Beckmans New Line of Ice fishing
Click here for more info
here to order new Walleye Hitch cover
Church Tackles new Double Action
here for more info
here to see new Mark Martin & Randy Tyler Bleeding Bait Hook Kit
Lodging food and more
Click on image for more info
Beckman Nets Now on Sale
here to order
Walleyes Inc. affiliate
Trolling or Holing?
by Mark Martin
The in-between season as winter approaches might mean open water or
ice. Be ready to go either way when the weather can, too.
With the way the weather works in the northern climes, you never know
what the tail end of fall and the onset of winter will bring. Sometimesit’s
warm enough for open water. Other times it’s cold enough for ice. Then
again, you might get a boat out one day and find ramps sealed the next.
All of which is why, when it comes to walleye fishing, I’m ready to
do whatever it takes to get on fish. Troll a line or drill a hole—either
end of the spectrum is possible. For last-chance walleyes in open water,
trolling day or night with long, thin stickbaits is one of the most productive
methods for big walleyes on the feed before winter. In the event of ice,
however, I don’t stray far from the spots that last produced before hard
water, and I jig them with a subtle motion that
matches the walleye’s mood.
Right about now, the weather can go either way. You can, too.
Going for a Troll
Cold water has long had a reputation for necessitating live bait for
walleye. But with the emergence of tournament fishing in the frigid waters
of April and with all the time I’ve spent stalking walleyes year-round
near my home, outside of Muskegon, Michigan, the efficacy of minnow baits
is undeniable. Cold water in spring or fall makes little difference—it’s
still cold water.
With the thin minnows, I’ve caught walleyes with water temperatures
in the low 40s, even in the high 30s in December. The reason I like thin
minnows in such conditions is due to their light side-to-side action accented
by a roll around a center axis. No other lure supplies the key cold-water
ingredients of Normark’s Rapalas. When the water is in the 40s, Rapala
Husky Jerks are excellent trolling baits, particularly for Great Lakes
walleye. When the temperatures, though, hover in the low 40s or even dip
into the 30s, I like the even more delicate action of Rapala’s Original
Minnows, floaters that dive slightly when trolled and wiggle just right
— which is hardly at all at speeds of 1.0 mph or less.
One of the best bites occurs anywhere is in November and beyond on the
Great Lakes. Trolling inshore areas around pierheads and river mouths
with Husky Jerks behind planer boards puts more and bigger fish in my Lund
than any other pattern on earth. This time of year, the fish move shallow
in a trend similar to spring movements, when baitfish are in close and
walleyes start running rivers.
To set lines and divide up the water column, I like to stagger the distance
I’m running the Husky Jerks behind the boat. For instance, with No. 10
and No. 12 Down Deep Husky Jerks, I’ll put one lure out 10 feet behind
the board, the next 15, another 20 and another 25. This way, I’ll be running
four different depth levels to better zero in on the fish. For colors,
I try to match Great Lakes forage with silvers and blues. New for 2004
will be the holographic Glass Minnows from Rapala in Down Deep models.
here for more information and to
order Church Tackles Walleye Board
and Flag system
|To run two lines per person and get lures away from the boat in increasingly
clear, zebra-mussel-filtered waters, I turn to Church Tackle planer boards—the
Walleye Board, in particular, because of its size to plane away from the
boat and provide resistance necessary to put hooks in fish. For nighttime
trolling, Church Tackle offers a handy glow stick than can be attached
to the boards for seeing strikes
The electric excels especially for night trolling, either on the big lakes
or on inland waters, for slow contour trolling. My electric motor is run
by Trojan batteries, which show no diminished power in cold weather and
will last longer than you’re able to fish given the conditions. At night,
and water temps that slip toward 40 degrees, I’ll use the Original floaters
from Rapala in size 13. When I put the lure over the side on Berkley 20-pound
FireLine, I go just fast enough to make the lure wobble. To the Rap, I
add a strip of WTP Inc. reflective
|My trolling speeds are about the same on and off the Great Lakes. I
like to troll slowly, keeping my speeds around 1.0 mph on my Lowrance GPS.
