Catching before the last ice

The last ice is considered by many anglers to be the best winter fishing time. And there is a reason: the sun warms up, the snow melts, rims appear, fresh melt water goes under the ice, and the fish from all this begin to actively feed on it before the spawning run to the upper reaches of the reservoirs. So you just need to be in the right place at the right time, and a good catch is guaranteed. But this year, and March has already passed, and on most reservoirs in the middle lane the right moment still does not come: winter does not give up.

Under the shore

However, many bodies of water have a very interesting fishing period, which often goes unnoticed. This is the exit of fish from the depths to shallow water. It begins as soon as the first melt water flows under the ice, before the formation of rims, when the ice is still thick and reliable. Usually schooling perch and roach come under the coast, less often a breeder, but bleak comes across here only occasionally. It is difficult to say for sure what attracts fish in shallow water. Most likely, it is not only about oxygen, but also about the food carried by the melt water. This is supported by the fact that in shallow water, dark jigs usually work better, while at depth the color does not really matter. The fish can go to the shallowest depths. So, last year on the Yauzsky and Ruzsky reservoirs the best pecks were at a depth of 20 to 70 cm. Of course, this does not mean that in any hole under the shore you must catch a fish: you have to find it.


The main reference point in the search for fishing spots is the coastal relief. First of all, you should pay attention to the gentle coast. At a sharp drop, the fish does not like to stand at all, but there are exceptions, about which a little later. If the shore is flat and bare, the chances of finding fish are slim; they are higher if the coastline is curved and there are bushes or driftwood along it. If, for example, a tree grows on the shore, especially obliquely above the water, its branches and leaves fall to the bottom and create shelters that attract fish.

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When searching for fish, holes are drilled, as a rule, in a chain from depth to shore. You have to start at a sufficiently large distance so as not to screw up the brace on the first hole and find out how flat the bottom is. The main thing is to understand at what depth the fish is standing. When this becomes clear, the rest of the holes are drilled parallel to the shore, keeping to the found depth. If you fish in a snag, the holes can be more chaotic. It is best to try to find some kind of stump where the fish is. In the coastal area, you can stumble upon grass. It is difficult to fish here – the hooks are constantly clinging. Therefore, you have to drill out this area in more detail in order to find either a window or the border of grass and a clean bottom. It is a little troublesome, but worth it: fish concentrate at such points almost always.

Very often, in the coastal zone, good shelters for fish are created by trunks of washed-up trees that have fallen into the water, stones at the bottom. These places must be drilled out without fail. If there are no traces indicating the features of the bottom, then you just have to drill and look for fish, armed with a good drill and patience. The fish do not constantly stay near the steep banks, but in spring flocks of leucorrhoea, primarily bream, rise to the upper reaches of rivers and reservoirs for spawning. Very often they do not go along the channel, namely along the steep banks. So, in the upper reaches of the Mozhaisk reservoir in spring, bream is caught in holes drilled just 2-3 meters from the coastline.


Whether or not bait is used depends on the fishing conditions and the tackle. If you fish with a rewinder, then you don’t need to feed, since all fishing is based on a free search. But when fishing with a bait, you should not neglect it. Food, especially bloodworms, helps to collect and hold perch in one point. Feeding is also necessary, since after playing even one decent specimen, the flock can move away. If fishing is in stagnant water, then at a shallow depth, you can feed directly into the hole. During the course, you have to use feeders or add soil to the feed.

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The composition of the bait can be anything, however, given that the fish is active, it is not at all necessary to use intricate recipes. So, for a perch, a small amount of pure bloodworms are quite enough, for a roach – a mixture of bloodworms with any basic groundbait or bread crumbs. At a shallow depth in a newly drilled hole, it makes no sense to try to catch even a perch, which, as you know, is not particularly afraid of noise. But you shouldn’t wait too long. For example, if they fish with bait, then, having drilled five holes, they are fed, and when they finish feeding the last one, the first one can already start working. Under the shore, if there is a fish nearby, it gathers for bait quickly, and if it is not there, then there is nothing to wait: in the best case, a ruff will come up in an hour.


The choice of tackle depends on the activity of the fish. If it is high, you can use lines with a diameter of 0.1 mm and thicker, even 0.15 mm. This may simply be necessary when there is a likelihood of biting large fish. This happens, for example, in Rybinka, where a kilogram of roach is caught at the minimum depth. There can be no question of 0.08 fishing line here, and when fishing for bream, 0.2 mm is often too thin. If the fish is inactive, you can try to switch to a thinner fishing line, but unlike, say, deafness, this does not always improve the bite. However, in any case, you need to have several different gears that should be tested, and if the result does not depend on the thickness of the line, then you should not dwell on the thinnest ones. There is always a chance to catch a decent fish under the shore, and it is very difficult to pull it out shortly on a thin line.

Jigs are usually used with a size of 2-3 mm. A thick hook is preferable: at shallow depths, a short line almost does not absorb, the entire load falls on the hook, so thin ones often break. It is better to use non-shiny jigs, rewinderless ones are black. If they catch with bloodworms, then it is he who attracts the fish, and the color of the bait is of secondary importance. For roach, you can plant several bloodworms: she loves overall nozzles. But the perch sometimes prefers one. When the fish takes actively, then the frayed bloodworm can not be removed, but simply annoyed with a new one. If a perch is gathered under the shore, it makes sense to fish with a spoon. Light gliding models work well here. For fishing in shallow water, you need to have a catch: with a short fishing line, very often a spoon and a jig clings to the lower edge of thick winter ice.

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Features of fishing at shallow depths

In sunny weather or with light clouds, the holes should be darkened, since a light spot at a shallow depth scares off fish. Many anglers make a typical mistake: while they are looking for fish, they do not clean the hole from the sludge, but they find it – they clean it. As a result, even an active bite quickly dies down. The only exception is, perhaps, the only fishing for schooling roach: if she is going to bait, it is very difficult to scare her. In cloudy weather, the light frightens the fish less, but it is still worth darkening the holes at such depths.

The presence of a gaff when fishing in shallow water is necessary: ​​it is very difficult to take even a half-kilogram perch without it. If a balalaika is used, the lamb on the reel must be released. Otherwise, when the bait is taken out of the hole with one stroke, it is often not possible to hold the hand and the fish beats against the edge of the hole – as a result, a descent or breakage. When they catch on a stand and need to move away, the fishing rod must either be pulled out or attached to the box. It has been noticed that a large fish takes at the most inopportune moment, and a 300-gram perch is quite capable of pulling and drowning a fishing rod. This often happens in Rybinka, but it also happens in other bodies of water: I had a similar story on Mozhaika.

Catches in shallow water are very different, including very large ones. A few years ago, at the Yauzskoye reservoir, my friends and I just caught a wild bite of a perch with an average weight of 200 g at a depth of 50 cm.In a few hours of that bite, you could catch as much as you like, so I just had to stop fishing and switch to looking for another fish.

author Roman BUTUZOV