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Ice Fishing

Gearing Up for the Ice
Anyone who is considering or has already taken up the sport of ice fishing has wrestled with the idea of purchasing three of the more pricey “must-haves”. 1, some form of portable shelter; 2, a power auger; and 3, a flasher or sonar device. While the list of essentials has remained more or less steady over the past number of decades, these three more recent innovations, some might argue, have now made it on to the “must have” list. And then there’s the really big ticket 4th item – the ATV or Snowmobile – the ultimate “toy”… 02/12

Out of the Ice Age – Into the New Age:  Flashers are Dead!
Late last winter a group of us headed north to Lake Winnipeg to get in on a hot bite for that lake’s famed “Mean Green” walleyes. If you have ever seen the walleyes that come out of Lake Winnipeg, the first thing that jumps out at you is their color. These fish have a beautiful green tinge to their coloration and besides being fun to look at; they can grow fat and sassy on this body of water too.  01/12

Tips for Storing Your Ice Fishing Gear
It can be tough to focus on properly putting away your ice fishing gear with open-water fast approaching, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here's a quick checklist of things to do so your winter gear will be in top shape and ready when next winter rolls around.  04/11

Ice More Fish by Understanding Sonar
One of the easiest ways to increase your ice fishing success is using a portable sonar unit, often called a fish-finder. A sonar displays depth, your lure and if fish are beneath you. Yet, how much intel you gather depends on your understanding of the unit's operation, your ability to manipulate its settings, and how you interpret the display. Whether you're a beginner, a sonar savant, or somewhere in between, the following operation tips will help you catch more fish and avoid some common mistakes. 03/11

Ice Out Trout!
You’re in your own little world, your eyes are focused. You wait patiently, yet posed to strike. As that little clear float drifts down the river, it rockets under and you set the hook. This is when you feel those head shakes that you have waited all winter for. It’s time for “ice out trout.

Late Ice Opportunities
Windy, minus twenty and whiteout snow squalls. This is what every ice fisherman puts themselves through during the winter months except for March and into early April for some parts of the province. This is when the weather is changing; the sun beams down with unbelievable heat and the fish are often on a feeding frenzy. Every species has certain times of the year when they are most susceptible to becoming caught by anglers. Lake trout and walleye are my favourite species to target during late ice because good numbers of fish become active and many lakes offer world class size fish throughout Ontario. These tips will help you locate and catch fish during the best part of the ice season.

Tips to Ice More Perch Part One
Getting into steady action from a biting school of jumbos is every perchers dream. Ultimately, the more diverse of an angler the better prepared you'll be to handle whatever fish throw at you. Here are five important tips to keep in mind when the bite gets tough.

Night-Bite Winter Crappie
The sun about to hit the tree tops. I was sitting on a great crappie lake, charging up my glow jig and waiting for the start of the night bite. It didn’t take long and the action was fast and furious for just under an hour. While many anglers focus on walleye, crappie are another species worth chasing at twilight. Here’s what you need to know about this productive technique to catch more paper-mouths.

Pulling Largies Through the Ice
Catching largemouth bass through the hardened surface of northern Ontario lakes is an exercise in fun, thrills and excitement. While most ice angler’s turn to panfish or walleye to whet their appetite, those that are searching for line-peeling pulls and hefty weights need look no further than old greenback himself. Understanding locational factors and on-ice techniques will get you into the thick of things, while also creating a never-ending bass season for those willing to give it a try. You gotta love that!

Soft-Bottom Perch Ice Fishing
A good perch bite is tough to beat during the ice fishing season. Aggressive and competitive, once you get a school of jumbos riled up you can often put a few on ice before they move on. Soft-bottom flats are a great spot to search out perch. Here are some tips on fishing these areas.

The Skinny on Portable Ice Huts
The bitter wind blew furiously, pelting me with unforgiving force, while sapping my warmth and enthusiasm. I struggled to clench my ultra light rod, my grip loosening as my glove raised a white flag to the invisible enemy we all call cold. Then, the snow started to fall. Not tranquil flakes Norman Rockwell might depict, but the ferocious, mean-spirited kind that only the Grinch could conjure up to spoil a deserving child's Christmas.

Keep Your Catch Fresh When Working the Ice
Ice holds many wonders for those willing to auger through its outer crust. For some it is the lure of frantically running to an upright flag, unaware of the size of fish that tripped it below. Others find solace in the peace and serenity that a portable hut provides them on a snowy winters day. But if you're like me, the greatest treasure the ice conceals is the bountiful and tasty fish that swim beneath it, ready to be buttered and pan fried after a long day spent angling.

