Author Topic: First Ice Intelligence?  (Read 2086 times)

Offline FishingFredrik

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First Ice Intelligence?
« on: Nov 16, 2022, 02:24 PM »
For those of you who are suffering from ice fever like I am, and at the beginning of each season don't mind driving some distance for the first ice, what are the fishable ponds and lakes that tend to freeze over first?

Thanks,
Fred
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline Dipstick

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 16, 2022, 07:08 PM »
    Fred,
No location on your profile,but posting in NH. So, guessing that you are in the area. More specifics on where you want to travel would help. Honestly, on here most people have their own definition of safe ice. There have been issues in the past about folks posting "safe ice" (4" for walking) and someone decided to drive a truck out there... NH has a lot of good people who are willing to share, but cautious about safety.

Offline Arctic Addict

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 16, 2022, 07:30 PM »
What a classic post.  Not sure where you're from but spot burning early ice spots is always controversial in an open thread.

That being said, I know a sweet early ice spot in Concord. I have never been disappointed with ice conditions here and there's plenty of parking. 

Here are the coordinates 43.209350, -71.527079.  Go to Google maps and punch them in.  Just be careful of the zamboni driver.  Nice guy but gets pissy if he catches you drilling too many holes.  Good luck.
"Hope" is not a good fishing strategy!

Offline bassin212

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 16, 2022, 08:27 PM »
What a classic post.  Not sure where you're from but spot burning early ice spots is always controversial in an open thread.

That being said, I know a sweet early ice spot in Concord. I have never been disappointed with ice conditions here and there's plenty of parking. 

Here are the coordinates 43.209350, -71.527079.  Go to Google maps and punch them in.  Just be careful of the zamboni driver.  Nice guy but gets pissy if he catches you drilling too many holes.  Good luck.


Didnít take long for someone to give up the best brown spot in NH
Tight Lines!

Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 16, 2022, 08:58 PM »
What a classic post.  Not sure where you're from but spot burning early ice spots is always controversial in an open thread.

That being said, I know a sweet early ice spot in Concord. I have never been disappointed with ice conditions here and there's plenty of parking. 

Here are the coordinates 43.209350, -71.527079.  Go to Google maps and punch them in.  Just be careful of the zamboni driver.  Nice guy but gets pissy if he catches you drilling too many holes.  Good luck.

Haha! I appreciate the humor. And yes, I'm always wary of Zamboni drivers. The parking seems to be world class. 
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 16, 2022, 09:08 PM »
    Fred,
No location on your profile,but posting in NH. So, guessing that you are in the area. More specifics on where you want to travel would help. Honestly, on here most people have their own definition of safe ice. There have been issues in the past about folks posting "safe ice" (4" for walking) and someone decided to drive a truck out there... NH has a lot of good people who are willing to share, but cautious about safety.

Yes, I appreciate the definition of safe ice can be a hairy topic. I normally can't wait for 4", provided I am in experienced company and have all the safety/rescue gear. I live 20 mins west of Boston, but will drive to lakes like Winnepesaukee, sometimes even farther North for good fishing.
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline Guinea

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #6 on: Nov 16, 2022, 09:35 PM »
Somebody (me, apparently) should tell you that nobody is going to share their early ice spots with you. Or me, for that matter, and some of these guys know me personally. But, there's always that "one guy", and he's usually lying. After his spot burning thread we never see him again.

If you ask for tips on what to look for to find early ice, there are a lot of people here that will guide you.

Start by looking at elevations. Be willing to walk through the woods to a sheltered cove. Most importantly, don't tell anyone when you find it, or you'll find it ruined next year.

Good luck, and be safe!
Thinkin 'bout cusk on the grill......


Offline bassin212

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #7 on: Nov 16, 2022, 09:49 PM »
All jokes aside, the issue with naming specific bodies of water, especially early ice. Is that often times the small lakes and ponds freeze first, making it hard enough to fish and with the internet once you tell one person everyone seeís it and shows up (because there arenít a lot places to fish early ice. I personally donít like fishing a crowded lake.

