Ontario Fishing Network E-Magazine

Ontario Fishing Network

Volume 12,  Issue 1- January  2011

    Youtube Fishing



Winter Panfish Toolkit?
By Tim Allard

Fishing Product Showcase

Three Tactics for More Muskie!
by Pete Maina

Jig Fishing for Largemouth Bass & Getting Hooked in the Hand
Facts of Fishing THE SHOW

Ice Fishing Cartoon

Northern Walleye Lodge
Dog Lake offers world-class fishing for Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Lake Trout, Perch, and Whitefish with streams and portage lakes that are stuffed with Brook Trout.

Frabill Worm Can
Sporting dual, top and bottom bait compartments, each sealed with a watertight quarter-turn lid, the Crawler Can cools and can store two different types of baits within a single can. 

Winter Trout Tips
Early ice and last ice are absolutely the best times for trout. By: Tyler Dunn

Out of the Ice Age – Into the New Age: Flashers are DEAD!
by Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz

Al Foss Baits
3 Dimensional Fishing!!

Ottawa River – Walleye or Sauger
By Lawrence Euteneier
Flowing past Canada’s Parliament and threw our forth largest city, Ottawa, the Ottawa River may be one of Canada’s least appreciated recreational fisheries.

Get North - Ontario Fishing Vacation Directory (New site)
Search here for your next awesome fishing trip!

Fishing Lodge Classifieds
Come fish your heart out at one of these many Lodges, Camps and Resorts.

Facts of Fishing

Ontario Perch Fishing

Ontario Fish Species

Bay Of Quinte 

Total Snowshoes

Winter Panfish Toolkit   By Tim Allard*

The essential gear you need to ice panfish isn’t extensive. An assortment of baits, a light action rod, and a good auger are the key ingredients. Spicing up this menagerie are sophisticated tools, such as electronics. These aren’t mandatory, but they’ll help you catch more fish. The following items represent a well-rounded toolkit for coaxing pannies topside.

Safety Gear
First and late ice offers incredible panfish action. Generally speaking though, these book-end phases of winter are also when ice quality and thickness is the least predictable. Your safety should always take priority over biting fish. Carrying the following safety tools is highly recommended. Ice picks help you pull yourself from the water should you fall through the ice, while a flotation suit or a PDF will keep you buoyant. A spud (chisel) is useful to test the ice thickness in front of you as you walk. Lastly, boot cleats provide traction on slick ice. '

Drill Particulars
A manual auger between 4.5- to 6-inches will serve you well depending on your target species. Lightweight and inexpensive, they’re also quieter than motor-driven models, a bonus for shallow-water stealth. A power auger, however, is a luxury in thick ice conditions and when punching 100-plus holes a day. If your concerned about noise from power models spooking skinny-water panfish, the whisper quiet Strike-Lite II from StrikeMaster Augers will eliminate your worries.

Regardless of auger type, carry a supply kit containing: spare blades and fastening screws, allen key, wrench, and an extra spark plug for power augers. Remember to maintain your auger. If it fails, the trip’s over unless someone nearby is willing to drill you a few holes.

A Panfish Tool Belt
A lanyard’s a great accessory to keep important tools within reach. Mine has a small file for sharpening hooks, a pair of clippers for cutting line, and a LED light for charging glow baits. It also holds removable forceps. These are less bulky than pliers and better for removing tiny ice jigs from small-jawed panfish. Remove or tuck the lanyard in your jacket when operating an auger as having it dangling is dangerous.

Keeping Fingertips Toasty
Panfishing demands a lot of fine motor skill maneuvering, like tipping a jig with maggots. It’s important to have fingertips unhindered to complete these tasks, while still having a system to insulate them so they don’t get cold and cramped. When fishing I use flip-mitts or fingerless gloves and am a fan of Glacier Glove’s fleece and neoprene models. Larger pair of mitts work well for intense cold and when commuting between spots. Carrying spare gloves is recommended. I also keep a fishing towel to dry off wet hands.

