If you happen to be in the Northeast part of the country today, you may have noticed that it’s snowing. A lot! So as we sat here trying to keep warm, we started to think about what cool things we could do if we loaded up a trailer and decided to embrace the hand mother nature has dealt us. Fishing is a pretty common activity amongst the RVing and camping communities, but how about ice fishing? Most people want to snuggle up under warm covers during the winter months, especially when we get weather like this. But not us! We’re outdoors people for crying out loud! And for that reason, we’ll take a look at great places to ice fish in the Northeast, the basics of setting up your ice fishing location, tactics for catching fish, and some of the things you’ll need to have a successful trip.
First, being the travel enthusiasts that we are, we’ll need to find a few locations we can make a trip out of. Here are four great spots to ice fish in the Northeast part of the country.
– Presque Isle Bay in Erie, PA (http://www.presqueisle.org/). Presque Isle is a great place to catch panfish, perch, bass, walleye, crappies, and several other species of fish.
– Lake Winnipesaukee at Ellacoya State Park in New Hampshire (http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/ellacoya-state-park.aspx). *Quick note: Do yourself a favor and give yourself a pat on the back if you immediately thought of “What About Bob?” when reading the words ‘Lake Winnipesaukee’. While you won’t find Bob Wiley or Dr. Leo Marvin here, you will find whitefish, brook trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, and more.
– Lake Champlian in New York (http://www.lakechamplainregion.com/recreation/outdoors/ice-fishing). This 120 mile long lake boasts some of the best ice fishing you can do in the whole country. Get setup in the shanty village and catch salmon, lake trout, perch, and bluegills.
– Lakeside Lodge on Long Lake in Sinclair, ME. (http://www.mainelakesidelodge.com/fishing/icefishing.html). If you like fishing for trout, this is the place for you. Although, the trout aren’t huge here, there’s plenty of them to make for an exciting ice fishing trip.
Second, we’ll need to setup shop. This isn’t like regular fishing where you plop down a chair and a cooler and cast your line off. This is ice fishing where there’s real work involved! You’ll need to dig out a hole in the ice so you can drop a line. Depending on the thickness of the ice, you’ll need either a spud or an auger. A spud, or a chisel, is a better choice if the ice isn’t super thick. If you happen to be fishing in a spot where the ice is very thick, you’ll need to use an auger to drill through the ice. Once you’ve created your fishing hole, make sure to clear any excess ice and slush away with a skimmer so your reel doesn’t get caught when you have a fish on the line. If it’s super cold and there’s not a shanty available for you to rent where you’re fishing, then you may want to consider getting an ice shelter to hang out in while you’re out there.
Now that we know where we’re going and have a hole dug out, we may want to actually consider catching some fish. Make sure to bring a variety of jig lures and live bait. Believe it or not, fish can catch on (see what we did there?) to the type of bait you’re using when they see it over and over again and start spitting it out once they swallow it or just ignore it all together. In order to prevent this “bait fatigue”, make sure to pack plenty of jigs and change them up periodically. Small, large, different colors, vertical, horizontal, whatever you can get your hands on. Also, don’t move your jig around too much because the fish may start to see your bait as too much of a chore to chase down. To prevent this, use a tip up, which will allow your line to stay relatively still and will alert you when a fish is on the hook by having a flag pop up. Check out this video for an example on how to set up your tip up on your fishing hole. If you happen to be fishing in shallow water, make sure not to let too much sun get into the hole. The bright light can potentially scare the fish away.
Hopefully this article will not only be useful if you do decide to go ice fishing one day, but more importantly we hope that as a RV and camping enthusiast you’ll be open to new experiences and ways to hook the trailer up and go enjoy nature!
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