Jan 29, 2021Latest news

Winter roach fishing. Part 2

Why is she naughty

The glory of the cunning fish has grown behind the silvery beauty of the roach. It is believed that her nibble is extremely capricious. However, all this refers more to the fishing of small roach or to fishing in reservoirs often visited by fishermen. Sensitive, thin, well-tuned tackle solves this problem too. If you put a spider line (diameter 0.06-0.08 mm), a small jig with a sharp hooked hook, choose the right nod under the jig, skillfully put on the nozzle, – there will be very few empty bites. As for medium and large roach (up to 35-40 cm in length), then the situation is completely different: a sharp bite, which is transmitted to the hand through a fishing rod, and … often a broken hook or a line break. On large reservoirs and rivers, roach leads all winter relatively active lifestyle. And catching it is no less interesting than bream or perch, and even more so a ruff. But, as with all fishing, there are features that the angler should be aware of. Let’s consider the main ones, based on our own and noticed experience.

Under ice in winter, compared to summer, roach reacts more sensitively to fluctuations in atmospheric pressure. Fishing is more successful when it remains unchanged for several days or gradually decreases or rises. But as soon as the pressure starts to “jump”, the roach stops taking, and sometimes for a long time. This can be explained by the fact that in winter, when the adaptive functions of the fish organism are noticeably suppressed, they are very sensitive to abrupt changes in the atmosphere.

Could this not justify the fact that under the ice the roach prefers to adhere to different edges with depth differences from 3 to 6 m? At the same time, she can quickly move, depending on her health, to a deeper or shallow place. True, in winter it is easier to get food on the edges, since the simplest aquatic organisms, in turn, are also forced to adapt and look for more comfortable conditions for themselves.

In practice, it has been noticed that roach bite especially well during the period of long thaws, in cloudy weather with sleet or rain, as well as during snowfalls without wind or with a westerly wind. When frost intensifies and when there are sharp changes in atmospheric pressure, biting is quite rare. Most likely at this time the silvery beauty stops feeding altogether and is in a daze. I have been fishing roach from the ice for a long time and I must note that the state of the weather is the most important factor when fishing for this fish.


Roach has a well-developed sense of smell. With this in mind, anglers use odorous baits. If you can fish perch throughout the winter without feeding holes, then this number usually does not work with roach. The exception is fishing on the first and on the last ice, when roach rushes from reservoirs and lakes into rivers. As a bait in winter, it is best to use branded bait or wheat (breadcrumbs) crumbs mixed with ground cake. The latter, if necessary, can be replaced with toasted and ground sunflower seeds. Where there is little or no ruff, it is possible to successfully feed the roach with small fodder bloodworms. Part of it (again for smell) should be pressed down. Bloodworms are lowered into the hole from time to time in small portions using a miniature feeder. The fish usually comes up in 15-20 minutes. Throwing pinches of bloodworms into the hole is possible only if there is no current. When it is there, plant groundbait is lowered into a specially drilled hole (1-1.5 m upstream) in a feeder with small holes and a deaf constipation.

Well, if this does not suit you or you think that the feed needs to be poured to the bottom, do not forget to moisten the dry groundbait with water before lowering the feeder. In this case, the feed particles will be carried more slowly by the current. And if you add fine gravel to the bait for weight, you can form balls the size of a pigeon’s egg and feed the fish in the process of fishing without using a feeder or opening it higher from the bottom. Usually 3-4 holes are fed, taking into account the difference in depths, and from time to time they visit them, checking if the roach has approached. Sometimes a hole fed in the morning can only “work” in the afternoon. Roach feeds in small portions, but often, since it does not have a stomach. Therefore, the main task in the feeding process is not to feed the fish, but to stimulate its appetite. But let’s say you managed to attract a flock of roach to the hole. What tackle to fish with?

Fishing with a float

It is clear that at first it is quite difficult for a beginner to ice fishing to master fishing with a nod and a jig, since it requires practical skills. But the float tackle of such an angler can help out. I drilled several holes, lowered the bait to the bottom – and catch it to your health. But do not forget that if the bite weakens, it is necessary to engage in additional feeding, opening the feeder with bait approximately 1-1.5 m from the bottom, depending on the strength of the current. Too light fishing rods for fishing with a float, as practice shows, are of little use. The rod should not be very heavy, but also not so light that it can be knocked over and blown away by the wind if you put the rod on the ice near the hole. The length of the rod is determined by the taste of the angler: some like to fish short, others – longer. When assembled, a winter float rod should be compact, easy to transport and use on ice. I store float rods ready for fishing in a special case.

For beginner raftsmen, there are two main types of fishing rod equipment. The first rig is designed for fishing in low to moderate currents. At the end of the main line with a diameter of 0.09-0.10 mm, a sinker in the form of a lead pellet is attached tightly (its weight depends on the strength of the current). Above the sinker, at a distance of about 5 cm, we tie a thin leash with a diameter of 0.06-0.08 mm and a length of 12-15 cm. We take hook No. 18-17, a spindle-shaped float 2.5-3 cm long. The float and sinker do not have to be strictly balanced, since the roach that took the bait goes against the current and the bite is clearly visible from the displacement of the float. It is advisable to choose a leash to match the color of the bottom, preferably yellowish-brown tones. Biting is more active if from time to time you slightly raise the sinker above the bottom, moving it upstream. This achieves the nozzle pulling along the bottom. In addition, when lowering, a lead pellet raises a fountain of turbidity, which obviously attracts fish.

I recommend the second rig for fishing in still water. Its only difference is that the leash is set short – 2-2.5 cm, from a thicker transparent fishing line. In this case, the bite is expressed in a slight rise of the float or its displacement to the side. The float and lead must be balanced so that when the bait is submerged, the float sinks as slowly as possible, that is, it has almost zero buoyancy. Some instead of a sinker at the end of the main line put a jig. Slow play with a jig with a nozzle often activates roach biting, especially on water bodies often visited by fishermen.

source: Catching from the ice. All the secrets of winter fishing

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