Massachusetts > Ice Fishing Massachusetts

Season Wrap Up

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I had my heart set on getting out one last time in April this year (something I haven't been able to do since 2019.

So, yesterday, after the rain in the morning ended, I did some scouting on three hilltown ponds (Dukes, Plainfield and K of C) in my neck of the woods and was pleasantly surprised by how well the ice held up on the first two of them.

So, Mogli and his girlfriend and I made plans to try Dukes this morning.

It was a beautiful day - - sunny, with blue skies, but comparatively cold temperatures (low to mid 30's all day), and only a mild breeze.

Unfortunately, when we got to Dukes Pond, we foud the ice conditions had deteriorated far more than we  had expected - - and, when we checked, it was the same story with Plainfield.

This was an unpleasant surprise because, although it admittedly got unseasonably warm yesterday (60 degrees at one point here in the valley), last night's temperatures got down into the 20's, so we were hopeful - - but, alas, our hopes were dashed.

Rolling with the punches, we decided to give Burnett's Pond in the Savoy State Forest a try - - and, fortunately, when we walked down the hill (which was itself a bit of an ordeal due to the heavy snow), we found that the ice conditions to be far better (although still not ideal).

So, after walking back up the hill to the parking lot and hauling our gear back down to the Pond, we finally started setting up around 11 AM.

We were encouraged early on, when I had a decent strike while jigging (but lost it at the lower edge of the hole), and then Mogli had a series of "bump" flags (where the fish would take the bait for a couple inches and then drop it).

But, oddly, as the day progressed, the fish exhibited lock jaw - - no more strikes on the jig, and only more "bump" flags on the tip up.

On the plus side, we had a helluva lunch - - cheeseburgers with kimchi, hash browns, Indian food (alloo mutter and chana masala), apples, cocoa roasted almonds, some home-made white wine (a dandelion, gooseberry, peach and pear blend), a pot of hot coffeee and home-made chocolate turtles for dessert.

In addition, we spotted some kind of hawk (possibly an osprey) circling the Pond, and a bald eagle even made an appearance at one point - - which is the first time I can recall ever seeing one there.

Unfortunately, as the day progressed, the "water" layer in between the "top" and "bottom" layers of ice started to undermine the crust that we were standing on - - and, although the top layer of ice itself remained firm, we would periodically "drop down" into about 4 or 5 inches of water, which (when I tested the edges in my chest waders) turned out to be about a foot of water closer to the shore.

So, after Mogli's girlfriend landed a respectable (16") pickerel on a tip up a little before 3 PM, we decided discretion was the better part of valor, picked up our gear and cautiously made our way to the shore.

Fortunately, we were able to make our way back to terra firma with a minimum of wet feet - - although doing so required us to cut to shore several dozen yards away from the path.

So then we had to bushwhack through the wooods before intersecting the path. 

As we did so, sometimes the crust of the snow would hold our weight, but at other times, it wouldn't, and then we would plunge anywhere from up to our ankles to up to our knees.

Eventually, we made it back to the parking lot and drove home.

But the day wasn't over for me - - the heavy snow gave me an idea, so after getting home and dropping off my ice fishing gear, I loaded up my car with my cross country skiis and drove back to the Savoy State Forest for a brisk 45 minute circuiit.

As I skiied, the moon was in front of me and the sun behind me on my way out, while the position of the two celestial bodies reversed on my way back.  (I don't know why, but for some reason that fact struck me as significant at the time).

Needless to say, I will sleep well tonight.

All in all, a pretty good season. 

I managed to ice fish from 12/22/22 through 04/02/23.

Along the way I explored 15 different ponds and caught 10 different species. 

I also had some memorable meals, enjoyable sessions of skiing and skating, and good company.

Well done, Jim. Another season of great reports.

Thanks for all the posts……enjoyed reading them!!!

Steve H.:
Thanks for all your detailed posts.  Very nice to read and get a glimpse of what ice fishing is like in an area of Massachusetts that I seldom see.

Great year Jim.  Always appreciate your posts, especially the meals.


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