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Dead Pike bait. Smelt, Suckers, and solution


IcerRon2010

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Finally rigged up some tip ups and two rods with various rigs attached to them. Found a spot a want to try but I not sure what really to use.

Here are some baits I have herd to try.

Smelt:VHS free (where do you find them)

Sucker minnows, what size and dead or alive?

Dead bait: Does anybody soak there bait in some kind of solution, to give off more scent.

I am new to the Northern Pike scene, any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Where I go they bite on just about anything...on my tip-up I have an 18" leader with a bare red hook. I usually hook a shiner threw the dorsal and keep him suspended about half of whatever depth I'm fishing. But at the same time they're hitting my rod with a jig and a regular crappie minnow...on 4# test....thats when it get real fun! They're not that picky of a fish in my experience...Hope that helps a little

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I throw big suckers out on my tip ups with a quick strike harness. Usually fish just off the weedline or right above the weedline if I am just out of the weedline I will fish about 2 feet off the bottom right above I try to stay a foot about the weeds.

Every once and awhile I will pick up a decoy minnow and throw that bad boy on the harness for the big ones... If you do that you may want to throw a bobber on top to prevent the decoy from setting the flag off

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I like alive suckers as well... put a coupe weights a foot above them on your line and you are set... if the sucker dies I keep it on the line anyway

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Finally rigged up some tip ups and two rods with various rigs attached to them. Found a spot a want to try but I not sure what really to use.

Here are some baits I have herd to try.

Smelt:VHS free (where do you find them)

I am new to the Northern Pike scene, any help would be appreciated.

The two best big northern baits to use are (1) a large dead Smelt and (2) a dead Cisco. They need to be frozen, not treated, and VHS free.

Most Ciscos sold in northern Minnesota are VHS free frozen. There is a fellow from Canada that had his Smelt tested, and are VHS free so they can be sold frozen. They will start to appear shortly at a few locations in northern Minnesota, but probably not down in the southern part of the state.

He approached the owner at Vados Bait, and was told they were not interested because all bait in Minnesota has to be "treated" showing that the person he talked to at Vados is sorely misinformed.

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For the rods I would use daredevil style spoons and jig with those you will not need to tip the hooks with a minnow. I would not be affraid to throw on a rattling rap/trap I have use both with great success have paitance.

Dead suckers on the tip ups are a great bait look for weed lines or even the outside s of where everyone fishes for panfish. I will set one of my tip ups a 1-2 under the ice and the other will be about 2-4 foot off the bottom.

I also like BIG shinners for pike bait perferably Golden shinners but they can be spend,and hard to come buy.

The smelt and ciscos are a great pike bait but harder to find some bait dealers carry them but they have been getting harder to come by.

Good Luck

Gordie

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You really don't need a frozen cisco or smelt to give off any more scent, they stink pretty bad just the way they are. One trick I used to use though is I would thaw them slightly at home and then put a couple in a ziploc bag and add some food coloring to the bag. I would die them blue, red, or orange. put them back in the freezer and they'll be ready to use when you go fishing. I once won a fishing derby with a 6# northern that I caught on a blue smelt.

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I am new to the tip-up scene but have caught about a fair amount of pike this winter with them. In fact, when I go with my kids, we mainly just put out tip-ups. I use homemade quickstrike rigs with heavy mono line, red trebles and above them, a few colored beads and some small but flashy blades. I like a lively sucker about 6-8 inches in length so he flashes the blades and increases visibility. I've just started using the black tip up line and haven't noticed a difference in strikes but I may lengthen up the amount of mono. Right now it's about a couple of feet before the black line. Also, to tell you the truth, I haven't noticed any difference between using black steel leaders and heavy mono in terms of strikes. In fact, I think I was getting more with the leaders. May have been better fishing though! Good luck

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Thanks so much for all the tips. There are things on all of these forums that are out of the norm tactics. This is why I believe we have the greatest site, for exchanging all ideas. Definately have giving me a ton to of tricks to try before were off this ice this season. Keep em coming. Appreciate your time.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

Nice big fatheads work good also. hooked just behind dorsal fin. I like a red hook and a 6 inch steel leader a couple feet off the bottom. 2 weeks ago one ripped two 4 inch suckers off and finally got it on a fat head. Puked one sucker up and the other was in it's gut. lol Hungry bugger!

