There’s Still Lots of Time for Ice Fishing

February 17, 2015 by  

By Bob Jensen

 

In some of the places where people go ice-fishing, a few of the ice-fishing seasons are starting to wind down, or in some places, they’re over.  Walleye season closes in some areas, but there is still lots of ice-fishing to take advantage of.  As the ice-fishing season winds down, we need to make some changes in our approach if we are going to be successful.

Perhaps the number one change we need to make is to get away from the crowds.  Lots of anglers in the same area over a period of time will slow the bite.  They’ve caught many of the fish that were there, and the remaining fish will be pretty educated when it comes to eating your bait.

On some lakes, there are very distinct locations where the fishing pressure is high.  Maybe it’s a tradition: Maybe that truly is where the bite is best.  You will do well to get to the edge of that area where the fish might be less spooky.

Big Stone Ice 2015 021

Keep moving to find the fish on late ice, and once you find them, try different presentations until you find what they want.

Also, remember that, although all the pressure is on a very good spot, you might be better off going to a spot that usually isn’t so good, but also has less pressure.  There might be fewer fish there, but if they aren’t getting pressured as much, they might be more willing to bite.

Don’t get locked into one lure presentation.  Buck-Shot Rattle Spoons are walleye catchers everywhere in the winter, and oftentimes one or two particular colors are more productive, or at least appear to be more productive.  When the word gets out that, say perch color is the best, that’s usually what everyone uses, and if that is the color that everyone is using, that’s what all the fish are going to be caught on.  This time of year try a different color, one that the fish haven’t seen so much, and you’ll get bit more often.

Be willing to scale down.  With the abundance of tungsten available now, you can find a small jig that fishes larger.  You can effectively use a tiny jig, which is often more appealing to finicky fish, but that tiny jig is still easy to use because a tungsten jig is heavier than a lead jig of a similar physical size  Give Northland’s Banana Bug or Mooska Tungsten jig a try:  They’ve been outstanding lately.

Don’t get locked in on catching one particular specie of fish.  Sometimes late in the winter one specie of fish will be more willing to get caught.  Chase those guys.  It’s a lot more fun to catch a bunch of perch than not catch any walleyes.  Whitefish, where they’re available, are also willing biters late in the winter.

Believe your depthfinder.  If it shows fish down there, do what it takes to catch them.  Try different bait styles, colors, sizes, put a different action on the bait:  Give the fish a reason to eat your bait.  Usually, not always, but usually, eventually they’ll see something that they like and will eat it.

By the same token, if your depthfinder shows nothing that resembles fish life, move to another hole, and keep moving until you find an area that has fish.  You can’t catch fish if there are none around.

As the weather warms in the next few weeks, the ice-fishing can become very pleasant.  If you keep these ideas in mind, it can also be very productive.

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