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Whats everyone's thought on Pike bait. I have only used suckers ever pike fishing and have had good luck but I haven't brought up a pike in the Mankato area this year yet and in the winona backwaters we have had 20+ flags a day with suckers. I like to tip up fish between 8-12 FOW but haven't experimented with 12-20 FOW but I've heard only good things. I seem to have the best luck on Frances with the suckers about 6" under the ice. Contrasting that in Winona we had much better luck with baits about halfway down or between half way down and the bottom. How do shiners work? What FOW do you prefer and where in the water do you place your bait (right under the ice, halfway down, on the bottom? Is dead suckers worth using (considering im a poor college kid frown who can't afford bait everytime I've started to freeze my suckers and going to try to use them. I've used them in the past a handful of times but only at times of when im out of live bait and already on the ice with a few suckers that have died during the day but I hadn't caught anything on them.

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I have my best luck jigging them with a pretty flashy spoon and a minnow head or tail for scent mainly. Tipups have not produced too well for me.

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if u can find shiners go with them. Bring some suckers also and see which work better. i usually do better with shiners

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I have had several hits on tip ups with bigger suckers on this year but keep losing them either on the hook set or when bringing them back to the hole! frown My favorite bait however is (was) frozen smelt but I was under the impression that you could no longer use smelt due to recent regs changes unless it is prepared by a DNR approved process (not sure what that is). I don't know how or where to find smelt prepared that way. I asked somebody on the pike forum and got no response.

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Have you tried a Quick strike rig for the tip ups?

Yes, you can use the deads suckers as pike can and will cruise under the ice for anything.

I do believe one can use smelt f they are preserved in salt. I have not lokked in the regs but I am sure it is rtalked about or someone else can chime in that knows much more on this subject than I.

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I have had several hits on tip ups with bigger suckers on this year but keep losing them either on the hook set or when bringing them back to the hole! frown My favorite bait however is (was) frozen smelt but I was under the impression that you could no longer use smelt due to recent regs changes unless it is prepared by a DNR approved process (not sure what that is). I don't know how or where to find smelt prepared that way. I asked somebody on the pike forum and got no response.
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I have had good luck on smelt, suckers and shiners. Can't say which one produced more fish since we usually only have one variety at a time, but the hog in my profile pic has a 10" sucker tail sticking out of her mouth. Mostly used smelt until last year when the laws changed but on LOW we did just as well with suckers. We brought 3 gallons of suckers and half our fish came on dead ones.

As for depth, I have caught pike in 5ft out to 30. I find they tend to cruise a little deeper this time of year, moving shallower as the end of season comes since they are staging for spring spawn. We usually start with our rigs running shallow to deep then start relocating them as we find which depth is producing. Good Luck

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Use a quickstrike rig, the dead sucker will end up getting soft. If they are frozen they might hold together better though.

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Or you could float some of them my way smile Ive always used quick strike rigs so that you can hook on both ends helps hold them together better and you don't get the bite off's you would if the pike hit one side. They get kind of soft after thawing in the water.

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Can someone explain this quick strike rig. To my understanding its just a tip but with two separate lines where the hook(s) are where one hook is between the dorsal fin and head where the other is placed behind the dorsal fin by the tail? I've always just used one treble hook (with a spinner to legalize it as a lure) and hook them behind the dorsal fin so the bait will have to work to stay parallel creating its own action. Any comment?

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Can someone explain this quick strike rig. To my understanding its just a tip but with two separate lines where the hook(s) are where one hook is between the dorsal fin and head where the other is placed behind the dorsal fin by the tail? I've always just used one treble hook (with a spinner to legalize it as a lure) and hook them behind the dorsal fin so the bait will have to work to stay parallel creating its own action. Any comment?

Pictures worth a thousand words:

qs2.JPG

I usually hook mine with one treble in the mouth or near the head, the other before the dorsal fin, same as you described.

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I guess I have a different idea of a quickstrike. Instead of having the hooks on the same line, we make ours. They have a three way swivel, then wire to two different trebles. Looks like an upside down Y, but I'm sure they both work just the same. http://www.hotspotoutdoors.com/forum/ubb...ion#Post2756854

Something like this rig, but shorter leads to the hooks.

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Does anyone know if its better to just use one piece of line instead of two. i know it wouldn't get tangled up at least with one.

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Just changed my quick strike so that it has two separate lines and has treble hooks. Something huge should hit this, but I need some bigger treble hooks on it.

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If you ask me thats way too much going Saw a similar set up in winona backwaters and they had 12 tip ups between 6 guys and got 4 flags all day. My buddy knew them from school and they laughed at our rigs. Just a leader, one red treble hook, and spinner blade. We set our tip ups within theres since we were fishin with them and they planned on meeting us there. we got 22 flags between our 4 tip ups compared to there 4 flags all day. we caught 2 20 lbers and 7 over 15 lbs. and caught 19 of the 22. they were 2 for 4 with the biggest one 5 pounds...............you be the judge.

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Hey bonecollector the one that dachisel showed you is what I've used too. It's really not that big of a rig (might look like more of a mess in the illustration) and I've done alright on them. My son actually caught a 28 inch walleye on that very rig on Devils Lake ND winter of 2010. I've never used one like what pike bait showed.

