The sport of ice fishing is different things to different people. For some, it is a social event, a chance to get out on a pond with a bunch of friends to eat, drink, and tell stories. For others, it is a meditative and solitary activity, an opportunity to commune with nature. And of course, everyone has their preferred catch, whether it’s pike, perch, muskies, trout, bass, salmon, or panfish.
But no matter what kind of experience or fish you’re after, there are plenty of places in New England to drop a line when winter rolls around. Here are a few time-tested favorites.
The Best Ice Fishing Spots in Every New England State
BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS IN CONNECTICUT
In northwest Connecticut, the town of Winchester is home to a pair of excellent ice fishing destinations. At nearly 450 acres and with an average depth of 24 feet, Highland Lake is the largest of our Connecticut favorites. Stocked with trout in both spring and fall, Highland is also a good place to find largemouth bass and yellow perch. Winchester Lake, which was created by the damming of the east branch of the Naugatuck River, is known for its pike. And because its 250-acre swath was not clear-cut before it was filled in, there are tree trunks and a lot of other debris below the surface. Don’t be surprised if you experience snags.
Ice fishing in the southern part of the state can be tricky, as warmer weather sometimes prevents the formation of safe ice. When it does freeze up, however, Ball Pond in New Fairfield — a 82-acre natural lake that’s as deep as 50 feet in spots — is a go-to for catching bass and trout. And just northeast of New London is Voluntown’s Pachaug Pond, a manmade pond that covers some 870 acres. Its average winter depth is around five feet or less, which can make it easier to detect underwater vegetation. (Pike are commonly found nibbling at the edges of that growth, particularly in the northern portions of the pond.)
Before going ice fishing in Connecticut, be sure to check with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection for the latest licensing, safety, and catch-size regulations.
BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS IN MAINE
New England’s northernmost state is an ice fishing paradise, with solid options in all its regions. One of the best known is Moosehead Lake, which checks in at 40 miles long and 12 miles wide. It often draws a crowd, but you’ll have no trouble finding a space all your own. Salmon, trout, and bass are plentiful — plus, while you wait for a nibble you can soak up the spectacular scenery.
For more solitary adventure, head up to the North Country’s Allagash Lake. You’ll find trout, salmon, and Northern pike in this remote spot, but it can be dangerously cold here, so do take the elements seriously.
Among the more accessible destinations is Sabattus Pond, not far from Lewiston. Large and shallow, Sabattus is known for its pike, but bass, pickerel, crappie and perch are plentiful too. Even farther south is Sebago Lake, the state’s second-largest lake, whose many coves and inlets offer prime spots for finding trout (both brown and brook). Its waters are also home to both large- and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie and even Atlantic salmon.
Before going ice fishing in Maine, be sure to check with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife for information on ice fishing conditions and regulations.
BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Cape Cod serves up some respectable ice fishing opportunities, but because of the region’s relatively warm temperatures, the season tends to be quite short (if it happens at all). If you seek more dependable options, head west.
Bare Hill Pond in Harvard offers easy access and a solid shot at catching perch, pickerel, or bass. However, its developed shoreline means you won’t feel as if you’ve escaped civilization. By contrast, in Orange you’ll find accessibility and seclusion at 383-acre Lake Rohunta and its sibling, 112-acre Lake Mattawa. Yellow perch are plentiful at both places, though pickerel and bass are more often found in Rohunta, and salmon and trout in Mattawa.
In the Berkshire town of Stockbridge, the Stockbridge Bowl is a manmade lake that offers gorgeous views of the Taconic Range and the Berkshire Hills. It also happens to be a favored location for hooking trout, pickerel, and salmon.
Before going ice fishing in Maine, be sure to check with the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game for details on the rules and regulations you should follow.
BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Quality ice fishing abounds throughout New Hampshire, with its many small, out-of-the-way ponds and lakes serving as “local secrets.” For our purposes, though, we’ll start big — Lake Winnipesaukee big. At 71 square miles and with a maximum depth of 180 feet, Winnipesaukee is the state’s largest lake as well as the host of the famed Great Rotary Fishing Derby in Meredith. Among the fish you can snag here: lake trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, white perch, pickerel, cusk, and black crappie.
Long, narrow Highland Lake in Stoddard is a lot smaller than Winnipesaukee, but it still checks in at nearly 700 acres of mostly shallow water. Large- and smallmouth bass are plentiful in the middle section of the lake, although you can expect to reel in perch, pickerel, sunfish, and crappie too. Island Pond, also in Stoddard, offers a similar variety of fish but in a more compact package (179 acres).
Before going ice fishing in New Hampshire, be sure to check with the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department for updated guidelines and related information.
BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS IN RHODE ISLAND
Because it is both southern and coastal, Rhode Island is a bit challenged when it comes to winter sports. But when the ice is thick enough, consider paying a visit to Waterman Reservoir, just west of Providence. The shoreline is heavily developed, so this is not a wilderness immersion. On the plus side, the 300-acre-plus reservoir — just 15 feet at its deepest point — has plenty of shallows for hunting pike.
Georgiaville Pond in Smithfield is beautiful and serene, despite its suburban location. It’s also a bit deeper than Waterman Reservoir, at an average of about 25 feet, but it has a number of shallows in its northern section, making its 92 acres ideal for bass, perch, and pickerel.
In South Kingston, 101-acre Tucker Pond is a favorite spot for perch fishing. Trout, pickerel, and bass make occasional appearances as well.
Before going ice fishing in Rhode Island, be sure to check with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for the latest rules and regulations.
BEST ICE FISHING SPOTS IN VERMONT
Any list of ice fishing spots in Vermont must start up north, with Lake Champlain. New England’s largest lake has the distinction of being more popular for ice fishing than for any other kind of angling. Northern pike abound here, as do salmon, pike, trout, crappie, and walleye. Your preferred quarry will dictate which part of this 120-mile-long expanse of water you should set up on.
Wonderfully scenic Lake Dunmore, between Leicester and Salisbury, is essentially two lakes in one. Its 985 acres include areas deeper than 100 feet as well as extended shallows of five feet or less. Move toward the depths for lake trout, and toward the shallows for bass and perch.
Great Averill Lake (sometimes referred to as Great Averill Pond) is an 828-acre reservoir in Norton and Averill, near the Canadian border, where salmon and trout are plentiful. At the other end of the state is 2,040-acre Harriman Reservoir, located midway between Brattleboro and Bennington, where anglers are rewarded with trout (rainbow, brook, or brown), panfish, bass, and salmon.
Before going ice fishing in Rhode Island, be sure to check with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department for information on rules, regulations, and the latest fishing conditions.
Of course, when it comes to great ice fishing in New England, this list only scratches the surface. Where are your favorite New England ice-fishing spots?
10 Best Winter Towns in New England
The post The Best Ice Fishing Spots in Every New England State appeared first on New England Today.