• RECEIVE THE GIFTS MEMBERS SHARE WITH YOU HERE...THEN...CREATE SOMETHING TO ENCHANT OTHERS THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE

    You know what we all love...

    When you enchant people, you fill them with delight and yourself in return. Have Fun!!!

Recommended Posts

Pflueger Guy

Is it too late to start ice fishing in early February? Most would probably say it's never too late to start fishing...But I decided give ice fishing a try for the first time this season. I just bought a rod and pole combination, Marcum VX-1(most affordable for me based on what it does), and a buddy of mine just bought a portable house an an auger. So he will apparently be my fishing partner for the rest of the ice season until I get my own portable and auger next year. He doesn't have much ice fishing experience either.

As far as fishing goes, I'm not new to the area lakes and fishing. I'm a complete rookie when it comes to ice fishing though. A couple of questions if anyone wouldn't mind giving me some tips.

What kind of lures/bait work in the ice? Only lure I was able to find that was somewhat popular for walleyes/perch were buckshot rattle spoons. I'll have to do further research even if given some artificial lures are mentioned. I know wax worms and minnows can work. I've also seen some red wax worms, are those any more effective?

And secondly, how do you go about finding fish? Go out on a lake, pick a spot, drill some holes, and keep repeating until you mark some fish? I've watched a lot of videos on how to work my Marcum VX-1 so I have a pretty good understanding of how it works already.

I also have most depth maps of lakes which are probably somewhat outdated, but which depths are common for crappie bites? Walleye bites? Or are they completely random?

I know this post has a lot of questions scattered throughout, but don't feel obligated to answer every single one of them, just one would be great. Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mankato-Ice-Man

Welcome to a pretty cool sport, no pun intended.

If you post what lakes you will be fishing, you might get more specific answers a far as what depths and times by lake from guys and gals who fish those lakes.

as far as lures, depends on what you are fishing for.

My go to lure is a Fat Boy and I usually tip it with a waxie and a red larva, or just one of the two depending on how thats working. Minnows work too. Dont be afraid of lures that look too small, most days the smaller the better.

as far as where to fish, most say avoid the big crowds, but until you learn more, you may want to stay near the edges of the groups of houses. Dont be afraid to talk to people. I think for the most part, people will be helpful if you ask the right questions. Just let them know you are real new to the sport and ask for pointers. Might get you further than sounding like you are looking for thier deepest, darkest best kept secrets.

hope that helps. I know you will get a lot more and probably a lot better answers too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
timk

when you see a bunch of houses and you have a map of that lake try to match the same kind of spot on the lake and try there. should hold fish for same reasion other spot does sometimes it works out

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
harvey lee

If you are fishing for gills, perch or crappie, I would get a nice spring bobber rod or at a minimum, get a spring bobber and add it to your rod.

So many times these fish will bite so light that if you do not have the spring bobber, you will miss more than you will ice.

For bait for the panfish, I like the euro larve or spikes. They have a tougher skin than the waxies and you do not have to rebait near as much.

I typically go to the lake with both white and red colors of the spikes.

For jigs and spikes, there are days that the clouds can cover the sun and you will need a different color to turn the fish on.

Any time a cold front or pressure system comes in, you will more than likely need to downsize your bait size for them to bite.

Ther are many panfish jigs on the market today.

My go to jig this year has been the Bro-bug. I also use the JB Lures Ju-Ju alot tipped with a waxie.

The best tip I could give you is cut alot of holes and check them all by different structure.

Many lakes I fish, I will start shallow in a corner of a bay, by weeds or on top or just off a breakline. I would drill 5-10 holes and check each one for a few minutes, no action, drill 5-10 more. I know this sounds like alot of drilling but it is the best way to learn a lake and get on active fish. Find a good spot, mark it down or save it on a GPS if you have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Comit 2

Learn how to play cards and drink beer. laugh

Well that is my best ice fishing tip. Then again, I don't Ice fish or play cards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
zappy

"Is it too late to start ice fishing in early February?"

Actually it's a great time to start. My favorite time of year to fish is the first week or two of March. The crowds have left by then and it is often warm enough to just bring a minimal amount of gear and walk around the lake. Most years, warm water is starting to trickle back into the lakes and the fish become more active. Small tungsten jigs with waxies always do the trick for me. I started ice fishing about ten years ago and through the advice on this forum and talking with people out on the ice I can usually find something to catch. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scott M

Is it too late to start ice fishing in early February? Your intuition that follows is correct; it's never too late to start.Most would probably say it's never too late to start fishing...But I decided give ice fishing a try for the first time this season. I just bought a rod and pole combination, Marcum VX-1(most affordable for me based on what it does), and a buddy of mine just bought a portable house an an auger. So he will apparently be my fishing partner for the rest of the ice season until I get my own portable and auger next year. He doesn't have much ice fishing experience either.

As far as fishing goes, I'm not new to the area lakes and fishing. I'm a complete rookie when it comes to ice fishing though. A couple of questions if anyone wouldn't mind giving me some tips.

