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St Croix Icefishing lure staples. (pictures)


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sausageman

Because there are a lot of people fishing the St Croix for the first time, I thought I would post some pictures of my "go to" lures for the past couple years.

Set line

The first is the old river standby. A plain red hook, a moon glow, or in this case a Genz bug with a crappie minnow. All set up with an Ice Buster slip bobber. This is my least favorite way to fish, but at times is really good.

Target fish is crappies mostly. (caught walleye, sauger, and catfish also)

IMG_1075.jpg

Fiska/Skandia

The second crappie presentation are tungsten 5mm Fiska/#10 Skandia jigs tipped with wedgees or maggots. Let the fish decide if they want plastic or live bait. I probably caught 85% of my crappies last year on this set up. 2 lb test with a pink St Croix spring bobber

Target fish Crappies (however I caught white bass, walleye, sauger, perch, bluegill, smallmouth, mooneye, and catfish on this set up while fishing for crappies.)

IMG_1080-1.jpg

Buckshot Rattle spoons

Early season these were my "go to" lures. They seemed to cool off just a touch but are still producing. Works best where there is little current. These buckshot rattle spoons have really come through for me this year. These are 1/16 and 1/8 oz. That gold/red spoon is on it's third treble hook because of the many many hook removals from old clamp jaw...the channel cat.

Target fish: Walleyes, saugers, catfish, white bass, mooneeye and big crappies. Tip: Tip with minnow head...if into the white bass, tip with a bunch of maggots.

IMG_1083.jpg

Jigging Raps

When the fish are "on" the white/glow #3 jigging rap will get more fish on the ice quicker then most of the other presentations. Tipped with a medium minnow head the white #3 jigging rap is a gem. A couple years ago I caught 90% of all fish on this set up. If it swims in the Croix I caught it with this baby. Tip: I always use a bearing swivel tied about 2' above the rap to prevent line twist.

IMG_1078.jpg

There are probably other lures or presentations that really produce out there, but these are the ones I have experience with. If you have a lure that is your favorite, let me know. I'm always looking for another arrow in my quiver.

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  • sausageman

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Thanks for the great post SM. Now I won't have to pimp you for those hot baits and tactics anymore. smile

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i see you cut off the front and back hooks off the jig raps does that help from catching the ice or is it they never hit those hooks

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sausageman

jdog

Yes that is the only reason. I must not be very coordinated because I lose about 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 fish at the bottom of the hole. I also up sized the treble hook.

Rumor has it if you ice fish with the Griz and he sees that you have both the front and back hook he will immediately clip off those hooks.

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Sounds great Sausageman.

Now if anyone is ever looking for a partner to hit the Croix with this winter, let me know.

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You can buy Fiskas online. However tungsten Skandia jigs can be bought at Fleet Farm or Vados Bait shop. Fleet Farm has them for $2.19 Vadoos Bait for $1.99.

If you see Fiskas make sure they are the "Wolfram" jigs these are the Tungsten line of jigs. In the slow current areas of the St Croix a friend of mine has had good luck with the Bro's Mud bug tipped with a Wedgee.

Good Luck

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I have been on there web page If i see it right that is the price for just 1 jig... Thanks For the info on the jigs I am going to have to give them a shot

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JR tackle also makes some tungsten jigs that are good for river fishing. Thorne Brothers had some last time I was there.

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croix walleye 6

fleet farm has the bros. mud bugs which are pretty similar to the fiskas. they only have a few selections on colors though. they work good but you have to go down to a spring booober rig or a veryyyy sensitive rod to see the bites on the finicky days. the fincky days are more common then the good days. the good days they will hit anything.

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Mearnsquail

Nice rigs SM. Looks great except...MONO!..Puleeeze. It's 2010. Haven't you heard about Powerpro, Fireline, etc. I thought I taught you better than that. And you want me to fish with you?

Mearns

(Now try the quote button)

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MONO!..Puleeeze. It's 2010. Haven't you heard about Powerpro, Fireline, etc. I thought I taught you better than that. And you want me to fish with you?

Mearns

(Now try the quote button)

Mearns....LOL

Try fishing outside with powerpro in below zero weather. Tried Fireline twice per your recommendation...didn't like it. If you can outfish me the next time we are out......I'll change. wink

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right on man, picture tutorials are always stellar. I never get bored of seeing how other folks rig up, especially for a place like the croix. great information

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SORT OF AN UPDATE:

Last year I was fishing for crappies outside on the Croix near a guy that was using minnows. I was having a good day and was catching about 8 crappies to his 1. Well after about an hour he walks over to me and asks what the h$#5 I was using. I pulled out my box of fiskas and wedgees and showed him the system. I let him use some of my jigs and wedgees and soon he was catching fish.

I just left my tackle box between us to make it handy for the both of us. That evening I left my tackle box worth hundreds of dollars there on the ice. The next day this guy goes back to the same spot and finds it and returns it to me the next time I see him. (about a week later) As a reward I just opened my box and said take what you want.

Long story short...He cleans me out of glow white 5mm Fiskas.

Fast forward a year. Joel calls me tonight to ask how I have been doing on the river and to catch up. I asked him how he's been doing on the Croix. He tells me that a week ago he caught 30 crappies many small ones but about 8 keepers. His last outing he said he caught about 20 crappies...but again a lot of small ones but six keepers.

Of course I ask him what has been the hot bait this year and he told me he caught 1 crappie on a minnow and the rest on the white glow fiska with a white or yellow wedgee tail. I told him he's doing better then 99.99% of the people out there including me.

