By Darren Hong
Are you tired of fish escaping you during the winter season? Look no further! This guide will help you capture those slippery fiends in no time!
First, you must gather the gear required to begin your adventure. I would recommend metal cleats, for traction on ice. An ice auger is great for checking the density of the ice in front of you is vital to prevent falling into frigid water and drilling the hole required to fish. To prepare for the worst, you should bring a life vest, to avoid drowning if you were unfortunate enough to fall into the water. A whistle is also recommended, in order to call for help, especially if you are traveling with companions. The environment is inhospitable without multiple layers of clothing. For the actual fishing, you’ll need a jigging rod, spring bobber, hooks, and lures.
Once you have your supplies, you’ll need to find your fishing spot. During the early season of winter, fish will continue to feed where they started in the warmer seasons, so marking the area before the lake freezes will help greatly. If you haven’t prepared, you can try fishing near the deepest shoreline, which is where larger fish may go to feed.
Now that you’ve found your spot, begin drilling with auger. Create a hole about 8 to 10 inches wide, which should be big enough for fish, but small enough so that people can’t fall in.
The most common method is jigging with a spring bobber. For live bait, you can use minnows, maggots, or wax worms. Using artificial baits also works fine. The spring bobber will be more sensitive than a standard bobber. Once you feel a tug, you can begin reeling in your fish.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of ice fishing, you may be wondering what locations are available in your area. In Maryland, the two most popular sites are Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County and Rocky Gap State Park in Allegany County. Before fishing, remember to check your area's regulations and licenses required to ice fish. Happy fishing!