Sonar for PanfishCarriers and Windbreaks
A container of some sort’s a must for transporting gear on the ice. Options include a 5- to 6-gallon pail, a small ice fishing sled, or a flip-over portable shelter. Sleds and buckets, which double as seats, work well in mild conditions and when doing a lot of walking and traveling light, such as late-ice perching. Portable shelters shine in cold and windy conditions. Their tent fabric creates a warmer interior when combined with a heater (make sure your shelter’s properly ventilated to let fumes escape). They also block wind from blowing ice fishing line, a bonus when finesse fishing.

High-Tech Tools
For hard-core anglers electronics are indispensable. A GPS loaded with a lake’s map data, such as that found on Navionics HotMaps cards, lets you navigate to off-shore structures and return to waypoints, like weed clumps. A portable sonar displays water depth, your lure, and nearby fish. Interpreting the sonar gives clues on a fish’s mood based on its reaction to the lure, letting you experiment with jigging moves to pinpoint the perfect pattern to trigger bites. An underwater camera has merit too, such as observing panfish behavior, seeing the components of fish-holding habitat, and learning jigging techniques for various baits. Murky water conditions and snow cover will limit camera visibility, however.

A Range of Baits
Always carry a mix of ice baits. Small jigs with different profiles (e.g., horizontal and vertical), puny plastics, and tiny spoons and jigging minnows represent a healthy selection. Larger lures Ice Fishing Jigslet you quickly cover more water and attract fish. They sometimes also appeal to bigger or more aggressive pannies. Smaller ice jigs and plastics excel in finesse situations. Store baits in small see-through trays or fly-fishing boxes, keeping them in your outerwear pocket so they’re always within reach.

Balanced and Well-Stocked
Open-water tackle is rife with technique-specific rods and this mindset has a place on the ice. A well-stocked rod case will include a mix of ultra-light, light, and medium-light rods. The golden rule of rod selection is using a balanced outfit that’s sensitive enough to feel the bait, properly present the lure, and detect faint hits. Use standard rods for larger lures and aggressive jigging. Noodle or spring bobber models are better for finesse jigging and signaling light or up-swimming strikes.

Micro spinning reels from reputable manufacturers are the choice for trophy seekers given their quality components and superior drag systems. Opt for 2- to 4-pound-test monofilament or fluorocarbon ice-fishing specific line, matching line strength to lure weight and target species.

Bait Containers
Live bait is critical to success on tough bites, whether soaking a minnow for crappie or using a maggot-tipped jig for sunfish. In winter, an insulated minnow bucket, like Frabill’s Kool Keeper, is better than a plastic pail. An aerator will add oxygen to keep minnows lively, and the circulation this creates delays water freezing. For maggots and wax worms a StrikeMaster Bait Puck or Lindy Grub Getter are good choices for carrying bait; keep the container in an inside jacket pocket to prevent bait from freezing.

The above items represent a well-rounded panfish tool kit. Stick with the basics to get started, but don’t be shy about integrating specialized gear, like a power auger or a portable sonar, into your panfishing search strategies. These sophisticated instruments will help you ice more fish this winter.

*Tim Allard of Ottawa, Ontario is a hard-water expert and author-photographer of the newly released book, Ice Fishing: The Ultimate Guide.

Editors & Publishers
T.J. & Monique Quesnel
The Ontario Fishing Network E-Magazine is published 12 times a year on or near the beginning of every month. Our magazine is geared to any angler who enjoys fishing of any type in the wonderfully diverse province of Ontario. Editorial Submissions: We welcome query letters, but assume no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Subscriptions: Subscriptions are FREE of charge and delivered via email.  You can subscribe HERE:  Privacy Policy: Unlike other publications We NEVER make our subscribers list (your email address) available to any other companies. Advertising: If you are interested in advertising please email us. Circulation - 13,000  email subscribers © 2011  Due North Marketing / Ontario Fishing Network / T.J. Quesnel. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material without prior written permission strictly prohibited.