I'm glad to see someone is catching fish.

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SM,

Have you've been out for crappies lately?

Turk

No, I haven't. Been fighting bronchitis and a sinus infection for the last few weeks. The only time I got on the Croix in the last couple weeks I went searching for "fresh water" for walleyes and sauger. The areas I was catching fish are now getting pounded because of easy vehicle access.

While searching for new water...I did catch some keeper crappies, white bass, mooneye, perch and bluegills. I'm hoping that the fish will be more cooperative in Feburary/March.

Have you been out?? Now that you know how to post pictures you can post some of your HOT lures!!!

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Could you possibly post a picture of how you use the wedgies on a jig? Thanks

Sorry it took sooo long to get back to posting a picture of a Fiska and a wedgee.

The last time out I up-sized a bit and used a 6mm Fiska with just the tail of a Jumbo Nuggie. I caught some nice crappie and white bass with very little fishing time on this setup. Here's what it looks like.

IMG_1087-1.jpg

As a comparision I took a picture of the 5mm Fiska with a wedgee tail along side of the 6mm Fiska and a Jumbo Nuggie tail

IMG_1088.jpg

I'm going to try some other things that I think have a lot of potential and that is adding a Fast attach to my buckshot rattle spoons.

I saw it on In-Fisherman last week and I thought it could solve some problems with light biting fish. The basic setup looks like this

IMG_1089.jpg

Now here comes the ingenious part....when baiting the hook....you remove the treble hook from the fast release and shove the shank of the treble hook up the back of the head of the cut minnow through the mouth... and reattach it to the fast attach. Like so....

IMG_1090.jpg

I hate it when I don't think of things as simple as this.

What this does is make it almost impossible for the fish to bite it and not get caught. I couldn't believe how hard it was to remove the minnow head from the treble hook. Anyway...I'm patiently waiting to make it back on the river with my new presentations. I'll post on how I do.

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sm, that does look like an awesome, simlpe, why didn't I think of that idea. Thanks for the great tips/ideas.

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sm, i have been using skandia and fiska jigs this winter. i have had a problem with them being too heavy for the spring bobbers on my st croix rods. any suggestions?

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Let me guess..you have the orange spring. You need the pink spring bobber.

The orange spring bobber works with little jigs but are too senitive for the heavier fiskas/skandia jigs.

The pink spring bobbers work for 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm fiskas plus the #10 Skandia's. I was in Thorne bothers and they were out of the pink. You may have to order online. SM

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actually i do have the pink spring. i have the choke up all the way on the spring to make it work. im using the size 10 skandia jigs without a sinker. is it possible the spring is worn out?

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do they have this device at fleet farm?Im headed to thorne brothers.... Someone should have thought of this along time ago.

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actually i do have the pink spring. i have the choke up all the way on the spring to make it work. im using the size 10 skandia jigs without a sinker. is it possible the spring is worn out?

I have two pink springs and both work fine. You want the spring to bend down about 30 degrees so that you can detect an upward bite. If it is pointed down that's not a good thing. No sinkers needed with the tungsten jigs.

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do they have this device at fleet farm?Im headed to thorne brothers.... Someone should have thought of this along time ago.

Are you talking about the fast attach??? If so I know for sure Thorne Brothers has them.

I am also going to try out the buckshot rattle spoon with the Hali Dropper Chain. Same concept except it hangs down a little farther. I wasn't going to post it until I had a chance to try it. Here is what it looks like.

IMG_1093.jpg

I curious to see if it hangs up with the line or not. This setup is cleaner looking then the fast-attach. To me this is the fun part of fishing.

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AuggieDawg11

I really like that spoon set up. I have heard of guys actually using a 3" leader tied to the spoon. Wish I would have seen this before I went to Thorne Bros. today.

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Well I made it out fishing yesterday to try the fast attach. The fast-attach is a good idea, with a big but. It isn't quite as simple as when I did it in the kitchen. I think I need a longer shank on the treble hook and a better method to thread it throught the minnow head. I have an idea, but I'm going to try it first before I post it.

When I did get it right...it worked great. I caught some very small sunnies (5-6 inches)on the buckshot rattle spoon with fast-attach, which I don't think I could have caught rigged normally.

As far as a fishing report, I had a hard time getting on fish in the morning. Spent most of my time moving around hole to hole with little to show for it. A small sauger, some small bluegills, a small white bass, and a 10" and a 10 1/2" perch. (all caught on a buckshot rattle spoon with fast/attach) Around noon we had enough at looking at a blank screen and started looking for crappie.

The first spot we tried we found a few marks and fished this area for about an hour. I think I caught one 10 1/2" and a smaller crappie.

The second spot we tried was better and I was marking fish and baitfish almost continuous. I tried buckshot/minnowhead, fiskas with maggots/plastic with little to show. All I caught was a 10" crappie. Out of frustration, I took just a minnow head and threaded it on the fiska ant and promply lost two 11 inches at the hole. Then I tried rigging the fiska with a lively crappie minnow and I caught five 10 1/2 to 12 1/2" crappie. The fish were getting aggressive so I switched to the buckshot because it fishes faster. Caught a 12 1/2 and some 11 inchers.

When I left at 4:40 pm I had 15 keeper crappies and two perch. Obvious, it was a minnow day.

I am positive if I had fished two lines I could have gotten a limit of crappies. I stopped carrying my set line rig because I haven't had much success with it this year.

Unfortuntely the whole minnow appeared to be the steady producer today and I was caught out on the ice without the proper rig.

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