Cape Cod Fishing Report- February 8, 2024

Local anglers ply the freshwater ponds for trout, largemouth bass and pickerel as warm weekend weather approaches southern New England.

Cape Cod Fishing Report

Did anyone catch anything this weekend besides some extra zzzz’s? Fishing was brutal on Saturday and Sunday in terms of both the conditions and the lack of action. There was certainly no lack of effort on this end, just a lack of appetite from trout, pickerel, bass and perch.

None of the usual freshwater suspects came out to play, no matter where I went, or what I fished with. So by Sunday afternoon I surrendered to the skunk and spent time tying jigs and swapping out terminal tackle on plugs. But it sounds like a good skunking was the general result for most anglers this week. A couple friends of mine tried for trout, and they caught next to nothing in several hours, with only one fish to show for it. Last night I dunked some shiners with the fellas from Red Top for two and a half hours, and our baits didn’t get sniffed by a trout, or even a pesky yellow perch. A lot of people say freshwater fishing is easy; but when most of your freshwater fishing is done in the winter, it can get tough out there.
 
The silver lining to my week on the water was a new pair of waders that finally arrived in the mail. It’s amazing, I feel like a new man in these things. No more pinhole leaks, wet socks, etc. (at least for now).


Temperatures have been all over the place this week, with some snowfall here and there and plenty of wind keeping the ponds choppy and free of ice… until this morning. Skim ice was back on some of the smaller water bodies, but only for a few hours as temps quickly climbed into the 40s. The weekend weather forecast is looking sunny and mild with temperatures approaching 50 degrees, so expect largemouth bass and pickerel to be on the move and looking to feed before the Super Bowl. If you’re fishing from shore for bass and pickerel, stick to the tried-and-true winter lures and rigs; suspending jerkbaits, micro soft-plastics and spoons, float-and-fly rigs and ned rigs. Kayak or boat anglers can utilize blade baits, dropshot rigs and ned rigs to jig up smallmouth and largemouth bass in some of the larger kettle ponds. If there’s a prime bass fishing window to aim for, it’s Sunday morning. The ponds should get a good deal of sun in the shallows today, Friday and Saturday, so the water will be warmest on Sunday prior to the big game.

Trout fishing is another option that should pick back up this weekend. Shallower waters will warm under the sun and trout will come moseying out of their deeper dwellings to feed in slightly warmer water. Bait is always a good option, like shiners or PowerBait rigged on an egg sinker, or a worm beneath a bobber. But, with the potential for brown and rainbow trout to come in shallow, dusting off the fly rod might be a good idea. You can’t go wrong with a white crystal bugger or a black wooly bugger.

And in salty news, I did hear whispers of some winter holdover stripers being caught in the south side salt ponds of Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds. It’s a high-effort/low-return game, but stripers are another option for anglers this week. As March approaches, I’m hoping to get out locally a few times in search of my first stripes of the year.

Connor at Red Top Sporting Goods in Buzzards Bay had nothing to share on behalf of the shop this week, as many of their customers have been coming in to have reels serviced or repaired since last week’s fishing conditions were less than ideal. Connor and Ian joined me fishing shiners yesterday evening, which amounted to nothing but frozen toes and fingers. Note: if you plan to fish shiners in the winter, bring a dip net for your bait bucket and save your hands from frost bite. Red Top is anticipating an uptick in activity going into the weekend. The shop has live bait and all your freshwater needs in stock, and you can even shop at home via their new online store.

Evan at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle in Falmouth told me he is planning on getting shiners for the weekend, although he may not have nightcrawlers due to one of the refrigerators being down. Evan has been busy going through all new inventory and sorting through product deliveries after closing for the month of January, so if you’re looking to do some restocking before the saltwater season, swing by and take a look at the selection. This week he had a couple guys pick up shiners for bass and one young angler fishing the ponds around downtown in Falmouth for trout. The bass guys have also been fishing locally and have been getting some solid bass from the smaller ponds in Falmouth like Shivericks and Grews. Evan also said he’s still selling through a fair amount of shellfishing gear, and with a warm spell of weather on the horizon, this weekend would be a great time to get out there and dig for some clams.

Lee at Riverview Bait and Tackle in South Yarmouth said the best thing going right now is fishing live bait for whatever is willing to bite. In the case of their customers, most guys have been focusing on trout with shiners beneath rigged bobbers or on a bottom rig. They too are seeing a lot of clammers coming in for shellfishing gear. Stop by this weekend for your freshwater and shellfishing needs!

Cape Cod Fishing Forecast

Largemouth bass fishing is your best bet for the weekend, with trout being a close runner up for the most reliable action. If you’re throwing float-and-fly rigs, spoons or jerkbaits for bass, you can expect to run into a couple chain pickerel as well. Keep a lip gripper handy just in case any gator slime darts are on the prowl.

If you’ve been looking to launch the kayak or rowboat recently, this might be the weekend to do it. Winds should be pretty low and steady out of the southwest, so pick your spots accordingly to stay out of any gusty conditions. Locating underwater humps and jigging for smallmouth bass with ned rigs or blade baits is a fun way to enjoy some winter kayak fishing. Fish both of these lures with subtle flicks, bouncing them gently over the bottom to entice schooling smallies. If you find yourself fishing from the seat of a kayak, just don’t forget to wear a PFD. The air might be warm this weekend, but the water will still be ice cold.

Shore fishing for trout will be a good bet too. If you find fish willing to eat a spoon, spinner or hair jig in shallow water, consider throwing a few flies their way for a little extra fun.

Hopefully we’ll have more to report next week after this welcome spell of “warm” winter weather encourages people to get out and wet a line. Who knows, maybe that silly groundhog was actually right about an early spring.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the weekend and be safe out there.

(If you’d like to contribute to our weekly fishing reports this winter, email me at mhaeffner@onthewater.com with a brief report of your day on the water and what you caught, or message me on Instagram @matthaeffner.) 

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