ICE FISHING TIPS
The first thing to do to target fish under the ice is check around and see where they have been biting. This doesn’t mean I’m going to fish there. I figure if the word on the street is that fish are coming from an area, it’s a safe bet there will be a lot of people fishing there. I’m going to target a spot that is similar to the location where the fish have been active. Let’s say the hot spot is a big weedy area and the edge of the weeds near a point has been producing well. If there is another area like that on the lake, I’ll be there. I also want to know how deep, on what, and at what times of the day have been best. Believe it or not the bite can be a short duration deal on a specific bait, and you had better be in position then, or you’re out of luck.
Mobile anglers target their fish with a sonar. Try a colored flasher to find the fish and use a flasher to guage the reaction of the fish to the bait. Here’s How.
Drill some holes in the area you plan to fish. Drop the transducer of the flasher in each hole and look for fish. In shallower water it’s hard to target fish on the sonar but you can get an idea of the bottom type (sand, rock, mud) and how deep you are. When you drop the lure down the hole it also shows up on the sonar. You can watch as fish swim up to the bait. They will either look and leave, or swim up and take a bite. If you have a lot of look and leavers, you’re doing something wrong and need to change baits, colors, action, and just experiment. You see that getting the right combination of fish-triggering factors together requires some experimenting as with all types of fishing. The sonar is probably the most important tool for mobile ice anglers because it gives them the ability to target actual fish.
The next most important tool is the auger. You have to drill a lot of holes. Fish concentrate in holes, dips, along weedlines, and around cover and you have to find the spot where these fish are concentrated. Just drilling one or two holes won’t give you enough locations to check to increase your odds of finding fish. Mobile anglers typically opt for a gas or electric auger. You want something light, but strong, that will cut holes quickly. This means keeping the blades sharp and equipment serviced to propers specs. Use some of these tips to enhance your next day out on the hardwater and you should see an increase in fishing activity.
LOCATING NORTHERN PIKE
Northern Pike: Warm water – faster retreive, Cold water slow troll and retreive. Early spring – fly tackle, 9-11 wt fly rods, wire leader or hard mono leader. Large streamers and very large bass flies. Medium size Pike frequent the weedlines at aprox. 10′ depth. Troll or parallel cast, lure should just “tick” the weeds. Fish weeds that are in patches not thick weed. (open pockets in weed area). Fish underwater bars and sunken islands with sparse weed cover.
Large Northerns will be found in areas that harbor small fish (food). Best time early morning and dusk. Try in the shadows of docks, trees, etc. in the early AM. Late Fall fishing, Northerns scatter to all parts of lake near some type of structure. Early Fall look for long Cabbage type weeds. Spring try 10′ deep water with #3 Mepps rigged with a worm and usual lures. Summer ( June On ) try live minnows, fish on the bottom. Cast and troll deep water side of structures with daredevils, Mepps, Canadian, or Flatfish or fish the bottom with live bait.
WALLEYE FISHING STRUCTURE
Main-lake bars attract walleyes all summer if perch or other forage are present. Check weedlines on points, offshore humps, and shoreline breaks, concentrating on turns, points, and pockets. Rocky hard-bottom breaklines attract shiners and other crevice dwellers, especially where shallow meets deep with a hard-bottom area in between. These classic spots with small, less-distinct breaks often are neglected by most anglers.
Narrows between masses of water create current that funnels plankton from shallower more-fertile bays into deeper open water. Forage species like shad, minnows, and perch collect on lips, weedlines, breaks, rocks, and other features where the neck widens. Points and bars with sandgrass provide a prime haunt for forage-size perch and other prey. Look for sandgrass on sandy flats where other plants can’t grow, or on outside weedlines where larger plants don’t shade the sandgrass. The largest points extending into the main basin are classic areas.
The heaviest concentration of walleyes hold near the most extensive rocky breaks or hard-bottom areas, but smaller groups roam weededges or smaller patches of gravel or rockpiles along the point. Weedlines at night draw walleyes, which during the daytime are shallow and deep, to the deep edge near necks in or around shallow bays and along main-lake bars or points. For a chance at a trophy, try longline trolling with minnow baits, like a Rapala, Rogue, or a Bang-O-Lure.