Ice Safety Essentials: Myths and Self-Rescue Information
Tragically, every year over 30 Canadians die in ice related incidents. When ice fishing this year, make sure you're prepared with the following information on common ice myths and self-rescue methods. Remember, ice is never 100% safe, so exercise caution at all times.

Serve Up Spoons for First-Ice Pan Fish First ice is an exciting time to fish. Panfish are often willing biters and relatively easy to locate during the initial weeks of freeze-up. Jigging spoons are a deadly bait for the start of the ice season. Other baits will take fish but it's exciting to hunt active fish using spoons before the mid-winter blues set in. 

Fish Fast First to Ice More Winter Walleye
As anglers it's easy for us to fall into the pattern of ice fishing slowly for walleye. Granted, certain conditions demand lethargic presentations to get bites. Mid-winter doldrums, cold front weather systems and high fishing pressure are a few examples. Yet, fishing jigging baits at a faster pace can attract more aggressive walleye. With the right kinds of lures you can fish quickly, but add finesse moves when needed. This combination may seem like a paradox, but it catches me dozens of walleye during the ice season.

Three Ice Fishing Jigs
When it comes to buying ice jigs, anglers are faced with dozens of choices, including: colours, brand names, hook and jig sizes. One of the most basic features of an ice fishing jig is its style. There are three main types of ice fishing jigs: horizontal, vertical and 45 degree angle models. Each should take up some space in your tackle box, here's a look at why and when you should use them.

Ice Fishing Perch Pointers
Targeting perch through the ice is one of my favourite types of hard-water action. Not only are perch relatively easy to catch and often eager to bite, they are one of the best tasting freshwater fish. To help boost your perch fishing results this ice season, here are some tips to put more jumbos on the ice.

10 Pre-Ice Fishing Tips
With autumn coming to a close, ice fishing season is just around the corner. Now's the time to audit your gear and make sure your organized for first ice action. To help you get ready, here's a list of 10 things I do to get ready for the hard-water.

Tips for Drilling Ice Holes
The auger let out a steady 2-cycle scream as it chewed through a foot and a half of ice. Chips and shards fell around my feet until the blades broke through. I hit the throttle and cleared out the slush, before walking a few yards and punching another hole. Behind me my partner followed, checking the depth of water with a Vexilar. In 10 minutes we had several holes drilled, cleaned and scanned for depth. Now, we were ready to fish.

Dead-Bait Tactics for Hardwater Pike
Snow-covered landscapes and frozen bodies of water have a deliberate way of changing a pike anglers' methods and routines. Gone are the oversized spinnerbaits, cranks and spoons - the familiar tools of warm weather fishing - and out come the tip ups and quick strike rigs. Match these up with a variety of dead baits, and you'll be well on your way to a season full of cold days and red-hot northern pike.

A Beginners Guide to Ice Fishing
Ice fishing is growing in popularity with each passing year, luring eager anglers to the sport with a passionate frenzy. Most become hooked with that first crank of the auger handle, igniting a life-long hobby and fascination with the "hard stuff." But what are the necessary requirements when it comes to outfitting yourself for a day on the ice?

Great Ice Fishing Gadgets
Every year dozens of new ice fishing products hit the walls of tackle shops. Yet when it comes to getting gear for the hard-water season, you don't only have to shop in fishing stores. In fact, many of the staple pieces of gear I use for safety and comfort reasons I bought at camping and outdoor shops. Here are just a few of my personal favourites.

Try Small Baits This Winter
One of the neatest things about fishing has to be fishing lures! There are so many on the market. When you have success, part of the fun is definitely playing up the 'magic lure' idea. Of all the lures and tackle out there, one of the details I look at is size. Proven colours, shapes or designs can be really interesting to play with when they're offered in smaller versions

Creepy Crawlies
The Ultimate Overlooked Baits for Icefishing - The first time I heard about using maggots for icefishing was in a story about how some hard-core ice anglers have been known to keep maggots in their mouths while fishing, to keep the bait warm and alive. While that may be a little too serious for some ice fishermen, maggots, as well as waxworms, mealworms and other such critters, what I affectionately refer to as "creepy crawlies," are an effective yet often overlooked bait for icefishing.

Winter Forktails and The Rubber Pipe
Description: Sixty seven feet below my boots, I started the hollow, plastic fake into its rhythm once again. Never darting or falling the same way twice, and rotating while at rest, it had already produced two big, wild trout in the first two holes I'd cut that morning, and the strike in hole number three caught me totally off guard, and I missed it.

