Freezing fishing at Clarksville Ice Bowl

Jan. 27, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

Now I love fishing. There’s nothing like the thrill of that tug on your line when you finally get a strike after casting for a couple of hours without a bite (well at least that how it happens with me).

And I’ve loved it since I was a little boy at around 6-years-old, maybe younger.

But I apparently don’t love it as much as the folks who fished in the Ice Bowl catfish tournament this morning Saturday out of the Occoneechee ramp in Clarksville, Va.  With temperatures in the low 20s, a thick sheet of ice on the ground, and light winds out of the northwest, it would have been dangerous if not nearly impossible for me to get there anyway.

The ones that are competing planned to launch their boats before the ice storm hit, then tie them up and spend the night at the Lake Motel in Clarksville across the lake from the ramp.

Anyone who is willing to go through all that to get out in these conditions deserves to be called “fishermen.”

I will amend that to fishermen and fisherwomen if I find that any women participated. Many times women make better decisions in these situations than men do.

I know that because of poor fishing conditions on Kerr Lake, due to the muddy, cold high water with a lot of trash in it, some of the anglers had gone to other area lakes during the week to catch crappie for their bait. It will be nice to get a report later on how things went and I hope all make it home safe.

Last week I calculated that the water would rise over Nutbush Bridge based on how fast it was going up at the time, but the Corps of Engineers held it at just under 304 feet above sea level which puts it just below the road bed there.

I drove across the bridge in my car last Monday, and I must say it was strange to be there looking down at water almost level with the road where a week before I’d been able to fish under the bridge standing upright and casting my rod without touching the underside of the bridge.

Hopefully this is a good sign for 2013 and we’ll see normal water level. Maybe all those stumps and rock piles I have marked on my GPS will stay deep enough to hold fish on into June!

Kerr Lake fishing report – I have no clue.

Next week’s report – Ice Bowl report. I will be hanging out by the fire with my wife and going to a fourth birthday celebration for my grandson, John II.

Tip of the week — Take stock of any fishing equipment you need to stock up on while you are sitting at home waiting for the ice to thaw. 
Along with having the latest in fishing and hunting equipment in stock (including brand new Nitro bass boats), you can now place your Bass Pro Shops catalog orders at Vanco Outdoor on U.S. Highway 158 beside Charles Boyd Chevrolet.

You won’t need to spend for the gas to get to Concord Mills, or even pay shipping to have what you want shipped to your home.

Contact the writer by email at, on Facebook under Walt Bowen, and on twitter at @WaltBowen.