Ice fishing is a new and fun activity to try out, however, not a lot of new ice fishers know how even the littlest details can greatly affect their chances of getting a catch. Even the weather and specific temperatures can make or break an ice fishing trip!
So how does weather affect ice fishing and what can I do about it? Read on to find out more!
How Does Weather Affect Ice Fishing?
There are different aspects of the weather to look into when ice fishing, such as:
Barometric or atmospheric pressure is how much air weighs at ground level. The more air around, the heavier it is, pushing down. The less air, the less pressure.
When applying it to weather, it means that clear skies refer to high pressure, while cloudy skies refer to low pressure.
When air pushes down the ice, the ice pushes on water, with fish feeling the pressure. The pressure in fish’ air bladders changes, which would either keep them in shallow waters or have them go deeper for comfort.
When barometric pressures are high, fish will feel uncomfortable as pressure increases. They will turn less active, moving towards deeper waters.
When barometric pressures are low, the less pressure they feel in the air bladder. This has them stay active until the pressure changes for the worse.
The best time to fish is when the barometer pressure starts to fall and the weather worsens, or if there’s a storm approaching. This is when fish start aggressively feeding, biting whatever is presented to them.
You can measure air pressure using a barometer, or using a weather forecast and fishing app.
Clouds vs. Sunshine
Even if there is a layer of ice separating them from the sun, the skies can also impact ice fishing.
This is because light still reaches to the depths of the water despite it covered in ice. And just like the open water season, fish would respond differently to the light exposed to them.
Bright sunny days would have fish go to deeper water, slowing things down. It’s still possible to catch fish but you need to change your fishing style, such as drilling holes in other spots and using better bait.
Cloudy days are a better time for ice anglers, as the light levels become subdued, with fish feeding more actively for whole days.
Is It Snowing?
Some people have commented on how bad snow can be for ice fishing. Well, it’s true!
When fresh snow falls on new ice, I suggest you skip the fishing day. This is because it increases the risk of going out to new ice. Furthermore, the snow would add extra weight on ice, further insulating it, which prevents the ice from freezing to the safe thickness to walk on.
It’s also bad if a lot of snow would fall during the early winter. The rapid decrease in light under the ice would case early die-off in aquatic vegetation. This reduces the oxygen available underneath, pushing fish deeper to look for waters filed with more oxygen.
With that said, not all kinds of snow are bad when ice fishing. A bit of snow on a sunny day during mid-winter may look like a cloud cover, diminishing the sun’s intensity. This has fish feeding longer, so you can take advantage of their feeding for whole days.
How About the Time of Day?
For ice fishing, anytime is a great time to fish, but there are certain hours you shouldn’t miss. Most of the popular game fish are much more active during early mornings, as well as a couple of hours before and/or after the sun sets.
Yes, even after sunset, which is the most underestimated time to go ice fishing!
Besides this, low light conditions are the best times to fish, as this is when big predators will feed in the shallows. You’ll want to be up before light and setup near these predators’ feeding zones.
While it may be a bit colder during these times, you have better chances of getting a huge bite.
Learn more about the relation between weather and ice fishing in this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
Just like how windy days can affect the fish’s bite or how storms can get you more catches, the weather during ice fishing affects your chances of success. As long as you know when to fish and what to take account for weather-wise, you can have a better chance to get a bite and take home something huge. It doesn’t have to be so complicated!
I hope that this article answered your question, “how does weather affect ice fishing?” Now that you know the answer, start looking more into the different aspects of ice fishing today