Though typically thought of as a summer activity, fishing can also be a great winter activity. Whether you are cozied up in an ice shack fishing for bluegill or casting a line into an open trout stream, fishing in the winter can be a rewarding experience.
However, fish are very fragile in cold air temperatures and should not be kept out of the water for long. Please remember to practice responsible catch and release if you don’t plan on keeping your catch and release your fish as quickly and gently as possible.
By releasing your fish responsibly, you might be providing other anglers the opportunity to catch the same fish.
If you are fishing an open stream, try:
- Reducing your reel-time with the fish.
- Keeping the fish in the water as much as possible.
- Using a rubber net and wet hands or gloves (if possible).
- Keeping your handling time to 60 seconds or less and keep unhooking tools readily available.
- Cutting the line If the fish is deeply hooked.
- Treating the fish gently throughout the release. Support the fish with both hands and place the recovering fish in the water with the current, or gently move the fish from side to side.
Visit the DNR’s website for tips on how to release a specific fish species.
If you are fishing on ice, follow these safety tips and remember that no ice is 100% safe:
- Check ice conditions before you head out. Contact local bait shops and outfitters for daily updates.
- Carry ice picks whenever you can.
Always let someone know where you are fishing and when you plan to be back.