What kind of lures/bait work in the ice? Ice fishing seems to feature specialized lures that focus on vertical or mostly vertical presentations (Jigs, jigging spoons, Darters, Droppers). Those are good designs to stick with as they have been proven to work over time. I'm certain you have a lot of summer tackle that will be useful in the winter. If you are just starting and on a budget, start by raiding your summer collection. Only lure I was able to find that was somewhat popular for walleyes/perch were buckshot rattle spoons. I'll have to do further research even if given some artificial lures are mentioned. I know wax worms and minnows can work. I've also seen some red wax worms, are those any more effective?Do a site search for the color red and you'll see some interesting discussions about how red works. Some swear by it, others aren't convinced...Live bait works well, euros/spikes/wigglers, waxworms, crappie minnows, fatheads, suckers...Don't forget to try plastics, coming in as a newbie you'll have an open mind and can play around with them. I wouldn't say it's an advanced technique but its worth pursuing fresh out of the gate

And secondly, how do you go about finding fish? Go out on a lake, pick a spot, drill some holes, and keep repeating until you mark some fish? I've watched a lot of videos on how to work my Marcum VX-1 so I have a pretty good understanding of how it works already. The $64,000 question! Ice fishing, like open water fishing, is predicated on structure fishing. Start your searches on or near structure, then move around and drill holes until you find fish. You've got the right idea, just get out there and execute. Repetition builds confidence.

I also have most depth maps of lakes which are probably somewhat outdated, but which depths are common for crappie bites? Walleye bites? Or are they completely random? This is a timing question. February is different from December or March. Each lake is a little different. It's definitely not random, there are patterns to be observed. Get out there and find what works on the water you fish.

I know this post has a lot of questions scattered throughout, but don't feel obligated to answer every single one of them, just one would be great. Thanks in advance!

Good luck flimsy. My best advice is to crawl around the different forums on this website and learn as much as you can. Use the search option for topics that interest you. Attend a HSO get together and learn first hand from others. A small taste of success and you'll be hooked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pflueger Guy

Thanks for all the great tips and advice! I did get a chance to go out on the lake twice last week. I decided to stop by Lake Washington.

First day I fished at 12 feet on the west side of the lake. Marked quite a few fish, but couldn't really get any of them to commit. I did end up catching two nice bluegills though. Jigging waxies on a plain hook seemed to trigger better bite as opposed to letting it sit there. I was primarily fishing in 12 feet due to the really cold and windy afternoon; I could not move around and drill more holes because I was simply too cold.

My second day out was a lot nicer and I was able to move around on the lake and try different depths. I fished at 36 feet, 30 feet, and 18 feet on the east side of Lake Washington. Marked some fish at 36 feet and 30 feet, but again could not get them to bite. I was using crappie minnows, waxies, buckshot spoons, and jigging raps. I did land two small walleyes at 18 fow, both less than 10 inches long caught on crappie minnows.

Now I didn't travel far on the lake and only drove where there were already car tracks because I didn't know which areas were safe and what not. Is it safe to assume that the middle of the lake(Washington) is safe to drive a small vehicle on in this mid-late ice season? There are some structures I would like to try and fish, but I've been hesitant to drive down south of the lake. I do know that the "narrows" between the east and west side is generally not safe. Of course I could also just walk out there on a nice day and fish off a bucket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TruthWalleyes

Especially as a beginner, it is not wise to venture off to new areas of the lake. Your right, never drive through those narrows, not close to points, large cracks, etc. Now that you've found a few areas where the fish are hanging out, keep trying different jigging methods to convince these buggers to bite. Drive slow on the ice, 10mph is common, anything more is unnecessary. I would also suggest that as a beginner you stick to 1 lake, lake washington is a good lake to stick with. It's my primary lake in SC MN...Fish it and start to develop patterns, gain confidence, etc. If you switch from lake to lake, you'll never pattern these SC lakes, at least it'll be MUCH MUCH harder to do so.

Good luck, stay safe. Lots of info on these forums. As a new season arrives, i like to glance through last years discussions from the same season to anticipate fish movements from last year. i.e. you can guarantee that the big groups of ice shacks are in the same spots each year, and at the same time each year...It's always good to be there first wink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  



