Although the waters around Cape Cod are close to barren in the winter there are still some viable fishing options. Many Cape anglers switch their focus from saltwater to fresh. There are many ponds on the Cape that receive a healthy stocking of trout and a few of them also get spawned out Atlantic salmon. If the weather permits you can usually find a limit of very nice trout in ponds such as Peters (Sandwich), Mashpee Wakeby (Mashpee), Big Cliff (Nickerson State Park in Brewster), Johns, Ashumet and Grews (Falmouth) and many more. The freshwater bass fishing is excellent in many of these ponds, also.
In very cold winters there is even viable ice fishing in those ponds!
Hardy fishermen may opt for overnight trips on the party boat Helen H out of Barnstable and similar operations out of nearby Plymouth, heading for Georges Bank to fish the deep water for cod and haddock. This is obviously not something for the casual angler and serious preparations must be made but the pay-off is delicious fresh fish from the cold Atlantic waters.
The possibility of success is highly variable from year to year but a small contingent of anglers explore certain waters all winter long in search of holdover schoolie stripers. The marshes of Sandwich and Barnstable get most of the attention and some years it’s possible to catch a few fish. They will be small and light tackle is used but catching a striper in January or February goes a long way toward scratching the fishing itch!
Fortunately the winter doesn’t last that long on the Cape compared to northern New England and by March, striper fans are already considering trying traditional early season spots like Popponessett Bay, upper Cotuit harbor, upper Pleasant Bay and some of the estuaries just off Cape in Wareham. Chances of success are small but even just getting out there on a warm late winter morning and taking a few casts means the Spring can’t be far away.