Sunfish Ice Fishing
Tips and Techniques
The real secret to
catching more fish is knowledge! The more you know, the more fish you'll
catch. These Sunfish ice fishing tips and techniques are proven winners.
Sunfish are fun to catch no matter what your age. They're usually
easier to find and catch then most other species of fish. Sunfish make a great
If you want to catch more Sunfish the two most important keys are location
and presentation. You could have the most appealing bait in the world but
if there aren't any fish around it's going to be a looong day. And, not catching
a thing while everyone else around you is catching fish can be really
frustrating. What you present to the fish is just as important
as finding them.
The information found here is best used along with some investigative work
done by you. Finding out what the Department of Natural Resources says about a
lake and talking to local anglers, especially at the bait shop, can save you a
ton of time finding the fish and knowing what they're biting on.
Sunfish can be ice fished at any hour of the day but changing light conditions in
the morning and evening usually triggers more activity and feeding.
Sunfish Ice Fishing Location
In early winter Sunfish can be found in the same places they were just prior
to ice up. Look for them in shallow weeds and just off the weed line. Especially
when the weeds are combined with shoreline breaks and points.
Click here to learn about fish attracting lake
By mid winter the Sunfish will have moved off the structure, usually to the
nearest deep basin. Start by looking for them suspended in the basin near the
structure and at the same depth of the structure. Sunfish follow food so as the
zooplankton and minnows move, so do the Sunfish.
Late winter they'll begin to move in closer to the bays and weed lines. Sunfish
spawn in shallow, dark bottom bays after the ice is out. You'll find them moving
closer to these spawning areas as spring approaches.
Before we switch gears and talk about presentation, remember locating Sunfish is
only half the battle. Don't just drill one hole. Instead drill several holes and
find the fish.
Using modern electronics can also help you find fish faster. Depth, fish and
structure can all
be seen using a flasher (Vexilar or Marcum).
Sunfish Ice Fishing Presentation
OK, you've found the Sunfish, now let's look at some effective techniques to
get them on the ice!
The most effective ice fishing presentation is jigging. Jigging is basically
raising your rod tip about a foot, then dropping it back down to its starting
A very effective method is to raise and drop the tip, wait 5-10 seconds and
repeat the raise/drop.
Another jigging technique made popular by the pro ice fisherman Dave Genz is
pounding the jig. Pounding a jig is basically jiggling your rod tip up and down
just an inch or two very quickly.
If you're not using a flasher and have no idea what depth the fish are at, start
by jigging near the bottom. If you don't find fish, come up a foot or two.
Continue the process until you either find fish or reach the ice with your lure.
Now that you've got the hang of jigging, lets look at the lure/bait you're
using. There are several jigs that have proved effective over time. Be willing
to experiment with any of the jigs pictured below.
Vertical Sunfish Jigs
Northland Tackle Doodle Bug
Horizontal Sunfish Jigs
HT Enterprises Marmooska
Custom Jigs & Spins Rat Finke
System Tackle Genz Worm
System Tackle Fat Boy
Using live bait is important to trigger a bite. Tipp your jig with either a
lively Waxworm or Eurolarvae.
In most places while ice fishing you're allowed more than one rod. I usually set
up a second rod with a float (bobber) and a lively grub on a small hook or jig
while ice fishing for Sunfish.
Hopefully you've found something new to try in these Sunfish ice fishing tips
and techniques that will help you ice more fish.
What most people consider luck is usually a combination of preparation and
practice so get out there and enjoy the practice!
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