Throughout the ice fishing season, I will try to post a weekly tip for ice fisherman. Some of these may be something you’ve already heard of, some of these might be new. If you have any suggestions or tips, leave a comment below. Everyone can benefit from learning from each other. Make sure to check back frequently for more tips.
12/12 Ice Fishing Tip
Horizontal vs Vertical
Getting stuck in a rut is a problem all fisherman run into. It is the great fisherman that knows when to switch up tactics before wasting too much time.
I have to admit, when my hands are cold and I am trying to stay warm, it’s hard to get motivated to change lures. But one thing I know is, if you are catching fish, you tend to feel a lot warmer–So I will switch lures everytime.
When fishing walleyes, one of my favorite lures is a Northland Buck-shot Rattle Spoon. This is a terrific vertical presentation, particularly when you tip it with a minnow head. I usually start with this, but if the fish aren’t responding, I will either switch colors or presentation style.
Tying on a horizontal lure can be all it takes to turn those lookers into biters. Try a Rapala Jiggin Rap. This is a classic lure that has been proven over time.
Switching between vertical and horizontal is a great adjustment on ice and will help you catch more fish.
12/7 Ice Fishing Tip
When you hear the term “Decoy,” you tend to think of hunting. Truth is, fishing IS hunting.
Most fish are naturally attracted to other similar fish. We call them schools of fish, or pods of fish (pretty basic knowledge, I know). Here is a common scenario: I am fishing for crappies, but I have nothing but a tiny jig and a tiny wax worm on my hook. If there are some crappies in the area, a crappie might come over to eat it, or it might swim by uninterested if it isn’t hungry. This happens more often than we think.
If I have another hole cut out with a rod next to me with a crappie minnow on a hook, lipless crankbait, or some other larger presentation decoy, that crappie now might visit out of curiousity, even if it isn’t hungry.
This is a fairly advanced technique/tip, but it isn’t so advanced if you break it down and think about what fish do from day to day. Next time you are out there and the fish don’t seem to be swimming under your whole. Rig up a second pole with a lipless crankbait and jig it vigorously every once in a while. You might be surprised how well it can work.
12/2 Ice Fishing Tip
You can use many different items from around the house, or at your local home improvement store. Having something between your feet and the ice can help save you from having ice cold feet…literally. Many people will use small sections of 1/2-2″ insulation, carpet squares, those little puzzle piece gym mats, vehicle mats, or anything else to create a barrier between your feet and the ice. Most of these items will fit easily into a sled style shack or even pack up easily.
The most important thing is a set of quality boots, but give an ice mat a try.
My name is Brad Bolton, a husband and father of four. I live in Minnesota and I enjoy spending time in the outdoors and also spending time with my family. If there is water nearby, I want to fish it.