The past few weeks have been good to ice fishermen across the state. Consistently freezing air temperatures have gifted anglers with about 5 to 8-inches of ice in most areas of Rhode Island. With the fluctuating conditions we experienced throughout January, there was no time to wait around in risk of ice melting.
Unfortunately, the frigid temperatures and recent icy conditions after the blizzard have kept offshore boats docked out of safety concerns. Keep an eye on the calendar for warmer (non-freezing) days with less wind though, because there are boats that want to get out!
The most recent report from the Frances Fleet: “We are still trying to sail everyday weather permitting. We are all back up and healthy after a mild covid inconvenience . We will be ready to sail next time we get a weather break and we are dying to try out some new spots. We are stocked with fresh shucked clams ready to get the coolers full.”
From the Shops
Abbie at Quonnie Bait and Tackle in Charlestown had anglers in the shop reporting keeper trout through the ice. Most of the trout came on bait, but smelly artificial lures can also do the trick. In the mix with the trout reports were also crappies. Abbie reported a few customers getting good sized black crappie through the ice, moreso on artificial jigs than with live or dead bait.
In Harmony, Andre from Big Bear Hunting and Fishing had plenty of ice fishing reports. The ice has been thick, around 8-inches, and tons of largemouth bass and yellow perch have been coming through the ice. Recently Big Bear hosted an ice fishing tournament for anglers in Rhode Island, and the winning fish was a solid 19 1/2-inch largemouth bass.
At Big Bear the team organizes fishing tournaments using an app called “Fishing Chaos”, which allows tournaments to be created based on location. Their tournaments are set state-wide as long as there is safe ice, and they measure success by fish length. There have been sizable recorded catches for black crappie, yellow perch and largemouth bass in these tournaments, and they are entirely open to the public. Check out the fishing reports as they happen, or join in real-time by fishing in one of their free tournaments!
There’s plenty going on in the water’s just outside of Rhode Island as well. Connecticut’s ice fishing season is in full swing, with thick ice in the northern reaches of the state and around 5 to 8-inches on average in southern CT. Be sure to have a valid freshwater license for Connecticut if you plan on fishing out of state.
From the Shore
The ice fishermen on Cape Cod are experiencing plenty of multi-species action. Whether involved in a Big Bear fishing tournament, or fishing in a more leisurely manner- there are plenty of different species coming through the ice to keep things interesting.
Earlier this week, angler Declan O’Donnell caught a handful of different species out on the ice.
If the ice is to stick around, anglers can only hope for more multi-species days like this on the hardwater.
Rhode Island Fishing Forecast
Without opting to fish freshwater through the ice, or wait patiently for the cod boats to venture out, fishing remains relatively stagnant. Even in moving water, chunks of ice and melting snow have led to higher water levels and clouded river conditions, as the snowmelt carries sediment into the rivers. The coming week’s air temperatures may cause the ice to melt slightly, but it’s likely that the weekend temperatures and overnight cold snaps could keep safe ice around for at least another week. Ice fishing tournaments with Big Bear (or just a group of friends) are a great way to stay involved and in the loop during the slow time of the season.
It seems like the fish are feeding well if you’re fishing the right spots on the ice. Exercise caution when checking the ice going forward, and you may be lucky enough create your own fishing report for the coming week!