Ice Fishing It Is


ice fishing, delaware, sussex county, becks pond, kent county
Ice Fisherman on Beck’s Pond … photo from Jeff Wildonger

We get nasty weather every winter but we don’t always get the prolonged cold like we did way back in the day.  In the late seventies I can remember winters like this when we had some crazy blizzards.  Ponds would freeze and for a good part of the winter you could skate on them, in one area it was the best way to get around the neighborhood.  This latest storm i took off from the normal routine of running around and taking pictures.  I knew it was going to clog up roads fast and not go anywhere for a little while.  This was not going to be the one to two day snow events.  This was here for several days, and part of my driveway is a four foot snow drift.   Roads around me have eight to ten foot piles of snow pushed of by DelDOT crews.  This was not a “normal” snow storm.

On top of the snow,  the week long plus arctic cold snap has really iced over everything. The Delaware bay and Chesapeake bay have huge ice packs on them.  Areas are filled in with huge pieces of pancake ice, like the Harbor Of Safe Refuge.  A lot of people are walking on this ice which is fine if it is sitting on the bottom, but not at all when it it floating.  If the pancake flips or tips you are going into the water.  Please be safe and smart when near this ice.

Rosedale Beach Crabbing pier on the Indian River
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Walking out to the light house is not a good idea at all.  Last time this happened, I watched two people journey towards the lighthouse on pancake ice packed together like it is now.  It looked solid since it was sitting on the bottom.  Once they reached that point where the harbor of safe refuge has the drop off for the channel.  They almost flipped a piece of ice when they crossed onto it.  They would have wound up underneath it, had they fallen into the water.  The pancake ice piece was the size of a small car.  When they got back up to the lookout area in Cape Henlopen they were surprised the ice could move like that, they thought it was one solid sheet.  Nope, the bay does not freeze over like a lake. Winds and tides will move these ice packs back and forth and all around.  Winds will push it against the edge of the shore and stack it up.


fox, otter, frozen water, delaware, sussex county, tidal creek, reeds, marsh animals, winter feeding,
Nature continues despite the frozen waterways. These 2 foxes are looking for lunch, the otter is trying to avoid them while looking for his.

The only fishing going on is the occasional person venturing onto a northern pond and ice fishing. If you can find some open water at a spillway you might get into some perch in Milton or Cupola park in Millsboro.  Maryland anglers are cutting holes and pulling yellow perch.  Many of them are fat with eggs for the spawn.  Delaware has a few ponds that are okay to walk on, but you should check locally before you even try.  Maryland has a list of safe ice for fishing and skating.  You might be able to get something at Masseys Landing in the clear water and even the Indian River Inlet.  There is very little open water otherwise.  Most drive on accesses are closed since plowing roads is more important.  Winter has socked us in big time with this storm and these long term cold temperatures.

Fish On!

Rich King




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