Many are the preparations for ice fishing season 2016-17
With normal freezing overnight temperatures and snow cover across the northern portion of the ice belt, hard water angling will begin soon. If you haven’t prepared your equipment and established a plan for early ice, do it now.
For starters, purchase rods or set up your existing rods for specific species. The days of one-size-fits-all ice fishing rods are over. Today, there are panfish rods, pike and lake trout rods, and walleye rods.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve replaced last year’s line on my rods with species-appropriate fishing line. With über-light-test, thin line for ice fishing, especially panfish, there’s little room for error, and we need top quality line. Consider using fluorocarbon ice fishing line as it’s extremely sensitive and it it sinks quickly.
I’ve stored my boat for winter, but I’m still researching lakes. For first ice, which is just days away, I’ll choose five lakes for my top species – places for my 2016-2017 winter bucket list.
We hear so much about new lures, so now’s the time to research and choose some. A big factor for me is separate, small, and simple tackle packets. Have a tackle box one for crappies and bluegills, one for walleyes and perch. I am wasting fishing time when I’m busy sorting through multi-species lures on ice. This all gets back to efficiency and being well organized.
As for lure size, we constantly hear small, small, small, but this winter I’m definitely going to use larger lures, like smaller vertical jigging spoons. As in the past couple of winters, larger baits for crappies and bluegills will perform well. Big fish aren’t the only fish to take big baits. Small ones do, too!
You’ll see vertical jigging spoons are diversifying for crappies, bluegills, and perch. Smaller versions are coming on strong that are a little lighter weight for good flutter action. Anglers asked for it and manufacturers delivered it! Just always be sure to match line to the lures you’re using.
Hard water almost has arrived!