A four-day warming trend found me on the ice in central Minnesota looking for
some winter walleyes. I had heard that the walleyes were biting off the usual
points and I could see by the number of ice houses on the lake that most of the
fisherman were already on the most active fish or at least in the most prime
real estate on the lake.
I am not one of those ice fisherman that will sit and sit waiting for a bite, in
fact one might say that I am really aggressive when it comes to ice fishing.
Oh, it is true that fish are sluggish in the winter and you often need to tease
them into hitting. Perch, walleye, northern pike, bluegill, crappie, and trout
are attracted to movement. They respond to it automatically. In the warm
months, trollers and casters tend to catch more than still fisherman. In the
winter, about the only movement you can create is a vertical hop or jig, but
that is better than letting your bait hang there like so much wet laundry.
Panfisherman especially like to wiggle those Genz worms and teardrops tipped
with grubs or waxworms. Originally, most panfishing was done with light lines
and small bobbers. Anglers bounced the bobber up and down on the water, then
waited for the fish to bite. Many of these fisherman couldn't detected even the
Always adjust your ice fishing presentation to the fish.
For instance if you have all the right conditions for a good bite (fish
showing on the sonar, stable weather, and rumors that fish are biting) use a
technique that will work on aggressive fish.
One of my favorite aggressive fish tactics is to take a
Techni-Glo Frostee, Techni-Glo Flyer or a Ratt'l Spoon and work that rod tip
so the lure has a very erratic action. Hop, skip, and bounce that lure. When
an aggressive fish hits the bait you'll feel it. If the fish are in a neutral
mood they will often hit a bait so lightly that you don't even feel it. Scale
down the rod and line size to compensate for the light bite. I might go to a
reel that has six-pound test Stren Magnathin or even a four-pound Easy Cast.
Lures for ice fishing are like the stars on a clear night,
they seem to be infinite in numbers. Even in the summertime, my local bait
shop devotes a whole wall to various sizes and colors of Fat Boys and
Techni-Glo Rattl'n Hookers. Most lures are designed to be fished with live
bait. The lure attracts the fish while the bait satisfies the fishís sense of
taste. One only has to look at this combination to realize that a jig on the
end of a pole needs to be moved around if it is going to act as the attractor.
Never spend too much time in one place. When it requires
some effort to make a move sometimes it's just easier to sit and wait for the
fish to come to you. With all the innovations in ice-fishing gear making
anglers more versatile and more mobile, it makes sense to have an attitude
that will have you moving, searching for active fish.
One Sunday afternoon last year, I went out on my favorite
large lake in Minnesota to find on one side of the lake fisherman were
catching nice walleyes using spoons tipped with redtail chubs. Yet on the
other side of the lake the fisherman were just sitting and waiting for a
bite. I told them how the action was on the other side of the lake, but most
of them didnít budge. They either didnít believe me or maybe they werenít
interested in catching fish.
Fisherman that are interested in catching fish use
aggressive tactics for those walleyes, especially when there is hard water all
around. If you would like to hear more about fishing on frozen lakes drop me
a line at
www.walleye.info. Hope to see you on the water soon!
Whether you are in the states of Alaska,
Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa,
Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado,
Indiana, Virginia, California, Nevada, or New Jersey, there are fish to
If you are in one of the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Yukon, Northwest
Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Quebec,
there are fish to catch.
You might be trolling with cranks as your lure of choice. You might be
jigging with jigs. Youíll probably need rods, reels, some live bait
(crawlers, minnows, leeches), sinkers, leaders, and fishing line. More
often times than not, it takes a boat to get to those spots, as well.
Maybe you will be fishing from the bank or wading, however.
You may need fishing reports or maybe even a fishing guide.
This website will try to help you achieve the goal of catching bigger,
better, and more numerous fish.