  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • meerkat
      18 days to opener,  I hope there is some open water we can fish.  our group can't reschedule due to work issues.  Come on Sun/Rain!!!  Our golf courses are just opening up today!!  smh
    • smurfy
      I see this is an ice report but not I caught fish report!!
    • mrpike1973
      Did real good on cats today got 4 wife 4 and I got a huge sucker that was fun. Horseshoe sure opened up today.
    • eyeguy 54
      Sure glad you had some help moose and all turned out well ! 
    • Rick
      Impressive, both Tom and Jeremy
    • eyeguy 54
      Almost time but maybe not quite... Although I did get the yak out of the backyard today, on to the trailer and up front to spend some time prepping it for time on the water soon.  Indeed it was fun getting out with you and the gang a few times this winter and looking forward to the next outings whenever they may be. WIll share what worked for me and look forward to reading some more info from others. Panfish is what I love going after and I had great fishing with gold jigs almost all winter. Did use a few other colors that worked also but that gold was hard to not use. Tear drop style tungsten in and 4 mm from Widowmaker Lures. Tried some from sportsmens direct also the last couple outings and liked them also. For plastics, the wishbone was good and also impulse mayflies and slug bugs. Tried and bought too many different things to try... LOL. Fished with shrimp for the first time ever this winter and that was a challenge and fun to try something different.  Started out with my good old ultralight gander mountain rods with the frabil titanium spring bobber and then bought a couple of the TUCR Inferno with the orange tip. I really like them for the 4mm and prefer the old ganders with a 3mm. Won a custom 32 inch power noodle from Kichler Custom Rods in Elk River at an event in Wisconsin and used it a few times yesterday. Very nice and looking forward to playing with it more. CGI inline reels still doing their job fine and I did grab one of the new Descent inlines and it worked sweet also. Nice that it now has a pop off spool instead of the gold screw off knob. 10 1/4 was my biggest gill and 14 for the crappie. Even went after catfish 3 times. Saw my first catfish tornado on the vex and iced a lot of fish after being taught how to use a bobber right for those super light biters. thx RickG   My highlight of the winter was getting a PB northern on a tip up up on Mille Lacs with stick in the mud. Fun City! My good old FL 18 is still working dandy and although I am tempted to upgrade, not sure if I will. Nills 6 inch saved my back from the hassles of the gas and when I put the Milwaukee on it life got even better. All in all a fantastic winter fishing with great guys and learning how to be a better fisherman.   Fish On! 
    • monstermoose78
      Well monstermoose78 is done ice fishing around here for the year. Why you ask I fell through yes there was 28-30 inches of ice on the lake, but the shoreline nope. Went fishing with @Cret Jigs and we had fun fishing. I cut lots of holes and we got some good ones for the knife. Cret jigs brought a plank for the way out but on the way in I did not make it to the plank. Cret jigs helped me get my stuff to the shore and out. I worry about the guy on the wheeler and they guy who used the plank to get out too. Thanks Cret jigs for a fun day. 
    • redlabguy
      To all you guys who’ve been keeping us posted, thank you. I’m an islander so I don’t have much hope for the opener, but I’ve been reading all the posts (read them year around), including entertaining posts on new gear, and, again, thanks for letting a lot of guys know what’s going on there. The current weather, forecast and web cams, give me hope! I’m thinking I may get back home in three weeks, maybe four. Keep the sun shining, Dick
    • jkrash
      What a difference a day makes, yesterday the dam was locked up tight and today it's roaring. Walleye should be running this week...
    • IceHawk
      Well this morning was officially the end of the ice season for me.   Its been a lot of days on the ice this winter and I have to admit I'm  a little burnt out.   It wasn't easy but it was time to end it.  Have to admit It was a sad moment putting the gear away but it was time as needed space today to put the boat in the garage   Learned a lot of new water and reacquainted myself with some old standbys. Fished 10 different counties this winter so definitely fished a lot of different areas.  Fished many species on the ice this winter so there never was a dull moment. Didn't take a ton of pics just a few need to take more just have never been a pic type of guy LOL.   Iced 7 walleyes between 26-28 3/4 all on local lakes.  So just a tip if you dedicate some time locally big eyes can be found. Fished panfish everywhere in the state highlight area for big fish being Becker and Ottertail Douglas counties. Biggest gill this winter was 10 3/4    many 10's came topside but couldn't break 11 this winter. Craps 15 inchers were tops. Good fish but had goals set at a 16.  Some things learned this ice season where number one lure for the eyes was a old school hammered silver Swedish pimple. It far out produced anything else.   Kenders tungsten where my mainstay for gills and crappies. The plastics of choice were power bait wishbones,  chigger frys, and Northland impulse mayfly's.  The catfish were a hoot and a  change of pace did well on Maynards slammers Glow red. The equipment and gear I was running and never failed me all season were Thorne Bros Rods- For eyes Perch sweethearts. For the Panfish I was running  Power Noodles, panfish sweethearts,  and my favorite the Tripwire. Reels Pflueger Presidents, Prestige ,and Supremes.. Did use some inlines also from 13 fishing The free falls where worth every penny. Ran a K-Drill 8 inch early and late and During the thick ice Ran my strikemaste Lazer.  Vexilar Electronics the old trusty FL18 my eyes underwater, Please Don't  think that I'm pushing these products because I'm sponsored by them, I'm Not. Just want to give a thumbs up and honest opinion on  some top notch equipment that has worked and weathered the storm of a good hardwater season. Realize we all work hard for our dollars and I can honestly say these products where worth every penny and never let me down!  Well Off to the Garage to start getting the boat ready for the Next season  By the Way big Shout out to some of the best Anglers I had the chance to share the ice with this season from FM.  Thanks  Borch,  Bass Thumb,  Moose,  Eyeguy, Rick G , Tom Sawyer for shareing some ice time with me.  Hopefully I get to meet and fish with a few other FMer's this summer or next hardwater.  We had some great Times great laughs and managed to even ice a few fish   Looking forward to having a few summer outings in the future.  BYE BYE Ice Hello open water