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I like to keep my tip-ups as simple as possible allowing the bait to look natural and move freely. Flourocarbon line, one blade...but i rarely, if ever run a tip up(haven't this year, and maybe once last year). Usually just put a rattle reel on my 5gal bucket with a jig/shiner-fathead while i hole hop.

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Yeah I like these quickstrike rigs and that picture looks complicated but really there not actually just rigged it up this evening out of homemade goods smile

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I changed mine but didn't take a pic. Took off the two bottom spoons so they just have 1 each with 3 beads and put a bigger treble hook on each line.

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ya don't over do it on your tip ups from my experiences. You need to draw attention to the bait just to get the fish to gain interest and thats it. If they want it, they want it, and if they don't, they don't want it. one spinner blade on each bait and a few beads is enough to draw attention. Don't over do it because a fish will be scared by too much on it there smarter then you think and just realize that something is just weird.

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But hasn't made you KING of the lakes either. I'm going to try to rig one up really bright like that one and test them to see if it makes a difference over here but I know in WInona those bright colors are duds. Backwater pike = Smarter than dumb lake pike

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with the smelt thing i believe you can order it, but the smallest order i found was 24 pounds... with the rigging i have 4 tip ups, 2 are set up for walleye and northern mix, and have flourocarbon leaders that i made attached directly to a spoon and one is just a plain hook. when i go for northerns i use either a treble with a blade to make it legal, but lately i have been using just a big plain red hook that i use for texas rigging for bass. (i am a poor college kid too, gotta use what i have!) for bait i usually set one with a shiner and one with a sucker, both have produced for me in the past. i also hole hop. if a tip up hasnt had a flag in about a half hour to 45 minutes, i move it. once i find the depth that seems to be producing i focus on that. also what has been really working for me is starting deep early in the day and working my way in as it gets later. in one day last week i had 3 fish over 5 pounds in 16 fow, then caught a 14 pounder in 8 2 hours later. find the bait fish and set your tip up over them. seems to work for me!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • JerkinLips
      Earlier this morning it looked like Vermilion froze over last night but now I see open water on the Hibbing Point webcam.  The strong winds must have opened the lake back up.  Tonight the temps drop to single digits and the wind dies down by 5am so it will freeze over tonight.  Expecting 1-2" of snow on Friday with high winds so hopefully the snow will blow off the new ice.  Saturday-Thursday looks very cold with no more snow, so the main lake should get a solid freeze.  Some are ice fishing in Stuntz Bay already, and some braver than I may walk out from McKinley Park this weekend.  I'm going to wait until the end of next week to venture out, although it will be very cold.
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end... Ice is forming, but other than some back bays, it isn't ready quite yet.  Mother Nature is on track.  Some resorts are making the prediction of December 10th for day houses being out, give or take, but at this point, this isn't set in stone and time will tell.  There are cold temps in the forecast and things look optimistic.  Many resorts and outfitters have been checking ice conditions.  When the time is right, resorts and outfitters will slowly and safely begin marking and grooming trails for ice travel.    Please remember, ice conditions vary greatly in different parts of the lake.  One ice road can have good ice that has been checked and marked while down the shoreline there may be ice not suitable for travel yet.  Work through resorts and outfitters on the ice and stay on the marked trails for safety. Anticipation is high as the walleye and sauger fishing this fall was good and fish were staged in good numbers along the south shore.   On the Rainy River...   Much of the Rainy River is frozen up.  Things are progressing but it certainly needs cold weather and some time. Ice conditions vary and on the river there is current, so much like the lake, we encourage visitors to work through a resort or outfitter for safety.   Up at the NW Angle... Ice is forming nicely and is right on track for this year's ice fishing season.  There has been no ice fishing yet as resorts are simply monitoring ice conditions at this time, waiting until the ice is thicker before marking trails and getting fish houses out. Fall fishing was excellent with walleyes in good numbers along with some monster pike being caught.  All indications point to good fishing when the ice is ready as the fish are there. Driving through Canada to reach the Angle no longer requires COVID vaccinations or the use of the ArriveCan App (which is optional).   For those looking to access the Angle while avoiding customs, there are few options.   1.  When ice conditions allow, the snowmobile trail will be groomed and staked from the south shore up to the Angle. 2.  The Lake of the Woods Passenger service provides round trip bombardier service across the lake.   3.  Lake Country Air provides air service to both the south end and NW Angle.    
    • Wanderer
    • leech~~
      Was just going to post this!  
    • Wanderer
      At least they can all say they were there early!  
    • SkunkedAgain
      I'm still hoping for a sunny warm-up to melt all of the existing snow off of the existing ice, and then an arctic blast. After that, I'm hoping for a giant walleye to hop out of the lake and filet itself before skinny dipping in some batter and then relaxing in a hot pan of oil in my kitchen.
    • gimruis
      I'm planning to go later this week.  There's fresh snow coming tomorrow too.
    • gimruis
      I would highly recommend not doodling around out there at night time either.  When those cracks form, the piece breaks off from the main sheet or the land and you are then caught "adrift" with no way back.   The bite is not as good as it normally is from what I have read either.  We're so used to hearing that "its on fire" for the early ice bite but that doesn't appear to be the case.
    • leech~~
      Well, a new report for today talked about cracks opening up and ice piling up!  Better check the night before you head up.  😕
    • Harv
      Leech,  that's what I've been reading.  I'm heading up on Friday the 2nd, for the weekend.   Fingers crossed limits are caught
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