Fishing Never Stops in northeast Ohio!
AKRON, OH – The snow has fallen and it is certainly cold! It just might be time for ice fishing in northeast Ohio according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
When the weather cooperates, ice fishing opportunities abound in the Buckeye State with opportunities to catch a variety of fish such as perch, sunfish, crappie, walleye, and in a few places, northern pike. Most lakes and ponds that anglers fish in the warmer months are just as good in the winter, so with a little skill and knowledge about fishing on the frozen water, you can be reeling in fish in no time. Anglers must be aware of ice thickness and safety first and foremost, however.
Learning about the body of water to be fished, necessary equipment, how to dress warmly, and most importantly, knowing safety precautions are all components of a pleasant winter fishing experience.
Get to know the lake: To begin learning about a certain lake, free lake maps are available through the Division of Wildlife. These maps depict lake boundaries, good fishing spots, parking locations, and water depths. Call Wildlife District Three in Akron at (330) 644-2293 or visit www.wildohio.com to obtain a map of your favorite lake. For panfish, Mosquito Lake in Trumbull County and Pymatuning Lake in Ashtabula County are long time producers, although the Portage Lakes in Summit County are certainly popular, although not as blessed with big bluegill. For walleye, Mosquito Lake in Trumbull County (also good for pike) is the best, although Berlin (Mahoning, Portage, and Stark counties) and Pymatuning (Ashtabula County) lakes can provide fair to good walleye numbers. Keep an eye on fluctuating water levels.
Equipment: Some basic tools you will need before you hit the hard water.
Ice fishing rods (short, with or without a spring type bobber)
“Tip-up” rods (tripping mechanism sends up a flag on a strike)
“Pin-mins” (Small ice jigs that can be tipped with live bait)
Jigging spoons or other lures (Rapala jigs, Sonars, Vibe-E’s, etc) for walleye, saugeye, northern pike, and other predacious fish
Live bait such as minnow (for larger fish) or wax worms (for smaller fish)
Flashers, depth finders, or underwater cameras to see what lies beneath the ice
Other stuff to bring: extra clothes, energy-rich snacks and warm beverages, a coil of rope, first aid kit, waterproof matches, ice awls, floatation device, cell phone (in a sealed plastic bag).
Dress for Success: Layering your clothes makes it much easier to remove or add clothes depending on your comfort level. The first layer should be a good pair of thermal underwear that keeps perspiration away from the skin. The second layer should be wool, fleece, or flannel followed by a third layer of windproof or waterproof material. A warm, wool or fleece hat is important too! Avoid cotton altogether because it is a very poor insulator. Don’t forget to keep those toes toasty too by wearing good, non-cotton socks and loose waterproof boots. Boots that are a bit too big help circulation continue throughout your feet. Lastly, mittens are the best way to go to protect your hands from the icy water. Some winter anglers even wear thin, rubber gloves underneath mittens to allow flexibility. It doesn’t hurt to bring extra clothes too!
No ice is safe ice!
For one person and gear (approximately 200 pounds) at least four inches of ice is absolutely necessary!!!!!!!!!!!!
Always fish with a partner or in an area with several other anglers present
Let others know exactly where you are going and when you plan to return
Place a cell phone in a plastic bag to protect it from moisture in case you get wet
Sprinkle sand around your feet for better traction on the ice
Wear a life vest in case of an emergency or at least take along a PFD seat cushion
Avoid areas where feeder streams, springs, bridge pilings, docks, and dam structures since ice is usually very thin there
If you fall into the water, try to remain as calm as possible
Slip your loose boots off to better tread water
Use ice awls to pull yourself out of the water
If no ice awls are available, call for help and try “swimming out” by letting your body rise up to firm ice and crawl out
Stay flat, distributing your weight on the ice
Keep your clothes on once out of the water. This will keep you insulated.
If someone else falls in, use REACH (stick or fishing pole), THROW (rope or PFD), ROW (row or push a boat), and GO (call for help).
Click here to view an ice safety chart