Monday, February 24, 2014

Dead Valley

Matt taking a look below with the Marcum on a slow day on The Valley.

When: Monday, February 17th, from 7am until noon
Where: Round Valley Reservoir
What: Ice Fishing with Matt and Joe C.
Weather: Cold, sunny and a little breezy. Bluebird skies. 17 degrees warmed to 29 at noon. Winds NW up to 13mph and gusting to 34mph.
Barometric Pressure: 30.34in and rising
Relative Humidity: 30% at mid-day
Sunrise: 6:50am
Sunset: 5:36pm
Moon: Waning, 2 days after full.
Water Conditions: Frozen on top. 11 inches including the frozen snow and ice. Water was crystal clear and 34 degrees off the bottom.

There are two highlights of every winter for me.

The first is taking my sled and tip-ups and out, usually sometime in December, in anticipation for the upcoming ice fishing season.

The second is putting them away.

At this point, I've had my fill of ice fishing and I'm ready to go back to chasing muskies. I don't generally target them through the ice because first off, it can be incredibly boring. Secondly, I prefer to catch them on artificial lures instead of live bait.

That being said, I tried to keep things interesting and hit Round Valley on President's Day with Matt and Joe. I had never ice fished "The Valley," and the thought of getting some underwater footage in the gin clear water sounded like a stellar idea. It was indeed pretty cool checking out the camera with the incredible water clarity, but we just didn't see any fish.

Not one.

Not even a perch, or a rock bass, or even a sunny.

The Valley was dead.

Joe and I were in the same boat, and after 5 hours without a flag or a tap on the jigging rods, we headed for the barn. My previous two trips were painfully slow, and I wasn't about to go turning this into a long fishless day on the ice.

Matt was a trooper and stuck it out, but the action didn't improve.

It was my first skunk of the ice fishing season.

So as I sit here on a Sunday, having not fished in 7 days and with February coming to a close, I'm faced with a decision. Another cold blast seems to be in the cards this week and open water seems weeks away. I can stick it out and do some more ice fishing or I can try to find another way to wet a line.

Not fishing really is not an option, but I just don't know what to do.


  1. I love reading your blog. For the Union area where do you think will be good spots for panfish all summer, or do even lakes like Echo get too hot and nasty by June? Would you eat panfish out of these lakes or avoid them?


  2. Thanks for reading Steve. I don't eat fish really, but plenty of the lakes have panfish. Lower Echo Lake is a good one and I've caught panfish from Nomahegan, Lenape and Rahway River Park Lake on St. George's Ave in Rahway. I know they drained Nomahegan, but I've caught a bunch of sunfish since they refilled it.