A growing, winter, pastime for anglers in North America is ‘micro fishing.’ It targets dace, darters, minnows, and sculpins — among many other varieties — and has been an increasingly popular technique across the globe. Originating in Japan, it has been sweeping the United States as many try to extend their outdoors experience.
As the name implies the goal of ‘micro fishing’ is not hooking a monster. This means bragging is a little different as total species caught is more impressive than size. Most everything about the entire experience is unique.
One thing that does stay the same — at least at the onset — is the gear you will need. If you fly fish for small trout, you are going to have the basics. You will need a small lure — a nymph will play — line, and any rod. Literally. A broken rod tip. Stick. Ice fishing rod. Nothing fancy here. Line and lure.
The limited cost of entry is part of the initial attraction.
It also makes it a good way to introduce younger children to the outdoors. As you get more into the hobby, you will need smaller gear. You can also upgrade just like any other fishing investment. Those purchases are likely going to have to be an online order from Japan since they do still dominate and market on this style.
Now, you are in for something different than you are used to.
Evening fishing isn’t just for catfish anymore. Or bullheads, for that matter. While those are the main catches people will target in the evening and at night, both are warm weather species and at this time of the year not likely to be in any sort of abundance to catch. They are also not micro fish.
Also, while micro fishing can be a year-round activity it lends itself to the winter time. In most states, and Northern Hemisphere locations, it is still getting dark and cool much closer to 530pm. That early evening allows for this to be a family-friendly experience. It is made better if you are in the Pacific Northwest, where sculpin are in large supply, though they are also in Europe and Asia. It is also in contrast to summer, when the days are warmer and longer. You are going to have to wait until 9pm or later truly enjoy the sport and that certainly makes it hard to bring out a youngster.
Skip ponds and lakes
You can start your adventure in the same waters that you would fish for trout: clean, cold water. Usually that is moving slowly, especially for micro fishing. Ponds and lakes are going to be too warm for many of these species but not all of them. That said, a headlap and a walk along the bank is likely going to illuminate plenty of targets.
There are anglers who will roll microfishing into their ice fishing experience so, ponds and lakes. Since you can use an ice fishing rod it would make it easy to do, but that is for another article.
Success is nearly assured
Most species that you will catch early in your micro fishing experiences will be pretty aggressive. That also makes it more fun if you bring the family. If there are fish, there will be a catch. Sometimes it will be as simple as drop the lure near, and bring it in.
Bring your camera because you will need the pictures. Also, with micro fishing, you aren’t taking anything with you. It is all catch and release. It is important to be mindful of basic safety principles as well as local regulations.