Putting it all together on ice
Let’s focus on how to target a specific species on a specific
body of water. Different scenarios require different equipment,
plus we need to understand fish behavior and the water we’re
working. Water clarity, weather, fishing pressure, type of lake,
and availability of food sources all play a role here.
Before hitting the ice, ask yourself: What do I think is going to
be most effective technique for catching fish? This is where
pre-planning and pre-rigging helps catch fish. Researching the
biology of fish and understanding their food and habitat of a
specific species is important here.
Every angler wants to find a fast pattern, a key ingredient, that
will put them on biting fish. Some days it’s hard to find a
pattern, especially during a tough bite. Bottom line, be
For starters, think about fish movements and make educated
assumptions about where we might locate fish. Available vegetation
and bottom structure all affect the habitat. Type of weather, time
of winter, cloud cover, and time of day should enter into the
equation. Generally speaking, maybe spend a half hour
experimenting. Sometimes it’s about playing a hunch, just don’t
play that hunch for more than a half hour.
Here’s an example:
Say we’d like to vertical-jig fish for sunnies. Pick a lake that
has good-sized fish. Monitor the Outdoor News lake reports or
fishing reports. Check the DNR’s lake maps or chat with local
anglers or bait shops. , (One caveat here: Don’t allow yourself to
end up fishing where everyone else fishes!) After you’ve selected
the lake, start targeting deeper fish, especially during midwinter.
Look for points and drop-offs, or maybe a transition or a main
basin connected to a nearby feeding flat. Even in the dead of
winter, there has to be food nearby.