Cape Cod has some amazing fishing year-round. Even when the winter hits, it's possible to keep fishing as long as you make sure to keep yourself warm and safe.
If you want a challenge or something different, ice fishing could be a fun change for you. Be aware that it’s not always possible to get out on the ice (especially on milder Cape Cod), as it has to be around 4 or 5 inches thick to be strong enough to hold you safely. But if you’re lucky enough to be there when the weather is cold enough and the ice is thick enough, here are the best places on the Cape to go ice fishing.
Peter’s Pond, Sandwich
Ice fishing on Peter’s Pond is just as much of an adventure as fishing in the summer. You never know if you’re going to catch a yellow perch, brook trout or a brown trout, so you’ll stay on your toes.
The pond is stocked with both brown and brook trout during spring and fall. It’s best to fish along the near-shore drop-offs, where it’s easier to set your tip-ups or use the holes for jigging for perch, trout or even smallmouth bass.
To catch trout, you’ll find that worms and powerbait work best, while bass fishing would go better with live shiners. You may find that you catch pickerel, perch and sunfish in abundance when working with worms.
Stop at Forestdale Bait and Tackle if you need to get more bait or any other fishing gear. If you’re looking for a home-cooked meal, then pop-in at Marshland Restaurants & Bakery on 6A in Sandwich, where you can try the popular Poppy Bagel McNagle.
Wequaquet Lake, Barnstable
Wequaquet Lake provides anglers with fishing opportunities all year round. If you’re fishing here during the spring, summer and fall months, you’d need to take your boat as you’ll find fishing from the shore is limited to the town right-a-way or by the boat ramp area.
With a variety of fish, anglers will find this to be one of the best fishing spots for largemouth bass. You can fish for northern pike, yellow perch, brown bullhead, white sucker, black crappie, chain pickerel or banded killifish. Once the temperature drops and the ice sets in, you’ll find that lake is a popular spot for catching pike and largemouth bass.
To have a successful day fishing, you can use buzz baits, spoons, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Once the ice has set in, you may also see anglers using herring to lure the pikes. To catch the largemouth bass you may have to switch to using soft plastics and swim baits.
If you need to stock up on live bait or soft plastics, stop at Sports Port Bait & Tackle. When you take a break from fishing, pop-in to Gannon's Tavern and try their mouth-watering Reuben with onion rings or a pulled pork sandwich.
Cliff Pond, Brewster
Anglers looking to catch trout will find Cliff Pond to be a piece of paradise, as it’s the most heavily stocked lake and you’ll be able to catch rainbow, brown and brook trout throughout summer into early fall.
There are plenty of opportunities for anglers to catch brown bullhead, smallmouth bass and rainbow smelt. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across an American eel, which can grow up to 46 inches long.
During the summer months into early fall, you’ll have to get creative to lure the trout out from depths of 40 feet, and as the temperatures drop you’ll find them at various depths from 10 feet to 20 feet.The best bait to use to catch trout would be small spinners, smelt streamers or narrow spoons.
For any of your bait or tackle needs, you can stop in at Eastham Ace Hardware. When the hunger sets in, you can take a short trip to Ocean Edge Resort’s new Frost Bar, outdoor winter dining featuring private igloos, great cocktails and local seafood.
Ice fishing may not be the first thing you think of when considering what to do in Cape Cod during winter. But if you can find a great spot, gear up at one of the bait and tackle shops, and grab a delicious meal between fishing sessions, it could make for a fun and productive activity.
Remember that you’ll need to get a fishing license before you drop your line into any of these ponds. Also, don’t risk it if the ice is less than 4 inches thick - there’s plenty more exciting activities to do while you wait for safe ice!
About the author: Kenneth Reaves has been a professional angler for over 20 years, and enjoys a bit of relaxed ice fishing when the weather turns cold. Apart from being out on the water (or ice), he loves sharing his knowledge and passion over at Perfect Captain.