January 3 2017

Wintertime Trout Fishing on Cape Cod


Andrew Burke

Hello everybody! I hope you had a great holiday season, and have been able to get on the water!

Despite the cold temperatures, the freshwater fishing on Cape has been very consistent. Small minnow-style lures and metal spoons have been producing trout on the stocked ponds of Cape Cod.

Normally, I prefer to use lures when targeting any fish, but lately I've decided to try a new strategy for catching predatory fish during the winter months: live bait...


Using Shiners for Winter Fish

By no means is this revolutionary information, but shiners fished under a float have been producing fish consistently as the temperature drops. Additionally, live shiners will catch just about anything that swims in Cape Cod's kettle ponds, making for great multi-species fishing! 

The rig is simple: a 2/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook with a bobber about 16" above it. Any style bobber will do! I haven't experimented much with other hooks, but I've had consistent hookups and zero gut-hooks with the Gamakatsu 2/0.

Additionally, any functional freshwater setup will be just fine for this style of fishing. No fancy gear required!

This is also a very easy form of fishing. If you're in the right place at the right time, it won't take long to get a bite. 

Targeting areas in close proximity to deep water will also increase your odds. The state of Massachusetts provides topography maps of it's major ponds to help you find deep water. Simply Google any pond stocked by the state, and it should be among the top results. 

Video Recaps!

Below are some video recaps I've made of my recent outings using shiners. The past few days have been solid, catching rainbow trout, brown trout, and very well-fed yellow perch. 

In Conclusion

Despite the cold temperatures, there's still a real opportunity to put a bend in the rod on Cape Cod.

One thing I've noticed over the past few days is the fish aren't very responsive when the sun is high in the sky. We had a spell of relatively warm weather (by warm I mean not freezing LOL), and as I mentioned in the video, the trout are most willing to bite as the light fades. 

In fact, during these trips most of the action occurs within a 45 minute window around dusk. 

As for pond choice, the larger the better. Ponds that have a reputation for producing holdover brown trout are your best bet, considering they have the resources to sustain larger fish through the winter. 

In all, this is a very simple technique you can use to catch fish during the winter months. It's not the most exciting form of fishing, but it certainly feels good to have a tight line!

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year! Excited to see what 2017 has in store for the fishing community on Cape Cod. 

What do you think?

Let us know by commenting below.

  • Good information Andrew! I can’t say I’ve ever targeted trout locally, so this was really educational for me. Are you aware of a specific time frame that the trout are stocked? I know on Martha’s Vineyard it tends to be late spring to coincide with a kids fishing derby.

    • Noted! I’ve recently realized how fragile these trout are, and have made adjustments in their handling, including handling them with wet hands, and keeping them in the water. Won’t happen again!

      • I like to stand in the water and grab them behind the head, squeezing the gills lightly.. I use a popsicle stick with a notch cut into the end as a disgorger and use bigger hooks than one would think.. the bigger hooks seem to end up in the mouth a lot more than the smaller ones

        • I’m certainly give that popsicle stick device a whirl! And the big hooks help a lot for sure. I started using a Gamakatsu 2/0 hook last year and haven’t gut hooked a single fish. Also a good hook for wacky-rigging senkos for largemouth in the spring! Thank you for the advice!

  • Andrew great info,I live in South Wellfleet from April to December have a small centerconsole at the harbor would like to hook up with you when your around Wellfleet.Being retired I have plenty of time to fish,looking forward to more articles come spring. keep in touch…………….Mark

  • Great report Andrew. I’ve caught some big fish in that pond! I usually head to the left of the boat ramp though. There is also a real nice hole in the next cove. Drive past the entrance to that beach and the next parking area on the left there is a path that will bring you to it.

  • Good to see some action this time of year Andrew. I’ve used live smelt when ice fishing in NH on Lake Winnipesaukee. Also used Shiners when fishing for holdovers on the North River but because of the brackish water they don’t live long.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like

    This trip came together somewhat last minute, with my father finding out that a friend of his had a rental house in

    Read More

    Over February vacation this year I was lucky enough to sneak out of cold and snowy Massachusetts and visit Key West. Before

    Read More