Just off Route 66 in Middlefield, Connecticut, lies a 116-acre impoundment named Beseck Lake. A bustling lake in the summertime, Beseck is much less utilized for winter activities. This comparatively small and often overlooked lake can play host to some excellent ice fishing opportunities on years that are cold enough to produce fishable ice. While most of Beseck’s shoreline is private, ample parking and public access is available via the state managed boat ramp on the eastern shore of the lake. To locate the boat ramp, take Route 66 in Middlefield to Route 147, following it for about 1.5 miles until reaching the ramp parking area on the right hand side of the road.
Beseck Lake provides ice fishing opportunities for a wide variety of species. Panfish jigging enthusiasts will find bluegills, black crappie, yellow perch, and white perch. Those who prefer to soak shiners and chase flags can expect to catch largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and even northern pike. While Beseck Lake was never intended to be a part of Connecticut’s northern pike program, some of the fish were illegally transplanted into the lake many years ago. Because this lake is not managed for optimized northern pike conditions, the fish tend to be on the small side, but nevertheless provide an opportunity to cross this species off the bucket list. I have personally landed pike to 31 inches in Beseck, while hearing rumors of much larger fish from some of the lake residents.
It is not necessary to pull the sled very far to find good fishing this lake. The main basin of the lake is of a fairly uniform 15 feet of water, but ice anglers should concentrate their efforts on the areas where the shallows of the shoreline slip away to that 15-foot depth. The bathometric chart of Beseck clearly shows that the bottom contour lines are the tightest along the eastern shoreline of the lake, signifying the most rapid change in depth. It is no coincidence that this is where I have experienced the most success when ice fishing this lake. Try running a string of tip-ups along and just inside of the 15-foot contour line, setting them a fair distance apart to better locate some active fish. Largemouth, pickerel, and pike will all cruise this contour line, with action coming in brief flurries throughout the day. Another spot to try is in the southeast corner, in the cove where the lake’s dam is located. This little cove features the deepest point of the lake, but one should take caution when the lake is high enough to create a flow of water over the dam, as this localized current can create patches of dangerous ice. Never venture too close to a dam on any lake, unless you know for certain the ice is sufficient to support your weight.
While waiting for the flags to pop, try jigging some of Beseck’s tasty panfish. Large schools of assorted panfish love roaming the depth break on the lake’s eastern shore. I have had the most success jigging small spoons such as the Northland Buckshot jig, or the classic Phoebe spoon, both tipped with spikes or mousies. While not as abundant in this lake as yellow perch, white perch will make some guest appearances if you jig long enough, some of which are of truly behemoth proportions. Make sure to cover some ground if you are not having success jigging. Sometimes it is simply a matter of locating a school that is in a biting mood. If you find yourself wracking your brain for somewhere new to try this ice season, don’t hesitate to give Beseck Lake a look, as you might be surprised at how productive it can be.