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The best big pike bait out there is a little pink ratso on 2-4lb test.

+1

Though I should say, in my case, that ALL pike are big when I'm using a little ratso on my sunnie gear. smile

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I would also add that if you're running tip-ups, don't be afraid to put the bait a foot or two or three under the ice as I've learned from experience and this board that Pike like to cruise just under the ice, regardless of water depth and that sometimes a foot or two off the bottom is too deep for them to see. You just have to experiment. It all differs by lake, structure, etc. Good luck!

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Has anyone ever clipped the tails on the live suckers? I've heard from the older generation that it keeps the suckers from swimming away from the pike. Maybe it gives them a wounded appearance also..

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Ohh, clipping tails, I'm your guy. I still feel the prefered bait size for big pike is 8-10". A sucker that big can sometimes be too much of a strugle for pike (I even have them drop the bait sometimes). I either cut the entire tail off, or drop them a few feet onto the ice. Dropping them gives them a wounded look (steping on them works too).

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Live Tullibee (cisco) is the rockstar of all baits. They don't last long though as they swim themselves into being deadbait.

Where can I get frozen herring or Ciscos down in the cities??

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The two best big northern baits to use are (1) a large dead Smelt and (2) a dead Cisco. They need to be frozen, not treated, and VHS free.

Most Ciscos sold in northern Minnesota are VHS free frozen. There is a fellow from Canada that had his Smelt tested, and are VHS free so they can be sold frozen. They will start to appear shortly at a few locations in northern Minnesota, but probably not down in the southern part of the state.

He approached the owner at Vados Bait, and was told they were not interested because all bait in Minnesota has to be "treated" showing that the person he talked to at Vados is sorely misinformed.

Ders some goood Norven Minnesodah old skool edvice der. Dats tooo bahd bout dat der Bait shop down her nod buyin cause some made up rool.

Ken I order em frem up der? an haves em shipped?

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Mallardnwalleye

Your best bet is to find someone you know that is heading north for the weekend, and have them pick some up for you.

Several shops that have fresh, frozen Ciscos in are located in different areas of northern Minnesota.

They include Fisherman's Corner in Pike Lake (Duluth), Mike's Holiday & Buck's Hardware in Grand Marais, the Tofte Holiday Station, The Great Outdoors Bait in Ely, & The Virginia Lucky Seven gas station.

The frozen Smelt will start to appear within a few months at some shops,locations to be announced at a later time. We will only be selling the large size (about 9-11 inches) for Pike.

All these frozen baits have been tested and are VHS free. All packages have a label with the test number, body of water they were taken in, etc.

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I'll check with Ben's up in Grand Rapids as I might be headin up there in a week or so. If he doesn't have em, I'll do a little detour to Virginia and the Lucky Seven you mentioned.

Thanks for the help G.O.,it's much appreciated!

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I do not know if Ben's Bait has them, but The River Rat near Cohasset does have them on hand.

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I do not know if Ben's Bait has them, but The River Rat near Cohasset does have them on hand.

Thanks, Cohasset is close to where we go spearing up there. Again your help is much appreciated. It's too bad we have all the VHS histrionics about bait now.

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  • 1 year later...

Certified VHS Free Smelt are carried at Chalstrom's Bait and Tackle in Duluth and Outdoors Again in Baudette also Riverside Bait & Tackle Warroad . I emailed company that supplies them and they gave me the locations in Minnesota. [email protected]

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • SkunkedAgain
      Luckily we don't have large open areas of ice that break away, such as on Red Lake.   Stay safe and warm.
    • 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.  😕
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