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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.