Tackle Tips for Icing Winter Crappies
When it comes to ice fishing, my number one quarry is the crappie. This specie can give an angler endless action throughout the day, a great fight on light gear, and of course, can provide a tasty meal at the end of a long stint spent on the ice. Targeting crappies certainly isn't considered rocket science, but there are certain techniques and baits that can greatly increase your odds for success.

Trusting Tip Ups
In ice fishing a lot of the spotlight has recently focused on run-and-gun tactics with jigging rods. Yet in the shadow of this approach lurks a tried-and-true technique that fools hundreds of fish each season - tip-ups. Tip-ups are sometimes perceived as a secondary, or lesser, method for ice fishing. However, when properly used these presentations can be extremely successful, sometimes out-fishing jigging rods.

Go on the Deadbait Diet for Trophy Pike!
Most people’s New Year’s Resolution is losing twenty pounds. Once the ice is safe and the season opens, I’m normally out on the big bays and shoals trying to gain twenty pounds. Twenty pound-plus pike, that is. Early January produces more pike over 42 inches for me than all other months of the year combined. And I catch the majority of them fishing deadbait under tip-ups.

Get Glowing This Ice Season
Glow baits are not new to fishing and color patterns have improved these baits in recent years. I concentrated on using new-generation glow baits the last two ice seasons and have noticed an increase in my overall catch. Fish see these baits easier and I'm convinced the glow features of small baits have helped me coax negative or neutral mood fish to bite. The evidence of glow baits effectiveness is not hidden from anglers; the proof lines the shelves of tackle shops with more of these baits coming out each season. If you have yet to stock your ice fishing tackle with glow baits, you're limiting your ice fishing catches.

Team Ice Fishing: Moving Beyond The Concept To Catching More Fish
Anglers often use the concept of team fishing during open water fishing. For example, musky partners vary lure types, speeds and retrieve styles used to increase their chances of landing a trophy; while bass anglers often toss a bait towards their partners hooked fish, attempting to catch any followers. The spirit of cooperation, communication and strategy should not disappear after you winterize your boat and move out on the ice. Let's look at what it means to ice fish as a team, discussing the concept, developing a strategy and an example of ice fishing as a team.

Take Ice Fishing To The Next Level
With ice fishing in full swing across Ontario, anglers are beginning to realize the importance of having the right tools for the job at hand. From portable huts that afford added mobility to powerful gas augers for efficient hole drilling, specialized equipment will put you on more fish - plain and simple.

Tinkering With the Lures of Ice and Snow
Anglers are a believing bunch. Most of us are willing to take a lure straight from the package and tie it on our line, never once questioning whether it will catch fish like the manufacturer professes it to. The fact of the matter is, every lure on the market can be improved or tinkered with in order to improve its fish catching abilities, allowing the intuitive angler the freedom to catch more and bigger fish each time they head out.

Tip-Up Upkeep
One thing that's nice about a tip-up is they don't require a lot of maintenance. I think that's part of their appeal, that and they last a long time," says Eric Poster of HT Enterprises, Inc. Odds are if you're an ice angler you own tip-ups, and to many of us, they're a critical component to the hard-water season. Like fishing reels, underwater-style tip-ups require occasional maintenance to keep them in fish-catching shape. To help me explain the process for cleaning and caring for tip-ups I contacted tip-up expert Eric Poster of HT Enterprises, an ice fishing company with over a dozen different tip-up models and more than 20-years experience making tip-ups.

Heed the Rules of Safety When Venturing Out 
Ice fishing has to be the greatest winter activity known to men and women. The chance to enjoy the fresh air, make new friends and play tug-of-war with some feisty fish is what draws anglers again and again to these frozen playgrounds. But ice fishing does come at a risk, as no ice surface is 100% safe, no matter what body of water it encases. Being prepared before making that first step off the shore, taking the necessary safety equipment and having common sense will be your best bets for a fun-filled and risk-free season

Swim Baits Below the Ice
Ice fishing can be a game of hit and miss. Be in the right spot at the right time, and reap the rewards that come your way. However, fishing 'dead' water with the wrong baits will ultimately spell a long, lonely time on the hard water once again.  If you're looking for a definite edge this coming season, and you're not akin to icing plenty of fish, then take a look at the latest craze to hit the ice fishing scene - swim baits. (It's the closest you'll get to tossing a crankbait once the snow begins to fly!)