I’ll troll with my Mercury kicker motor most of the time for Great Lakes
fish, but when a number of boats are working an area or at night,
I’ll switch to the quiet power of my electric motor.
tape to the sides of the lure, and I put a ring around tail and head
with glow paint to help the walleyes zero in on the lure. Another trick
to trigger strikes is to slowly ease the lure forward and drop it back
on a semi-tight line—a move that often gets following walleyes to bite.
Going to the Hole
Aqua Vu Ice Pro System
|Following walleyes are by no means relegated to open water. When I
start ice fishing, I watch the walleyes under the ice—and coming to my
bait—on an Aqua-Vu underwater camera in the DT Series, an indispensable
device that gives depth and water temperature. More than anything,
though, I’m able to watch walleyes come in for a look at my bait and
adjust my jigging motion accordingly.
The spots I choose at first ice are remarkable similar to the ones I’ve
fished in open water. I like to take waypoints from where I’ve caught my
last open-water walleyes and return to them. In open water, too, I rely
on electronic contour maps in my Lowrance from Navionics. Navionics maps
give contours on your GPS units, and the same points and humps that are
noted on the map—and last produced in the fall—are the first spots I check
at first ice.
|With a Jigging Rapala, to which I add a minnow to the middle treble,
I’ve found by watching the camera that a light jiggle is all the action
necessary. Twitch the lure too hard or drop it to bottom, and off the
|But since mobility is somewhat limited in ice fishing, I wind up drilling
a lot of holes with my StrikeMaster auger, which has the gasoline power
to drill plenty of holes along a contour line or hump from shallow to deep.
Also, before a lot of snow gets on the ice (and even when it does), I tame
the slick conditions with Get-a-Grip treads by StrikeMaster, which make
it easy to keep your footing and drill plenty of holes. Meanwhile, for
electronics and lights inside a my Clam Corp. Fish Trap, a highly portable
shanty that accommodates all your gear in its sled design on your way out
to your fishing hole, is another Trojan Battery, the VRLA Super-Gel Cycling
Series. Which way you go now—to open water or ice—is largely out of your
It’s in Mother Nature’s, and it only makes sense to play with the cards
she deals you. Troll if you can or jig if you must. Either way, you’ll
be well on your way to walleyes.
Chip-In's Island Resort & Casino Presents
Second Annual Bay de Noc Big Walleye Ice Fishing
Vacation 4 days 3 nights ~ February 8-11, 2004
Classroom Seminars * Lodging * Meals
Ice Fishing on Bays de Noc * Many Giveaways!
Professional Walleye Anglers
Kim "Chief" Papineau - Storm Angler of the
Mike Gofron - PWT Champion
Mark Martin - Rapala Angler of the Year
Daryl Christensen - Super Pro Winner
Ross Grothe - NAWA/Cabela's Angler of
$425 per Person (only 84 openings)
Includes lodging, meals and guides.
All participants receive a fishing rod and
For more information or to register,
call Debbie Wickstrom at 800-682-6040
/ 906-466-2941 (Casino) ext. 220
Sea Anchors Click
here to enter
New Drawing Started
here to win a pair of Walleye Planer Boards to be given away every
Mystic Moose Lodge Hayward Wisconsin located in the heart of the Chequamegon
National Forest on beautiful Moose Lake.
Chamberlain South Dakota
Clix Banner Exchange
Walleyes Inc. website is maintained
Tyler Fishing the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Circuit, Masters
Walleye Circuit and the Wal Mart RCL Circuit. All rights reserved.Copyright
Please visit these site sponsors
R-A.M Mounting Systems,
boats, Mercury Outboards,Bedford
Sales , Church Tackle, Panther
Webfoots body sock,
Rigs Tackle ,Dual Pro Charging Systems,
Rods and Reels,