Ice fishing tip for walleyes and panfish: try big, flashy, noisy spoons
Mother Nature flipped the winter switch early this year. Colder temps are upon us and the ice fishing season has begun.
Every time you hit the ice you have to determine the mood of the fish. There are days when fish strike everything, then there are days where they won’t bite period. Well maybe they just aren’t biting on what you are offering. Change it up.
Whether it’s walleyes, crappies, sunfish, or perch, I like to fish with the biggest and heaviest lures possible. When the fish are active, extra movement will turn them on, and they like big flashy lures. I also prefer heavy lures because you can sink them back down the hole before fish leave the area. A large flashy spoon can also convert a neutral fish into an active fish!
Dropping a deadstick with a live minnow near your jigging hole also helps hold fish. Your jigging action on Rod 1 should help attract fish, but if they don’t like something, then maybe they’ll grab a live minnow dangling a foot off the bottom via Rod 2.
I head to the lake with several pre-rigged rods, and once I start fishing I always have at least two rods baited and ready to go. This allows me to swap rods fast before a fish swims away.
When I am hole-hopping, I drop a lure that quickly sinks to the bottom. When it gets there, jerk it so the lure will flash and dart. Then switch to smaller movements and see if anything approaches. If nothing comes in, move on. If fish sniff but won’t bite, change it up. Try different profiles, vary your colors, and drop to smaller sizes. Give the fish what they want and you can turn them into biters.
I used to believe that some of my lures were too big for fish, so I considered them attractor lures. The fish proved me wrong by inhaling some pretty big spoons. I now start big and work down.
When it comes to the size of these lures, I’ll employ spoons up to 3 inches or so for walleyes, then use small walleye spoons for crappies, sunfish, and perch. There always will be times that you have to work the smallest lures you own, but you can’t go wrong starting big.
Good luck ice fishing and stay safe.