That being said, your shallow small bodied ponds will generally freeze first. Typically high elevation and northwest will be better and anything protected from the wind. Part of what I love about ice fishing is putting in the work to find a first ice spot. Nothing more satisfying than driving around and drilling the first hole on a body of water for the season!
Tight Lines!

Offline Iceassin

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #8 on: Nov 17, 2022, 04:17 AM »
Best defense against an onslaught of fishermen? Fish private lakes. Found many over the years by picking up the phone and knocking on doors to get permission. Well worth the effort.
"Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice."
 


Offline Nosaj

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #9 on: Nov 17, 2022, 06:16 AM »
Follow Guinea's advice for finding early ice spots and start driving around when it gets cold at elevation.  I am not sure how familiar you are with NH rules and reg.'s but not all lakes and ponds are open to ice fishing.

If you teach a man to find fish you feed him for a lifetime!

Good luck and post about your adventures with pictures!



   

Offline 800stealth

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #10 on: Nov 17, 2022, 07:46 AM »
Agreed with the others... You're gonna be hard pressed to find someone that will give up their first ice spot to an open forum full of lurkers and takers, like Guinea said even buddies won't tell ya that chit lol. Go with the science, small shaded tree lined shallow ponds at elevation are much more likely to freeze early. River fed water bodies will likely freeze before spring fed as well. Good luck and when you do find it... tell nobody...
"May your lines be tight and never be tangled" (old Frankish Proverb)  Guinea 2021

Offline alexg425

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #11 on: Nov 17, 2022, 08:35 AM »
gonna have to scout yourself.  Last year I found a spot Dec 9, which was pretty early, but just a bunch of teeny perch so I don't really think I'll go back there this year.

It's not terribly hard to figure out though. You are looking for smaller ponds, shallower ponds, and bonus if they are at higher elevations.

I know another spot that is a big beaver pond up on a mountain that has brookies in it... thats probably your ideal situation I guess. Still not really promising enough to get me motivated to do it though.

When it hovers just above freezing by me down in the ass crack of the valley, I know its colder 1,000+ feet higher in elevation

Scratching the ice itch is nice, but I think I'm just going to wait for better fishing to be available

Offline Digs

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #12 on: Nov 17, 2022, 10:00 AM »
Track the forecast, fill up your gas tank and grab your chisel. Take a ride and have some fun. Over time you'll wind up with some good early ice spots
Every fish is a good fish!

Offline jigmaster5

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #13 on: Nov 18, 2022, 08:05 AM »
For those of you who are suffering from ice fever like I am, and at the beginning of each season don't mind driving some distance for the first ice, what are the fishable ponds and lakes that tend to freeze over first?

Thanks,
Fred

I'll tell you the secret.....

1st ice spots all have a few things in common....sheltered (from the wind), shallow, small + north....higher elevation can help....they tend to have darker water, as well.  Check regs to make sure you don't end up on a designated trout pond in NH.

Once you find 1, they tend to freeze up early year after year.  Don't be afraid to do a little walking...some of the best early ice spots are in the woods (sheltered)...old oxbows w/ high banks are another good place to check.

Google maps is a great resource.  webapp.navionics.com is another.  There's some other helpful apps available if you do some digging.  Might have to try a few spots to find 1 good 1.  If no luck, drive another 30m NNW + try again (repeat as needed or try again next weekend).

Last yr, I was on the ice Dec 24th (& I was at least a day late), year before was Dec 23rd...and I know guys were icefishing northern Maine for at least 3 weeks prior to me getting out.  So, some of it is only limited by how far you're willing to drive & preference for ice thickness.  (4" of ice is my comfort zone...I've fished thinner ice when I was younger but not my cup of tea now).

Bring a spud bar + ice picks, check as you go.  If it seems sketchy, turn back the way you came out.

Good luck!   ;D

Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #14 on: Nov 18, 2022, 08:27 AM »
I'll tell you the secret.....

1st ice spots all have a few things in common....sheltered (from the wind), shallow, small + north....higher elevation can help....they tend to have darker water, as well.  Check regs to make sure you don't end up on a designated trout pond in NH.