Mobility is Key to Ice Fishing Success
Ice anglers are a rare and hardy bunch. Willing to face sub-zero conditions and drifting snow during the course of battle, catching a fish is only half the fun when taking part in this winter experience. But let's face it - no one wants to spend a fishless day out in the cold. For those anglers that choose to drill a single hole while waiting for the fish, your chances for success are limited. Mobility is the key for fruitful days on the ice, and there are many tools and techniques at your disposal to help bring you to the fish.

Slip Bobbers At Slush Time
Inside the shack, waves of heat unfurled from our iron stove's belly full of hardwood. I looked like a half-peeled banana, sitting in my sweatshirt after shucking off the top half of my one-piece survival suit. Outside, the lake's skin heaved, buckled and popped under the New Year's first major cold snap. Dead center in a ten-inch hole below my feet, the light balsa float had suddenly shaken to life

Ice Fishing Equipment Overview
Cold hands and feet, dead minnows, and no fish landed - these are just a few things that can go wrong if you're not prepared for your next ice fishing outing. Ice fishing is a lot like home repairs, if you don't have the right equipment to do the job, things can quickly get ugly and, in some cases, dangerous. This article is an overview to ice fishing equipment and gear, along with some tips to stay comfortable this winter season.

Ice Fishing for Perch
By following these simple tactics and techniques, sticking to lakes that hold quality fish, and spending the time needed to find the fish, you will be on your way to bucket loads of perch and broad smiles.

Last Chance Jumbos 
Soon, it’ll be rotten out there. Not rancid like spoiled produce, but soft and dark nonetheless. I’m talking about the ice. It’s thick and resolute now, but it won’t last forever, actually, scarcely longer than a few weeks, less in some areas.  Fortunately, though, ice fishing’s swan song is a cheery tune; one fraught with foraging fish and wonderful weather. And lead vocals are belted out by my favorites, jumbo perch.

Ice Fishing Survival Tips
If you ask experts when the ice is safe, they will often say, "Never!" That is because ice thickness can vary by several inches even just a few feet away.

Late Winter Walleye Through the Ice  
If you are feeling the mid-winter blahs of walleye fishing, and sense that the fish must hibernate during this slow period, take heart, as some of the best hard-water angling is just around the corner.

Figuring Out the World of Ice Augers
With the hard water finally arriving across Ontario, anglers everywhere are converging on its frozen surface to drill their way through to the fish below. Without the use of an auger, however, this simple task would be virtually impossible to perform. In today's high-tech world of ice fishing, augers come in every shape and size imaginable, leaving many fisherpersons utterly confused and bewildered. This doesn't have to be the case, as figuring out your needs and wants beforehand, will lead you to an informed and correct auger selection. (And hours upon hours of effortless drilling!)

There are amazingly attractive scenes to see during our Northern winter. One need only look out the window to feel the tranquil stillness of new fallen snow. You will find windows burnished with many complex designs and different forms of icicles on homes.

Checking the Ice Fishing Wish List  
With the days growing colder and snow already falling in some parts of North America, ice fishing season looks like it will be upon us shortly. Time to lug out last seasons gear from the shed or basement, and organize it in anticipation of that first step out onto hard water. Upgrading and updating some of that "old" equipment can mean more productive and enjoyable days out on the ice - a great help when the true cold finally sets in. Pick up some new gear that is guaranteed to bring phenomenal results, and look forward to a rewarding year while out on the ice.

Ice Fishing Primer
The geese flew south, the salmon run is complete and ice formed on our favorite bodies of water. It is time for "Hard Water" fishing.

Preparing for the Ice Season
Cold man winter has begun to make his presence felt, and the hard water season will shortly be upon us. Ice fishing is a great way to continue angling through the winter months, and preparing early for the season opener will enable you to tackle anything you may encounter when on the ice. Follow these tips and advice, and get ready for an enjoyable and productive season on the hard stuff.

Artificial Intelligence
Is it possible for man to create something smarter, possibly superior to humankind itself? In Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”, HAL, a fabrication of bits and bytes, overran its makers. Alright, fair enough, that’s a science fiction reference, not breaking news on CNN.

Choosing a 'Stick' For Ice Fishing
With winter about to make it's appearance across Ontario, ice anglers are beginning to feel the excitement as open water lakes slowly begin their frosty transformation. Although it may be a month or two away, getting your equipment together now will save you frustration and headaches further on down the line. One of the most important aspects of hard water fishing is the rod itself. Using the appropriate style for the chosen application will help you land more fish this season - plain and simple.

Ontario Ice Fishing