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Late Ice Fishing Tips & Tactics

It appears that my ice-fishing season is about over. I’ve got a trip scheduled for this week, and that’s to northern Minnesota. After that, I’m going to be fishing rivers and waiting for fishing season to open on the inland lakes across the Midwest. However, just because it’s my last ice-fishing trip of the year doesn’t mean it needs to be your last time on the ice. The ice should remain good until close to the end of March, maybe early April in the northern areas of the Midwest. It depends on weather: Rain and thunder will knock the ice out quickly, but cold weather will keep it safe longer. Mother Nature has a lot of influence on how long we get to be on the ice.

Late season ice-fishing can provide outstanding action. The days are longer and the weather is warmer. If the snow is melted from the ice, you can get around easier.

And, best of all, the fish bite really good this time of year. Walleye and pike action can be good if you’re fishing somewhere that allows them to be pursued this time of year.

Perch, crappies, and bluegills are a good bet almost everywhere. They’re going to be spawning in a few weeks, and they’re eating in preparation of the spawn. All in all, if you can go ice-fishing now, you should go.

The fish will bite all day, but still, that early and late bite will frequently be best. If weather is coming in, the action will hold up all day. Fish can feel weather changes under the ice just as good as they can in open water.

Remember that crappies have larger mouths than bluegills or sunfish, and their food preferences reflect that. ‘Gills and sunfish want smaller baits: Crappies will go for bigger stuff. However, if the action for crappies is slow, smaller baits will often be better accepted by them.

If perch are your goal, start with smaller stuff, say a sixteenth ounce Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon. If they willingly eat that size, got to the eighth ounce size. If they hit the eighth size, go the quarter ounce size. Use the biggest size they’ll hit for two reasons.

First reason is, bigger baits usually catch bigger fish.

Second reason is that the heavier baits sink faster, so they get back down to the fish quicker than a lighter bait. If you’re fishing deep water and the fish are biting, you want to catch a fish, get it off the hook, then get your bait back down there quickly. The heavier bait sinks faster, so it gets back down to the fish quickly.

A Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon or Forage Minnow Spoon tipped with a Gulp! Alive Minnow Head is an outstanding perch bait.

Other panfish go big time for Slug Bugs and Bro’s Bloodworms.

One piece of advice on clothing: Wear water resistant bibs. The snow and ice can get really slushy this time of year. You want to keep dry: Cabela’s GuideWear will keep you comfortable and dry underneath even when conditions are pretty sloppy.

You might have to travel a little to find good ice. Make sure the ice is safe before you go out. If no one is driving on the ice, you shouldn’t either. If no one is walking on the ice, neither should you. But if you see other folks out there, you should be out there also. You have a chance of encountering the best ice action of the year.

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Posted On: 03/24/2011 09:39 AM
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Tags: ice, fishing, rsquo, tips, tactics, ice-fishing, season, trip, northern, going
More Tags: Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon, food preferences, Nature, Alive Minnow Head, Minnesota,
Region: North Dakota

Categories: Fishing > Ice Fishing
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