Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
January 27, 2014

Andy Whitcomb

Old Ice Holes

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There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.  Or in this case, a circular hole in the ice. Winter’s fish portal.

An abandoned hole in the ice might be obscured with blowing snow and refrozen partially, so look closely and watch your step.  Sometimes, you might even discover a hole that still has open water.  Often holes are drilled with a gas powered auger or chainsaw. If done in shallow water, this noise will spook fish.  Anglers sometimes allow holes to “rest” for this reason so may return; keep this in mind before fishing any unoccupied hole.  But even without wetting a line, there may be some useful clues and information from an old ice hole.

1) What is the ice depth and type of ice? You want at least 4 inches of ice to stay safe.  Fishermen are known to exaggerate some measurements but this isn’t one of them.

2) Are there signs that the previous anglers reeled up vegetation? Edges of vegetation can be a great location.

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3) Have you noticed any dead fish under the ice? Shallow areas with lots of decomposing vegetation, coupled with heavy snow cover can mean oxygen depletion. Fish will move deeper, so should you.

4) Is there evidence of successful catches, such as scales? Did they spill any sawdust bedding from using waxworms for bait? Where they there long? Is there a big pile of sunflower seeds?

5) Even if you don’t plan on ice fishing, take note of where most of the holes are drilled.  According to Mark Zona, host of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, the location of greatest ice fishing activity is evidence where the bluegill are located.  Where there are bluegill, there are bass. So, he starts fishing these locations when the ice leaves.

Not that some of us are looking forward to Spring.

 

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.

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Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”. One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”... To the point it could be classified as borderline illness. Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie." Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up. Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US. He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well... And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.                                                                                Find out about the rest of Take Me Fishing Blog Authors.

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2 Responses to “Old Ice Holes”

  1. […] featureless body of water. I have a lot to learn about reading electronics but for my unit, unless ice fishing or the kids need something to watch between bites, I try not to be distracted by those pixilated […]

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