by Tim Moore
Most years I have been on the ice, somewhere in the White Mountains, fishing for early season trout long before now. That hasn’t been the case this year because Christmas day felt more like early fall than winter. Not only was there no white Christmas, but it was 60 degrees in southern NH. I love to fish and couldn’t take it anymore. I hadn’t wet a line in weeks, which for me is an excruciatingly long time. I know it’s just a matter of time before winter arrives, and as I write this it looks like it’s finally here, but I needed to get on the water. So, I planned a kayak fishing trip for the day after Christmas with fellow Tim Moore Outdoors guide, Chuck Fritz.
We decided to fish Pleasant Lake in Deerfield. Pleasant Lake is well-known for its crystal clear water. When the wind isn’t blowing you can see the bottom in more than 10’ of water. While we both love to catch fish, catching wasn’t as important as simply getting on the water and fishing. We met at sun up and were greeted by a gorgeous sunrise. We unloaded two of my Old Town Predator kayaks, loaded them up with our fishing gear, and headed out to see if we could get some trout to bite. We had a chilly start, with air temperatures in the upper 30’s and water temperatures at 39.2 degrees, but not cold enough to chill our spirits. Once the sun rose above the tree line it brought with it warming rays that offered much needed warmth on a cold morning.
We spent the morning paddling around, trying different lures, and fishing different areas. No fish were caught, but we did see a few trout cruising in shallow water. The lack of fish caught was of little concern and truth be told, I spent more time just enjoying being on the water than I did actually fishing. Several times I caught myself not paying attention to my rod, distracted by a bald eagle sighting or the stillness of the morning.
Late season kayaking offers some unique challenges because many lakes are lowered in the fall. Some lakes are lowered six feet or more to accommodate extra water from spring snow melt. Lowered water levels can leave launch sites high and dry, if not completely inaccessible.
Since our kayak fishing trip, winter has arrived. The temps are getting colder and we have even had our first snow of the season. It won’t be long before our lakes and ponds will be frozen and kayak fishing will turn into ice fishing. For now I will begin the task of putting all of my kayak fishing gear away for a long winter’s nap, and making sure my ice fishing gear is ready for that first trip.
Tim Moore is a year-round professional fishing guide in New Hampshire. He owns and operates Tim Moore Outdoors, LLC and guides ice fishing trips on Lake Winnipesaukee. He is a member of the New England Outdoors Writers Association and the producer of Tim Moore Outdoors TV. Visit www.TimMooreOutdoors.com for more information.