Great Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques to Help You Catch More Fish

The real secret to catching more fish is knowledge! The more you know, the more fish you'll catch. These ice fishing tips and techniques are proven winners.

Whether you're ice fishing for Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie, Perch or any other type of fish it's important to know as much as you can about the species you're after.

You'll find a lot of great general tips below that relate to most species of fish. But every species has its own nature and characteristics so follow these links for specific information:

Walleye Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Crappie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Sunfish Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Perch Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Northern Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Muskie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Lake Trout Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques


General Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Basic Needs

Important Tip Fish have basic needs for food, shelter and oxygen just like we do. Often the location of fish is dictated by these needs.

Fish Movement

In small shallow lakes fish typically move shallower as the season progresses. This is due to limited oxygen supplies in deeper water.

In large deep lakes fish typically go where there's food and cover because there's generally no oxygen problem. Temperature also affects fish so they may remain deeper where the water is slightly warmer.

Important Tip Most species of fish become less active during the winter. Especially mid winter. First ice and last ice they're more active and are far easier to catch.

Fish Senses

Just like people, fish relate to things around them using their senses. And just like people they can see, hear, smell and taste.

Fish have color vision that's pretty good as long as the water isn't too dirty and the sun is shining.

Important Tip Fish can see above them quite well which is why you normally place your lure above the fish. But be careful, if the water is clear and shallow you could spook the fish with movement over the hole.

What's most amazing about fish is their lateral line which, in a way, is their sense of touch. The lateral line allows fish to detect movement in water. It's used to sense danger, swim in unison and find food.

Important Tip  Fish use their senses to detect movement to find food. There's no method more effective for attracting and catching fish during the winter than jigging. We'll talk a lot more about different types of jigs and how to jig.

Feeding Frenzies

Fish feeding patterns are affected by many things. Here are some of the most important.

Important Tip Some fish, like Walleye and Crappie, are more active during the 90 minutes surrounding sun up and sun down. Other fish, like Pike and Sunfish, are more active during the day.

Important Tip A full moon or a new moon will generally trigger more feeding.

Important Tip Fish are more active during stable weather patterns or a dropping barometer which often signals an approaching storm.

Many large fish are caught when all three of these factors occur at the same time.

More Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Important Tip Fishing smaller lakes early in the year will give you a longer ice fishing season since they freeze faster.

Important Tip As the winter progresses, move to larger lakes. Larger lakes have more oxygen which means the fish will be more active.

Important Tip Fish relate to structure so before you fish a lake, get the best map you can and identify the lakes structure. Look for points, breaks, weed lines, and underwater humps. Click here to learn about fish attracting lake structure.

Important Tip During first ice fish the points and bars that extend from shore and the weed lines. Mid winter look for fish around the deeper structure like mid-lake humps and rock piles. As spring and spawning get closer the fish will begin to move shallower to where they were during first ice.

Important Tip Follow the example of the ice fishing pros and drill several holes at varying depths around the structure your fishing. If you don't see any fish on your flasher or catch any fish in 15 minutes try another hole.

Important Tip Some fish, like Walleye and Perch, are found close to the lake bottom. Crappie and Sunfish are normally suspended.

Important Tip Start by jigging larger lures about a foot off the bottom to attract and catch the more aggressive fish. If you're seeing fish but not catching them switch to a smaller jig.

Important Tip While ice fishing, using live bait is essential whether you're jigging, dead sticking, using a bobber, or a tip up. See the Tips & Techniques for individual species for further information.

Important Tip The most important tip to remember is to have fun! You'll learn some things from this site and other places but make sure you get out there put this information into practice every chance you get.

Walleye Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Crappie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Sunfish Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Perch Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Northern Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Muskie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

Lake Trout Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques

 

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