Lodging food and more
Changing Conditions for Iced Walleyes
By John Campbell
As winter ice fishing progresses some tactics have to be changed. Early
in the season the action is fast and as the ice gets thicker and the days
colder the fish have a tendency to slow down and move. In fact, in most
bodies of water mobility is crucial if you want to stay on fish. Fish small
lakes at the beginning of the ice fishing season and move to larger lakes
later in the ice fishing season, where there is more oxygen in the water.
In addition, smaller lakes freeze sooner thus extending your ice fishing
Structure is as much the key to success for the ice fisherman as it
is for the open water angler. Structures take many different shapes, but
they have one thing in common, and that is that they differ from the surrounding
bottom enough to be noticed by the fish. The most common and most recognizable
piece of structure is the point of land that extends from shore out into
the water. Points create a raised portion of land beneath the water's surface,
making them different from the surrounding bottom. These points extending
from shore may be classified also as bars or reefs. Sunken islands and
rock piles can also be ideal fish holding
areas, and areas where you want to concentrate your efforts. Pieces
of structure found in a migration route created by current from a nearby
river that flows into a lake, can offer a choice hunting ground for walleye
seekers, in winter as well as summer.
When I am looking for a lake to ice fish, I like to go to a lake that
I am familiar with. I know where the dropoffs are and the weedbeds, but
probably the most important structure are the rock piles. The early winter
pattern will have the fish moving around in the shallower water and they
are still aggressive and feeding, but it's not like you can just drill
a hole anywhere and catch fish. Therefore, I also use a handheld GPS to
find the location during the summer and fall months and
mark these areas so that I can return to them during the wintertime.
Effective scouting may require drilling a lot of holes. If you fish a weedline
early in the year it might take several holes to find the area the walleyes
are in, and of course they move along the weedline so it is important to
stay with the fish as they cruise the shallows in search of food.
This additional size hook allows me to put the head of a fathead minnow
on and still have plenty of play in the hook to jig a natural action and
increase hookups with additional space between the shank and the barb of
||Fish the Lindy's Veg-E-Jig^(TM) along weedlines, weed edges and pockets.
The front eyelet position and slender profile allows the Veg-E-Jig^(TM)
to slip through all weed vegetation without the
frustration of snags. Jigging ice-time walleyes is the most deadly
method of all, if done properly. Proper size, color selection and action
all come into play.
Early season fishing I like to use a Lindy Pounder jig in chartreuse
or silver and black and this past year I really liked using the rainbow
trout color. I also spend a little extra time to put on the next size
bigger treble hook.
It is a good idea to keep your jigging action down to a minimum. But,
you also have to respond to the mood of the fish. Jigging action combined
with the sound of rattles has also been a new innovative method that has
really worked well. For this I will put on a Rattl'r spoon. This added
sound and vibration many times attracts fish when they are turned off with
other bait presentations. Always remember these walleyes want an easy meal.
Light conditions and weather are two over looked aspects of early ice
fishing. Weather and time of day affect walleye activity in winter much
the same way they do at other times of the year. As you probably already
know, in the summertime most walleyes feed during low light conditions.
The light gathering qualities of the walleye's eyes are far superior
to that of the baitfish they prey upon. Naturally the walleyes use this
as an advantage and feed during the dim light periods. Likewise, during
overcast days they tend to bite more than during high skies and bright
sunshine. Keep in mind that small diameter line will work best in these
light conditions especially Stren 2-4 lb. test line.
Therefore, Lindy Little Joe has added the fish-attracting power of
glow fluorescence to its popular Fat Boys, Flyer and Genz Worm ice fishing
jigs. Available in four living colors, these Techni-Glo^(TM) jigs are
essential for fishing dingy water, at night or when fish want that
"something extra." Techni-Glo^(TM), give them a try, you will up your odds
by trying something the fish have not seen.
If you are interested in reading more about walleye fishing and other
stories that use a variety of techniques log onto www.walleye.info.
to see you soon on the net.
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