Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ice Fishing On Deep Creek Lake

Grab a Pole - Go Ice Fishing!
It's beautiful here. Deep Creek Lake is almost frozen - you'll know when the ice fisherman make their way to the middle!  Speaking of ice fishing, you might want to take a ski break and give it a try! You don't need much equipment to get started.  
Just like any outdoor winter sport, warm clothing is definitely a requirement. Down insulated mittens and a good knit wool cap are key to keeping warm and toasty. Hand-warmers are also a plus. For your feet, foot-warmers, thermal socks and a good pair of Arctic boots can't be beat. And of course, don't forget the long underwear, a thermal or wool shirt and wool pants. A down or synthetic down filled or thermal coat tops off your fishing garb.
A minimum of four inches of ice is required to safely support the weight of a 200 lb person. The ice should be clear, free of any tiny air bubbles and rock hard. Snow covered ice is usually considered unsafe, especially when the snow exceeds six inches and cover newly formed ice. The snow actually acts like an insulating blanket, preventing cold air from reaching the ice, causing it to remain thin.
To cut your fishing hole, and ice spud or chisel works well and are available at most tackle shops. Never use an ax; it could break the ice you're standing on!  The size of the hole cannot exceed ten inches in diameter. This size would make it nearly impossible for a person to fall through a hole that has frozen to a thin sheet of ice.
Deep Creek Lake offers ice fishing enthusiasts a variety of species including yellow perch, small-mouth bass, walleye, northern pike, monster bluegills and more. An array of tiny lures and ultra-light spinning outfits are used, and in some instances, tip-ups, tiny spring-loaded devices used specifically for ice fishing. These are unusual in that a spring-actuated rod not only sets the hook, but releases a small, red flag, indicating the device has been triggered. Brightly colored maggots, wax worms, mealworms and corn grubs are the primary bait, however tiny live minnows. garden worms, wood-worms, red wigglers and night crawlers are also used. Veteran ice fisherman say the best bait is small and fresh.
The most important thing to remember is SAFETY! Ice fishing is a great sport for the entire family and if all else fails, slip on the ice skates! But there are some rules everyone should follow.
  • Be sure the ice is thick even if you are cutting a hole in shallow water. Anything less than four inches is too think to support your weight safely.
  • Fish with a partner and never walk across the ice close together. If you were to fall through, your partner could save your life.
  • Carry a 50' length of rope with a loop tied to one end. Your fishing partner could extricate you from an area of thin ice by tossing you the rope and pulling you to safety.
  • Short ice picks can be used as an aid in escaping thin ice. The picks should be shortened to about an inch long to penetrate the ice safely and help you pull yourself free.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you fall in the water. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital or medical center. Delayed hypothermia frequently results in thermal shock and unconsciousness.