworms and fathead minnows. As for Leaser Lake, it held skim ice mainly in the coves.
Mike, at Mike’s Bait & Tackle in Nazareth, also reports Promised Land Upper Lake was fishing good for nice bluegills, crappie and perch, mostly all on waxworms. The lake had 6-7 inches of ice depending on what part of the lake you were on. The Lower Lake there was good, but you have to be right on them according to Mikes’ customers who fished there last week.
Minisink Lake was iffy with five inches of ice at one section that diminishes to three inches elsewhere. Certainly not safe to fish. Gouldsboro Lake was producing some trout and pickerel and Tobyhanna Lake predominately gave up panfish. Brady’s Lake was yielding mostly little dinks but the action seemed better by the island.
For veteran and even novice ice anglers, the folks at Frabill, who specialize in ice fishing equipment, offers these tips for more productive days on the ice.
Playing the odds they say, is a tip all the pro ice anglers speak about in one way or another. This also coincides with the mobility tip.
Typically, anglers will start in shallow water in the morning and move deeper throughout the day. This is a reliable method but can have its disadvantages as well. When every ice angler in the area is drilling holes up shallow where the fish have already staged, the odds of spooking them to deeper water increases. And vice versa, as the day extends and anglers are chasing the fish to deeper water they may also be moving them back to shallow water where there is less pressure.
A key to this thought is to stay stealthy, don't move when they move. Stay a step ahead of them and be patient as they will come to you, say the Frabill pros. Be strategic when picking your locations and plan for the entire day of fishing. You may start the day in 10'-15' foot of water in the morning, but slip over to deeper water (30') close by. Staying mobile is the key, suggests Frabill, as it will only take a few minutes to get back to other spots for when the conditions are right.
Frabill believes ice fishing is rapidly growing due to the relatively low cost of entry and the ability to involve the entire family for a great day spent outdoors during the winter.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.