I’ve been going ice fishing regularly for the last 10 years, and all of my friends and relatives are well aware of this. So i get a lot of questions from newbies who like ice fishing as a hobby and want to give it a try. One of the most common questions i get is, which month of winter is the best one to go ice fishing. I’ll answer that question and explain it later, but i also want to write a little bit about the time of the day for ice fishing. You can’t fish consistently during the whole day, as some time periods are more effective in catching fish than the others. So let’s kick it off.
First of all, i don’t know why, but i’ve noticed trend that the best time to go ice fishing is when first ice appears on the lake. And i mean ice with good enough thickness to be able to walk on it. Don’t go ice fishing unless you’re absolutely sure that ice layer is sturdy and won’t break beneath you. Also, i recommend picking a spot that is covered with snow. The thing is, that waters beneath the snow-covered ice are pretty dark, and you have better chance of catching fish in those dark waters, as opposed to the ones that sun beams can access. During my beginner years, i used to think that the coldest months were the best, but it’s actually the opposite. I found first and last months of ice fishing season to be the most productive for me. I can’t really give you any scientific arguments to prove why this happens, but i can share my experience that fishing is much better during those months. In some areas, lakes start to freeze in december and november, while in the other, more warmer states it starts in january and ends in march. I haven’t had experience of ice fishing in Canada, but since it’s much warmer up there, i think it’s possible to plan canadian ice fishing trip in as early as november. Although only hardcore fans like me would go through that much trouble just to go ice fishing. If we can find money to spend on great ice fishing gear, we should be able to fund our trips to the actual lakes.
If you can afford it and like to take long distance ice fishing trips, i also recommend lake baikal. It’s the deepest and gorgeous lake with beautiful nature around it. It is located in Siberia though, so it’s pretty far from russian capital or other big cities. But tourism is pretty developed, and if you can afford it, you definitely should try it out. My friend has been there and came back shocked, and from his pictures i can tell that he isn’t overreacting.
The same applies to differences in ice fishing output during different times of the day. I can’t explain it, but my experience has consistently shown that fishing from early morning to noon is much more effective than fishing in later parts of the day. I don’t know why, maybe fish are used to eating early in the morning, but it’s just the way it is.