Angling in December

Spawning season salmon and seatrout

November 15 marked the end of the fishing season in the rivers of East Jutland. Now salmon and seatrout are left alone to do their job – to spawn and secure another generation of salmonids.

The River Guden has good numbers of spawning grounds for seatrout that like to spawn in the smaller tributaries of the main river. Amongst these tributaries the River Lilleå produces about half of all the seatrout in this, the longest river of all Denmark.

As for the salmon, they are in for a tougher time. They require larger water with coarser bottom to spawn succesfully and this they do not find any lomger in the River Guden. Their main spawning grounds are at the bottom of the artificial Lake Tange, covered by a thick layer of mud.

The future of Lake Tange and thus the salmon population of the River Guden is being debated right now. So far the politicians have decided upon prolonging the working period of the hydroelectric power station Tangeværket by another two years.

Pike and pikeperch in winterclear lakes

It is now high season for pike and pikeperch in the lakes of East Jutland. These predatory fish really thrive in the cold waters of December where frost has killed off a large percentage of the algae, making for clearer water.

All predatory fish species benefit from the less turbid water but especially the pike and pikeperch feed voraciously now and may again be caught on artificial baits that they had no chance of seeing earlier on in the algae infested waters of summer. Now trolling again becomes a productive way of fishing – and an interesting one.

Large Rapala and Bomber wobblers are good bets for artificial baits in December, red and white Hi-Lo wobblers also. The latter may be adjusted to fish high or deep in the water depending on prevailing conditions. Typically pikeperch stay in deeper waters during the hours of daylight. When the sun sets they move into shallower waters or rise towards the surface to feed. Adjust your wobbler accordingly and catch fish!

Julsø, Brassø and Lake Borre are amongst the favourites when it comes to pikeperch fishing in the Lake District of East Jutland. If you are looking for a monster pike, Silkeborg Langsø, Lake Fussing and Lake Glenstrup are good bets.

Overwintering seatrout in brackish waters

Water temperature is now getting closer to the point where seatrout in saltwater do not like it any more. Those immature seatrout that haven’t already left the ocean for the freshwater and spawning grounds of the rivers now start looking for the brackish waters of more secluded bays.

Fish that have been stocked on open shorelines with no rivers in the immediate vicinity typically return to the place of stocking when they become sexually mature. Often you may see coloured fish jump clear out of the water on warm and quiet December days spotting a mirror-calm surface. These fish are usually difficult to catch – unless you fish with small drab coloured flies on long leaders with light tippets. You need to fish your flies s-l-o-w-l-y in the month of Christmas!

The Bay of Mariager is a good bet for saltwater seatrout in the cold of December. At the bottom end of this long and narrow bay you will encounter silvery and immature seatrout as well as dark fish preparing for spawning. The latter are illegal prey from November 16 until January 16 and must be released unharmed no matter how big. Only silvery seatrout with loose scales and exceeding 40 cm may be taken.

The Bay of Kalø at the northern end of the Bay of Aarhus is yet another good spot for overwintering seatrout in the salt. Along the open shores of Djursland seatrout are getting scarcer as most fish have now left the salty ocean and entered the Channels of Kolindsund or the River Guden further up north.

Canonball Christmas Cod!

Coastal cods are in peak condition in December. They are well fed and preparing themselves for the spawning season ahead. They typically start spawning sometime after New Year, depending on locality, salinity and water temperature.

The coastal waters of December usually have a temperature a little too cold for comfort – for cod that is Therefore they move into deeper and warmer water where they prepare themselves for spawning. They still feed but don’t do it as voraciously as earlier in the year.

Quite often you will experience quiet and cold days where cod are not the least interested in the silvery pirks and spoons normally used. On days like that you should search your tackle box for artificial baits in red, orange and yellow colours – preferably small flies or supersoft jig tails that are often taken eagerly by the very same cod that completely ignored your larger pirks and spoons.

In the waters between Hjelm, Sletterhage and Samsø you can normally find cod that are willing to cooperate. if you prefer fishing more coastal waters, the outer piers of the Harbour of Aarhus is a good bet for wintery cod. These fish all make for some great eating when back home in your kitchen!

© 2023 Steen Ulnits