Low-water ice-fishing locations

I’m hearing lots of questions about how low water levels from
this fall – the result of low precipitation that continues this
winter – affects fish location. Indeed lake levels are quite low
this winter.

That doesn’t mean we need to dramatically alter how we search
for fish. In high or low water, they’re relating to food sources.
We have lots of clear ice, which means great light penetration for
green weeds, and ample oxygen. Short of a dramatic weather change,
winterkill should be almost nil this year.

Vegetation that normally might not see much light at this time
of year is experiencing good growing conditions thanks to lower
water and clear ice providing more light. Previously open areas
adjacent to vegetation may very well be thick with weeds right
now.

This opens up a whole new swath of ice-fishing opportunities
this winter, so explore it. I usually start around 9 to 10 feet of
water, and I’m sticking with that rule of thumb, but with the
understanding that my hot spots from last year may be too shallow
now. Look deeper as the season progresses.

The clear ice, no snow cover, and low water makes fish more
susceptible to spooking because of noise and general chaos above.
Too many guys are not going out early enough, and a winter like
this demands that we head out early.

Thanks to the warm days and no snow cover, I’m hearing an awful
lot of cracking on ice this year. That makes for a lot of noise due
to expansion. You can do everything right, but that cracking still
may spook fish.

I also suspect that fishing pressure in general will be a bigger
factor early in 2012. Because of marginal ice in late 2011, a lot
of pent-up fishing energy and demand will hit the lakes en masse in
coming days.

Categories: Terry Tuma

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