As usually happens this time of year, the midwinter doldrums are upon us. A combination of thick ice, dying vegetation depleting oxygen in shallow water, and over 2 months of fishing pressure, has scattered fish across most of the Hills lakes.
This is the time of year when things get a bit more interesting on the hardwater and patience and searching are often the name of the game. Some usual spots can still produce, though fish quantity and quality go down. Such was a case on a recent trip as our current doldrums were kicking in.
I invited some friends and their 2 kids out onto the ice up at Deerfield to see if I could get them on some trout action as I usually do when taking beginners out on the ice. My other friend Jordan also accompanied me out to help and get some more ice time in.
As I was setting up Arctic Warriors and my Clam C-560 insulated hub for the family, Jordan managed to catch several trout, though they weren't the bigger sizes like they had been a few weeks before. I knew what that meant from previous experience in that area--the doldrums had arrived, and the bigger fish had probably moved on and the numbers would not be there.
I'd hoped to still make the best of the morning. Once the family arrived, I set them up with rods and gave them a tutorial on using the Vexilars. Kim and her daughter had been out on a couple of trips with me before, but for her fiancé James and his daughter, it was their first.
I drilled dozens of holes and tried to get them on fish, but it just wasn't happening. Kim did manage to catch one towards the end of the morning, which made her morning for sure! But James and his daughter didn't see a fish and I was disappointed for them.
He took it in stride and said they'd still had a good time and the weather was nice. He said they were up for another trip sometime so hopefully the fish will play the game next time out.
This time of year, it's definitely a time to move around to find the fish. While not always possible, drilling more holes to cover more area is always a possibility if moving isn't an option. A lot of times, it'll be the luck of the draw. Here's hoping that this season's midwinter doldrums are short, and the fish get more active and centralized soon!