Apr 13, 2021Latest news

The choice of the reservoir. Part 1

When you are going on your next fishing trip, every time you have to decide which body of water is best to go to. On some of them ice sets faster, on others – later, and some sections of rivers and canals may not freeze at all. It is advisable for beginner fishermen to make their first trips to the ice under the guidance of an experienced mentor who knows when and where to catch this or that fish.


Ponds are usually referred to as relatively small artificial reservoirs, built by the construction of earth dams and dams. For the winter fishing fisherman, first of all, flowing ponds feeding on the water of small rivers, as well as streams and springs are of interest – here the oxygen regime after freeze-up does not so significantly affect the activity of underwater inhabitants. Due to the first ice, the ponds are attractive mainly for two reasons. First, in contrast to large water bodies, strong ice sets in them much earlier. After all, it often happens like this: you come on a tip from word of mouth to a river reach or a reservoir, and there it is just right to catch with summer tackles. And here a nearby pond can help you out. Secondly, many fishermen, as I noticed, specially visit such reservoirs in order to work out the technique of fishing from ice, forgotten over the summer, to check the tackle and equipment in business.

At the beginning of the winter season, of course, you can also have fun when eating undersized perch or ruff. But if you’ve never caught good fish in a seemingly unattractive dam, I think you should reconsider your views on the specifics of pond fishing. The species composition of the ichthyofauna of the overwhelming majority of ponds, as a rule, does not differ in noticeable diversity. And although in the same Moscow region there are plenty of such reservoirs (only within the capital, according to some sources, there are about 300 of them), you will not often find prestigious fish here. Now it is difficult to imagine that in the old days, zander hunters chased circles in the Lublin pond, in Borisovskoye they caught pike in pounds, and in some ponds that communicate with the Moscow River, asp was found in abundance.

As for the regions adjacent to the Moscow region, the picture here is not as rosy as we would like. The appearance of noteworthy fish in orphaned ponds and ponds is more an accident than a regularity. In floodplain ponds, for example, it most often settles during the spring flooding of rivers. However, it is usually caught in the same summer by local fishermen or poachers with seines and “spiders”. When fishing from ice on such reservoirs, one has to be content mainly with perch, roach, and much less often with medium-sized pike. The reservoirs of fish farms are also not very suitable for winter fishing, where they are engaged in breeding mainly herbivorous species: carp, silver carp, grass carp, etc. The only exception can be made for carp. For example, I know for certain that on some ponds of the Voronezh region in the winter (on vouchers) they successfully catch it with a brush of bloodworms, using fresh cake as a bait. Moscow carp anglers are also making attempts to master this fishing.

A completely different matter is the “cultural” ponds assigned to fishing and sports societies. Here, not only are they regularly stocking fish, but as far as they can, they protect the fish from the encroachments of poachers. For more than ten years now I have been a member of one of these societies, numbering about a thousand fishermen, and I do not remember a case of returning home without a catch. The society has two ponds at its disposal: one is home to pike, perch, roach; in the other – carp, crucian carp, perch. The choice for a winter fishing angler, to be sure, is not so hot. However, the soul can be taken away, especially on the first ice. Of interest are also “wild” ponds, remote from megacities and densely populated areas and lost in the wilderness, among the impassable roads. In them, you can still count on catching not only small fish, but also respectable individuals.


Not much different from ponds. Although the word “dam” itself implies the presence of a dam or other hydroelectric structure, allowing to block the flow: a rivulet, a stream, a spring spring. Ponds can also be created by filling them with melt or ground water, as a result of which we have a closed artificial reservoir. In winter, dams formed by damming small rivers may be of greatest interest. There is always movement of water and fish, as a rule, do not experience oxygen starvation.


Deep-sea sand and peat quarries are not the worst category of water bodies for both non-predatory and predatory fish. Distinguish between floodplain, connected with the river, and out-of-floodplain quarries. On large reservoirs of this type, there are even fishing and sports bases with boat stations and biotechnical activities are carried out. Most of them are ownerless. Since quarries are developed for the purpose of excavating soil or peat, rather than creating artificial reservoirs, their banks are often neither picturesque nor convenient for fishing. On the other hand, quarries, as a rule, have an uneven bottom, and peat ones also have a snag. And these are exactly the places where pikes, perches, rotans, rudd are found. And of course, crucian carp. In quarries, there is usually an abundance of forage fish: verkhovka, gorchak, minnow. And if there is enough food, then career predators multiply quickly and, with the confluence of other favorable conditions, they can please you with a good catch, especially on the first and last ice.


There are fish lakes that look more like seas. For example, Baikal or Ladoga. There are very small, lost in the wilderness of the lake, fishing in which can also bring you a rare joy. I quite often had to catch lake fish. An unforgettable experience was left from fishing on Lake Baikal, lakes of Siberia, Lithuania, Belarus, Novgorod region. In my opinion, it is advisable to subdivide lakes into flowing and closed ones. Since in this case we are talking about fishing from ice, then, first of all, we are interested in flowing lakes, such as a cascade of lakes in the upper reaches of the Volga (Vselug, Peno, Volgo) or lakes with tributaries and sources of rivers. The fact is that in winter, with the growth of the ice shell, lake fish seem to be replaced. Either it does not show signs of life at all (in stagnant water bodies), or it is grouped in areas where the oxygen regime remains relatively safe.

If this is your first time on the vast lake, it will not be easy to spot fish sites. In such cases, it is best to seek advice from local anglers. They are well aware of the catching areas during all periods of the ice season. Well, if you intend to carefully study the reservoir yourself, you need to pay attention to such common truths as: there are no depths near a gentle coast and, conversely, a high steep coast indicates the presence of coastal depths; seamounts, various hillocks and navels can often be identified by snags, reeds, reeds, and bushes protruding above the ice surface. But it also happens that there are no visual signs. In this case, you should resort to using an echo sounder or depth gauge.

author – Kazantsev V. – Catching from the ice. All Secrets of Ice Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)

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