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Open Water, Hard Water, or Both

by: Ryan Wood 11/24/2013

As I read posts on Fishexplorer this time of year, I always notice there are many people who sound like ice fishing season is what they wait all year for.  I have also heard a lot of fisherman in Colorado say that they have never been ice fishing and they donít ever plan to.

I am more of a warm water fisherman, so I prefer open water, but I could never just sit all winter and not fish.  To me ice fishing is there to fill in the gap between fall and spring, and I enjoy the different challenges and excitement it offers.

One of the reasons I prefer open water fishing is that I can grab a couple of rods and a backpack and be on the water in about 10 minutes.  Ice fishing takes a lot more preparation Ė warm clothes, auger, sled, etc.  There are also not as many places to ice fish.  While many of the larger lakes allow you to go out on the hard water, some donít and most of the small community ponds prohibit ice fishing.  This really reduces the ability get in an hour or two of fishing in the winter like Iím able to do when there is open water.

While I prefer going out in a boat or hitting the shore of a local pond, I have to admit that some of my most productive days, in terms of number of fish, have come on the ice.  Winter is the only time I really target trout, and my family has had many days approaching 100 fish up in the mountains in late December through January.  As luck would have it, though, one of the few times that Iíve targeted bass through the ice it was my mom that ended up catching her personal best largemouth last winter.

I am glad that Colorado gives us a range of fishing opportunities at different elevations and in different seasons.  And while I prefer warm water fishing, I enjoy mixing it up for a few months out of the year, sitting on a folding chair, bundled up, hoping that catching a fish every few minutes will keep me warm.

How about you?  Do you prefer one over the other, and why, or do you like the challenge of both?

Blog content © Ryan Wood
Member comments
Cichlidfish, CO   11/24/2013 4:02:24 PM
Both!!!!!!!!!! Great blog!
brookieflyfisher, CO   11/24/2013 6:14:08 PM
Ice fishing. Can't wait for an excuse to stop standing in freezing rivers chasing steel.
Troutkillah, CO   11/25/2013 4:50:14 AM
Both for sure!
opencage, CO   11/26/2013 6:16:51 AM
I'll fish any way I can. Long or short rods, hard or soft water, it's all fun. Congrats to your mom on that monster bass!
Coyute, CO   11/26/2013 8:54:23 AM
Open water is where it's at for me. I might try ice fishing again at some point, but I don't imagine it will interest me as much as open water fishing does. Nice fish! I miss be able to access that pond.
Opry99er, CO   11/26/2013 8:57:17 AM
As a first-year icer, I have to say I'm more excited to get out with a flasher and little rod on the hard water than I've been to hit open water in a LOOONG time. BUT.... that may be just that it's new and exciting. I can't wait to try it out....
westsloper, CO   11/26/2013 9:26:51 AM
Both! However I look forward to hard water season more then open water. There is something (for me at least) that is very relaxing and therapeutic about ice fishing. JM2C
boogieman, CO   11/26/2013 9:52:47 AM
I like the transitions. I feel like I have my best days open water days, the few weeks before the ice comes on, and a few weeks after the waters open up. My best hard water days are the first few trips on thin ice, and the last couple where you have to worry about getting on and off the hard water. The fight of a large fish on a long rod is exhilarating, as is trying to get a fish through 4 inches of ice using a rod the same size as the fish. This is a great time of the year I canít wait to get back out on the hard water, but in turn, Iím sure in a month or so Iíll be itching for the next transition.
Bassackwards, CO   11/26/2013 12:49:39 PM
I enjoy both. Catching a warm water species through the ice is my favorite. I will fish for trout if theres nothing else, but to pull a bass or walleye through the ice is my favorite. I always look for ward to ice season, but this next spring has really got me going. I will get a new Dobyns fishing rod for Christmas, and can't wait for pre-spawn. tell your Mom.."Sweet Fish"
Ryan Wood
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