Pond fishing can be a great confidence builder for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Children love ponds because of the generally higher concentration of cooperative fish like Bluegill. Experienced anglers also use ponds to test out unfamiliar baits or techniques. Because of the limited time on safe ice, ice fishing ponds are a great way to remove rust from ice fishing gear.
The ice should be at least 2 inches long to hold an angler. So don’t be too worried about venturing out into the cold. Let the ice grow for a while, then proceed with caution. A life jacket, ice ax, and a buddy adventurous enough to brave the cold are some of the smart ice fishing tips.
Your local ice fishing prospect doesn’t have to be very great. Every fish is fun through the ice, especially if you have a bit of cabin fever. You may be pleasantly surprised by the ponds that usually pass by when looking for larger fish in warmer times.
It’s a good idea to downsize when ice fishing with thinner, lighter fishing lines and smaller hooks. Traditionally, the best bait for bass, whether through the ice or not, is a minnow like a string-head minnow or a shimmer of gold. If you can’t find these at your local ice fishing bait store, there is a high chance there are night crawlers in the owner’s fridge for a respectable Plan B.
Electronics are helpful in knowing where to fish, especially in larger bodies of water, but it really isn’t that far for ice fishing ponds for fish to move. First, drop the bait into the deepest tank. Fish are often grouped together in deep water. However, they can be suspended from the bottom so that you can present your bait at different depths in the water column. Once a bite is detected, track the exact depth. This can be achieved with a bobber stop or by counting the number of revolutions on the reel.
Ponds are relatively shallower than lakes. So if you drill holes, the noise can scare fish. Patience is important because even when you are in the right spots for ice fishing, noisy gas powered or even grinding hand powered ice snails can keep the fish close to your lips. As with tips on fishing in open water ponds, sometimes you just need to let the fish rest and recover. If the fish are in a bad mood at first, you may be calm to visit the holes after using another piece of ice fishing pond equipment: a thermos of hot chocolate.
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After graduating with a degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and the US state of Michigan.