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Going Fishing In the Snow

Fishing in the Snow

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Ice fishing yellow perch

Brian Knippers caught this white perch in a snow storm. When those low pressure systems roll through the fish always become active. Later my buddy Ryan and I were fishing in white out conditions and we couldn't see each other 20 feet apart checking traps.

2008 Brian Knippers licensed to About.com
Our rare snowfall a few years ago excited everyone that didn’t have to get out in itbut it gave me a chance to go fishing in the snow. Beautiful and disruptive at the same time, snow on the ground is not that common here in our area. In a way I find that disappointing. I always wanted to hunt deer and go fishing in the snow.

A few years go we almost had snow during deer season. It snowed on January 3, just two days after season ended. I had about four inches of powdery snow on the ground at my farm and thought it would be perfect for deer hunting.

I walked around out there several hours two days in a row, just looking. Although I found squirrel, raccoon, bird and dog tracks everywhere, I never found a single deer track. I never saw a deer, which is not surprising.

Snow on the ground always made me think I could track a deer and sneak up on one. Maybe. You can see a lot better through the woods with snow on the ground but so can the deer. I would like to try it again.

I did get to go rabbit hunting many years ago with snow on the ground. My friend A T had a pack of rabbit beagles and we hunted every Saturday during season. That year we had an unusual snowstorm and the ground in McDuffie County was white for a few days, including Saturday. A T didn’t want to take his dogs out in the snow so we went to try to walk up rabbits.

At one of our favorite spots, a field with lots of brush piles around it, we had one of our best days ever. It seemed every brush pile we kicked produced a cottontail. We both got our limits of rabbits that day, something we never did with dogs. I guess the snow had them concentrated in thick brush and the snow made it easier to see them and shoot them.

Fishing in the snow is a different matter. Many fishermen think snow falling helps fishing. The low pressure that produces snow is much like a rain in the hotter months and fish seem to respond to lower pressure by feeding.

The best trip I ever had in the snow was back in the 1990s during Christmas holidays. I think we had a white Christmas that year at Clark’s Hill but I may be a day or two off, my memory about weather is not as accurate as my memory of catching fish, I think.

Christmas Eve I had found fish feeding on a sandbar at the mouth of Germany Creek. There were largemouth, white bass, white perch and hybrids eating shad on that sandbar. I could drop a spoon down and hook something on almost every drop.

The next morning I woke up and my boat had about six inches of snow in it. I managed to clear a small place to stand at the trolling motor and went out to the sandbar. Fortunately it was only about 200 yards from my dock.

The wind had gotten up and it was very cold. The snow flurries didn’t last long but I did fish for a short time in it. And I caught fish. I have pictures of bass, white bass and hybrids laying in the snow in the boat. When I hooked one I just threw it in the snow in the bottom of the boat, instantly icing them down. I couldn’t put them in the live well anyway, the lid was frozen shut.

The clouds cleared out within two hours and the fish quit biting as soon as the sun came out. I caught them as long as it was cloudy but the rising pressure and clear skies ruined it. It was just as well since I had to come in and get cleaned up to go to my brothers’ house for lunch.

I have caught bluegill in my pond in the snow but this year they seem to be in hibernation. A few years ago my upper pond was frozen over solid. I always wanted to go ice fishing so I walked out on the end of the dock and punched a six inch hole in the ice with a piece of pipe. The ice was way too thin to walk on.

After dropping some fish food in the open water I baited up a hook with a piece of it and dropped it through the hole. I caught a couple of small bluegill that ate my bait. They didn’t fight much and I was able to drop them back through the same hole they came out of after unhooking them.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you snow, go hunting or fishing!

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