Secret tip-up tactics for the heart of winter ice fishing
More and more the past couple of winters, I’ve been using tip-ups as a search tool. You can have two lines in Minnesota through the ice, so take advantage of this rule and work a tip-up while jigging with another line.
My typical tip-up rig for walleyes consists of tip-up line, then at end of line, I use a snap (not a swivel). Then attach your own live bait rig. Think 3-foot snell of mono (it stretches), then at one end of the snell add a black barrel swivel. On the opposite end use 8-pound-test line. Then tie on a 5-millimeter bead and a colored hook.
What colors? Vary it between tip-ups – pink, red, purple, whatever… but just mix it up. Maybe use one with a plain hook and one with a colored hook. You’ll find me also using a blade or two, typically 00. It doesn’t spin spontaneously, but your shiner will move that blade, thus adding a little flash to your setup.
Tie two to four of these pre-rigged snells at home, then just remove them from a live bait snell holder as you fish. Don’t re-tie during your prime fishing time on the ice.
Finally, place a split shot on there, 5 to 6 inches above the hook. As for live bait, shiners work extremely well as do larger fatheads. Place your hook near the tail or parallel to the dorsal fin with point toward the head.
Once a tip-up flag pops, catch (and possibly release) that fish, and reset it quickly. Too many guys dinging around with tip-ups for too long when they should be jigging their rods. Tip-ups aren’t rocket science. Move them to different holes periodically, but don’t overthink them.