Once you find 1, they tend to freeze up early year after year.  Don't be afraid to do a little walking...some of the best early ice spots are in the woods (sheltered)...old oxbows w/ high banks are another good place to check.

Google maps is a great resource.  webapp.navionics.com is another.  There's some other helpful apps available if you do some digging.  Might have to try a few spots to find 1 good 1.  If no luck, drive another 30m NNW + try again (repeat as needed or try again next weekend).

Last yr, I was on the ice Dec 24th (& I was at least a day late), year before was Dec 23rd...and I know guys were icefishing northern Maine for at least 3 weeks prior to me getting out.  So, some of it is only limited by how far you're willing to drive & preference for ice thickness.  (4" of ice is my comfort zone...I've fished thinner ice when I was younger but not my cup of tea now).

Bring a spud bar + ice picks, check as you go.  If it seems sketchy, turn back the way you came out.

Good luck!   ;D

Thanks! A lot of sound logic and advice in there. Much appreciated. I have found the Navionics - Google Maps combo invaluable in the past. I supplement Google Map satellite photos with Microsoft's, as their images have sometimes been taken at a different time and may render more details / clarity. Can't wait to get out there. Tight lines and be safe!
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline lowaccord66

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #15 on: Nov 19, 2022, 09:52 AM »
I use to drive up in NH every december and look for ice.  8 hour round trip in the car.  Then I got smart, real smart and now as long as its not cloudy I can find firat ice from the couch. 

Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #16 on: Nov 19, 2022, 10:27 AM »
I use to drive up in NH every december and look for ice.  8 hour round trip in the car.  Then I got smart, real smart and now as long as its not cloudy I can find firat ice from the couch.

That sounds like substantial progress. What tool do you use?
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline 800stealth

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #17 on: Nov 20, 2022, 08:41 AM »
I use to drive up in NH every december and look for ice.  8 hour round trip in the car.  Then I got smart, real smart and now as long as its not cloudy I can find firat ice from the couch.

You've been listening to the voices in your hotdog again?? Crude but a solid technique for early ice just the same.
"May your lines be tight and never be tangled" (old Frankish Proverb)  Guinea 2021

Offline Mattyd420

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #18 on: Nov 20, 2022, 09:59 AM »
Week after thanksgiving I will be out, thereís a few places in the whites thatís freeze up nice and early and contain brook trout. Nice to just get out and make sure all the gear is in order. Places I go are above 2500 feet, shallow and sheltered. They freeze quick

Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #19 on: Nov 20, 2022, 04:27 PM »
Week after thanksgiving I will be out, thereís a few places in the whites thatís freeze up nice and early and contain brook trout. Nice to just get out and make sure all the gear is in order. Places I go are above 2500 feet, shallow and sheltered. They freeze quick

That sounds like fun. Let me know if you want company. I only jig, but am keen to try my European techniques on New England trout: brookies, rainbows, browns and lakers. Tight lines and be safe!
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline Roccus

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #20 on: Nov 21, 2022, 09:04 AM »
 I found ice i could walk on today... unfortunately, it was In Woburn mass. and it was on a roof where i was repairing a heating unit.. drilling a hole was not an option!

that being said, Rainbow and brook trout are a good early season option, you only need shallow water close to shore, use the fisheries index to figure out which ponds/lakes are legal and are small enough to freeze early... and if you fall in, only your pride is hurt and your wet to the knees.

"A mans got to know his limitations"

Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #21 on: Nov 21, 2022, 12:49 PM »
I found ice i could walk on today... unfortunately, it was In Woburn mass. and it was on a roof where i was repairing a heating unit.. drilling a hole was not an option!

that being said, Rainbow and brook trout are a good early season option, you only need shallow water close to shore, use the fisheries index to figure out which ponds/lakes are legal and are small enough to freeze early... and if you fall in, only your pride is hurt and your wet to the knees.


That's good advice. I found the ponds of Wayland and Weston, MA skimmed over with ice, so we're getting close. Be safe!
Luck is only a small part of it.

