Lodging food and more
Late Ice Fishing is the Best
By Sam Anderson
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
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.
Although many structures ( such as points) can be visually located
even in winter, others like sunken islands or underwater rock piles can
be difficult to find because of your limited mobility. The need to
drill holes to fish greatly reduces the amount of area that the winter
angler can cover in a set amount of time.
When late season walleye fishing gets tough I will use a hand held GPS
Lowrance Finder unit and find that specific piece of structure. Some
companies even have a hand held depth finder that will shoot through the
ice and eliminate the need for drilling unnecessary holes.
|This is where technology is helping the ice angler out. The use
of a depth finder and a GPS unit is essential for fishing on the ice.
I know that I spend a great deal of time on the water in the summer time
and when I find a piece of structure that has all the elements of good
ice fishing structure, I will put it in my LCX-15-MT
Your lure selection might also have to change. Right now
on many lakes the favorite is the Pounder and the Fat Boy (both made by
System Tackle, a Lindy-Little Joe Company), which have a flat profile that
reflects a sonar's signal easily. They are also made a bit heavier
so you can stay in contact with the bottom. Attach a head of a redtail
chub, or a shiner and it will have a natural scent as well as added flash.
This will simulate a wounded minnow and turn those inactive fish into active
One more type of lure that suspends the rate of fall is the Jigging
Rapala. This type of jig has a swimming action and it darts as it
falls. This will give the fish an impression that minnows are darting
and swimming towards them and escaping from them and it will trigger a
response from those finicky walleyes.
Another tip to remember is to be conscience of the size of your
bait. The old adage that the "larger the bait, the larger the fish,"
will hold true, but if the fish turn off, try a smaller size and you might
Line becomes an important variable in late season ice fishing.
Light line is good in early ice, but I prefer to switch to the heavier
line in late season, due primarily to abrasion on the ice hole.
Also because northern pike frequent walleye hangouts and this added tensile
strength will give me an edge. I usually use Berkley Trilene XT 8
lb for these late winter excursions spooled onto a good spinning rod that
allows me adjustable drag, because one never knows what monster will decide
to take your lure.
Late season you will experience reduced prices on tackle and
lodging, uncrowded lakes, a slower pace and more personal services.
The ice may be a little thicker but the walleyes are going to be to hot
to handle. If it does get to hot to handle, let me know by dropping me
a line at www.samanderson.com.
Hope to hear from you soon.
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