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Changing Conditions for Iced
By Colin Crawford
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 season. 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 share one thing in common, and that
is 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 it 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. For example, I spend a great deal of my summer
on lakes around the Phelps, Wis. area. 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,
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 in putting on the next size
bigger treble hook. This additional size hook allows me to put the
||I also use a handheld GlobalMap
100 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 right 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.
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 the 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.
If you are interested in reading more about walleye fishing and other
Therefore, Lindy Little Joe has added the fish-attracting power of
glowfluorescence 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.
stories that use a variety of techniques log onto www.northwoodsfishing.net.
Hope to see you soon on the net. If you are interested in a guided trip,
a personal media interview, or photo shoot, please call 715-545-8347. I
am located in the Phelps, Wisconsin area
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