In my limited experience its the wrong time to fish a pond. Try the rivers when things get too cold but again once it start thawing and the river levels rise leave both alone as the water chills too quickly which puts the fish off.
The way i break ice upto about 4/5inches thick is with a 20lb sledgehammer head clamped onto 6 foot of heavy duty chain and thats clamped and tied to a long length of 15mm rope. Give it a good swing and away you go.
Dont worry about the disturbance as it normally does no harm i even make a few extra chucks and let the breaker hit bottom then drag it back along the bottom to stir it up.
i heard that ice breaking can kill fish from shock too, because at home i have a large pond thats about 4ft deep and it sometimes freezes over, but we never break it cos its full of expensige koi carp and we have been told breaking ice kills fish. we just put a bucket of warm water on a bit of the ice and it thawes away.
I'm no expert but the difference in volume of water between a garden pond and either a natural lake or canal are immence along with different stresss factors. For the past 30 years of which every winter i've needed to break ice at least a few times i've never seen a single fish die through breaking the ice or as Dave (fm1) suggests being hit with the breaker.
Also over the years i found that on a lot of canals in the Rugby area it is a lot better fishing after the ice has been broken.
But if it worries you then dont fish the lakes or canals during a freeze stick to flowing water and then the problem should not arise.
err... thats the problem there are no flowing waters worth fishing round here. i dont think i could feel confident after breaking the ice though...
and if u were fishing a canal shape lake about 200 yards long and 11m wide, on your own, if u break the ice surely all the fish will just disappear up the other end of the lake??
Breaking the ice will almost certainly have no affect on fish in large water bodies. However, i do not suggest you break the ice in your garden pond as you might have floating Koi!! - use a football. If you manage to hit the fish with your sledge hammer i suggest you join the circus as that would be some effort sir. Malc's comments are suspect as there are no fish in the canal at rugby - lol. What club do you fish for malc? as i live in rugby
Spot on with the no fish in Rugby canals..!!
Most of my winter canal fishing is done around Northampton and Welton.
Except the winter league which is always rock hard for most.
Last season the clubs were LMRCA (Hillmorton) and Dunchurch Social.
But the LMRCA has virtuly folded with only half a dozen members now so next season possible join Spring Street.