Top angling tip: The subtle yet effective fishing technique of calling in fish

Bluegills, a favorite among ice anglers, were among the dead fish at Terry Trueblood Lake – about 1,000 bluegills were winter-kill victims at the lake.

We’ve all been there: You’re ice fishing and catch a couple bluegills or crappies or walleyes, then they disappear. How should you handle this angling conundrum? For starters, never be afraid to move if you’re not marking fish after a short time. If you are marking fish, and they’re just displaying negative behavior, try this:

Start to jig farther off the bottom and consider a more aggressive approach. You’re getting these fish attracted to the action you’re creating. You want to trigger them into biting by calling them into a smaller strike window.

Think outside the box. Here’s a prime example. You caught a fish 20 inches off the bottom, so present your bait at 20 inches off bottom for the next fish. Forget six to 12 inches. We are so often brainwashed to fish a specific depth when we should experiment. If a fish won’t bite, don’t waste time, start over and target a new fish in the same hole.

Backup plan: If I’m marking fish in water column, but can’t get them to go, I’ll bring my lure up, then jig subtly to encourage fish to bite up. I’ve seen this transform fish from negative to neutral many times.

Can’t get them to follow your lure up? Then try a different, adjacent hole and pursue that same fish or a different one. Sometimes just changing things up will trigger those bites.

Too often when jigging, we jig too much, almost violently. Always default to subtle movement. Believe it or not, just hovering or holding can trigger that fish.

Final thought: When fishing for walleyes, when the fish bites, center the rod over the hole, and don’t risk fraying your line by running the line along the edge.

And stand up. It’ll help you complete that hookset, if it’s a nicer fish. Heck, set it twice!

Categories: Blog Content, Ice Fishing, Terry Tuma, Walleye

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