Even after the Super Bowl is long over with, we will still have several more weeks of winter.
This “up and down” weather has local angling in a deep funk with no “safe ice” to fish on top of and ice that is too thick to cast through. Travel 60 miles south or to the lower Eastern Shore and there are open water options for crappie, pickerel and bass. Head west to Deep Creek Lake and 6 to 8 inches of ice allows ice fishing for jumbo yellow perch, bluegills pickerel, pike and walleye.
Or … you could sit at home, by a warm, cozy fire, and read about fishing, watch it on the tube (or YouTube) or maybe make lures and jigs and flies for the upcoming season.
Yes, the outdoor show season is in full swing, so let’s pick a couple activities to pursue until the song birds of spring arrive.
I recently started reading a copy of Stephen Sautner’s book “A Cast in the Woods,” which chronicles his passion for all things trout fishing and a great desire to own a small piece of paradise in the storied Catskill Mountains.
Through diligent effort and time, Sautner and his wife were able to purchase a small cabin bordering a trout brooklet that was to be that answer to their dreams. The whole process from searching to buying to fixing up took time, sweat and, in some instances, a little heart break when nature, floods and the “progress of man” sought to destroy his slice of trout fishing Nirvana.
Several things about Sautner immediately leap out at you once you start reading this book.
One, he loves the beauty of the outdoors and especially running water. Two, he is a passionate fly angler who is just as excited with a 6-inch native brook trout as he would be with a 20-inch wild brown. But foremost is his desire to preserve and protect the simplicity, and perfection, of Catskill Mountain trout fishing to the very end.
With a variety of “high water hell” scenarios, controversial fracking practices and pure love and respect for the sport and nature, you get the feeling that he is pouring his heart out, literally, in this book. And he is.
Sautner’s book is published by the Lyons Press and distributed by National Book Network. At $24.95 it is one man’s journey to seek, find and secure that which should never be lost. An absorbing and compelling read.
If you are in the mood for fishing stories, techniques and plenty of “how-to” information, you might want to pick up a copy of Shawn Kimbro’s “How To Catch Chesapeake Panfish,” which actually hit the stands in October of 2018.
An author of two popular books (“Chesapeake Light Tackle” and “The Right Stuff”) Kimbro has a way of making tackle and tactics easily understood. The drawings, diagrams and photos make this book a “must read” for the serious tide water angler who pursues yellow and white perch, crappies, catfish, sunfish species, shad, spot, croaker, and more.
Although Kimbro is very busy on the winter seminar circuit teaching light tackle techniques for striped bass, he is just as comfortable, and happy, to catch a bucket full of tasty panfish or battle high-flying hickory shad in many of our tidal tributaries.
It is a wealth of information at $24.95 and available at Trailzzone Publishing, 125 East Main Street, Stevensville, MD, 21666. You can also find this book at area bait and tackle stores in the Chesapeake region. Also, check out Shawn Kimbro’s YouTube and Facebook sites and channels for more on his exciting fishing adventures.
Deep Creek Lake Ice Fishing Report
Without traveling far to the north, about the only safe ice within driving distance is in Garrett County, where 3,900-acre Deep Creek Lake has from 5 to 9 inches of ice throughout much of the lake. Anglers who are diligent and willing to stay on the move are tracking down jumbo yellow perch along with some walleyes and a few bluegills, pickerel and northern pike.
Jigging spoons and Rapalas tipped with wax worms or minnows in 10 to 25 feet of water are catching the bulk of the fish. Tip-ups with larger minnows are catching some toothy critters as well. Keep a sharp eye on ice thickness if you go and fish on nothing less than 4 inches of clear, hard ice. Use caution and fish with a small group of anglers.