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Midseason tips while on the ice

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Midseason tips while on the ice
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

By Bob Jensen, Fishing the Midwest

In many areas where anglers fish through the ice this time of year, we are at about the midway part of the season. Most lakes have a good cover of ice as well as some snow. We also have cold weather, lots of it.


There are a number of things we can do to catch more fish through the ice this time of year, but you’ve got to go fishing to catch ‘em. That sounds pretty simplistic, but consider that getting cold isn’t that much fun for most people so they don’t go fishing when it’s too cold. With today’s clothing options, you don’t need to get cold. Dress appropriately and get out there. Here we go.

Some people like to fish from the warmth of a fish house. Some of the fish houses today are really nice, and they’re really fun to fish from. They have TV, a kitchen, comfortable chairs, and they’re warm.

The problem with fishing from a house like this is, you’ve got to wait for the fish to come to you. Some anglers prefer to go to the fish.

They pop a bunch of holes, then get their sonar unit and a rod with a spoon or a jig or something with a hook attached and start visiting each of the holes they’ve popped. If you don’t see a fish on the sonar unit, keep moving until you do find fish.

Remember that you’ll only see fish that are in the cone angle of your transducer. If you’re using a 20-degree transducer, you’ll be able to see an area about one third of the depth. In 25 of water, you’re seeing an area of about seven feet. If there’s a fish within that area, you’ll see it. But there could be a fish a few feet outside that area that you don’t see. You can draw it to your bait. Here’s how.

“Pounding” is a technique that many successful anglers use to attract a perch or walleye to their bait. You simply lift and drop your spoon so it “pounds” the bottom. When the spoon hits the bottom, it kicks up a little cloud of dust, and this attracts fish to your spoon. If you “pound” your spoon awhile and nothing shows up, find another hole to “pound.” Eventually the fish will show up.

Once you have some fish below you that are willing to bite, it works well to stop your spoon well above the bottom. Try to determine how far up the fish will come to take your bait. If you drop the spoon all the way to the bottom into a bunch of fish and catch a couple of fish from that group, the others will spook. If you keep the spoon above the fish and catch the ones that move up to it, the others won’t spook as quickly. You’ll catch more fish per hole.

When the bite is on, you want to fish fast. Catch a fish and get your bait back down there while they’re still around and willing to bite.

Impulse plastic baits enable you to fish faster because you’re not re-baiting as much as you would with live bait.

Get a pair of warm boots and get on the ice. Keep moving until you find the fish and you can find some hot action even when it’s cold outside.

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