Offline SALMONEMIA

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #22 on: Nov 21, 2022, 07:23 PM »
Hoping for 1 or 2 more trolling trips for bows. Small ponds are skimming but that will change. Getting on ice locally I usually go to small bass ponds to avoid the stocked brookie shiff show. Still waiting for my traps to be finished having some modifications done. All jig rods are ready. New line new reels new jigs. Go to higher elevations or find shallow bass ponds that are small. I was on ice in concord xmas eve the last 2 years. Nothing crazy but got some bass. Good luck. 
Salmonemia

Offline Dipstick

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #23 on: Nov 25, 2022, 01:12 PM »
With this wind, these temps, potential rain, it might be a late start. Unless your Jesus, apparently he doesn't need ice to walk on water! 🙄

Offline Mascoma

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #24 on: Nov 25, 2022, 05:07 PM »
"Watch out for the Zamboni"

I'm dying over here....

 ;D

Offline rmoody79

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #25 on: Nov 26, 2022, 07:38 PM »
That sounds like fun. Let me know if you want company. I only jig, but am keen to try my European techniques on New England trout: brookies, rainbows, browns and lakers. Tight lines and be safe!

What type of hot dogs do you typically bring?

Offline Guinea

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #26 on: Nov 27, 2022, 04:49 PM »
I was going to check my early spot today, but I might as well wait for these downpours to end and go during the week.

Besides, I was getting all Bill Murray in Caddyshack on the red squirrels today.

So Fredrik, saying you are from Sweden reminded me of buying some Swedish Pimples  from a guy named Fredrik (who was in Sweden) some years ago. They were very nice and I caught fish with them. A bunch of us pooled together to buy a bunch to make the shipping cost worth it. I wish I could remember the name of the company!

Thinkin 'bout cusk on the grill......


Offline FishingFredrik

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #27 on: Nov 27, 2022, 06:15 PM »
I was going to check my early spot today, but I might as well wait for these downpours to end and go during the week.

Besides, I was getting all Bill Murray in Caddyshack on the red squirrels today.

So Fredrik, saying you are from Sweden reminded me of buying some Swedish Pimples  from a guy named Fredrik (who was in Sweden) some years ago. They were very nice and I caught fish with them. A bunch of us pooled together to buy a bunch to make the shipping cost worth it. I wish I could remember the name of the company!

Hi Guinea, that's really funny. There are a lot of great online retailers in Sweden that carry really nice, often handmade, vertical jigs, in the style of the Swedish Pimple. Pimpel (not pimple) is actually both the verb and noun for vertical jigging/jig. The spelling got a little mixed up during the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean - "pimpel" has nothing to do with acne ;) The Finns - a little further to the East - are also great at ice fishing and lure making for it. Fishing is anything but a niche activity there - a huge portion of the population fish both on the hard and soft water. There are some highly specialized, small scale, manufacturers of handmade balanced jigs that have inlays of real fish skin/scales. They're incredible, but not cheap.

I am lucky to have some good friends over in Sweden that send me what I need when I run out, but the postage isn't actually that much. The challenge for non-swedish speakers is that most online stores don't have web pages in English, but with a little patience, you'll find your way around. The last one below has a page in English (shortcut to the vertical jigs). You can always call their customer service and ask about international shipments if you're interested - they will speak good English. But not all of them ship internationally.

https://sportfiskeboden.com/
https://www.olssonsfiske.se/
https://www.sportfishtackle.com/
https://www.sportfishtackle.com/en/fishing-methods/ice-fishing/ice-jigging-lures-ice-fishing/vertical-ice-jigs

I haven't made my own jigs since I was in my teens. I used to make both vertical and balanced jigs. However, I still make my own "pimpelkrok" / jigging hooks. Keep us updated on how you go.

Best,
Fredrik



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Offline Steve H.

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #28 on: Nov 27, 2022, 09:08 PM »
As someone mentioned above, oxbow ponds generally freeze up earlier than other ponds in the same area. (These are from last December.)




Offline lowaccord66

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Re: First Ice Intelligence?
« Reply #29 on: Dec 07, 2022, 07:57 AM »
You've been listening to the voices in your hotdog again?? Crude but a solid technique for early ice just the same.

The pork voice guides me to all the early ice I need!

 



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