By Tom Neustrom
The latest dumping of snow in the north has made ice fishing a bit tougher than normal, but there are options with deep snow that can be a whole lot of fun. Tip-up fishing for pike has been a method for years. Getting to in-shore locations are most often easier with limited travel due to deep snow.
Pike like to patrol areas that are close to shore where cabbage and other weed beds hold countless numbers of perch and other forage. Walking out to these areas are often your only choice with deep snow. Depths of 8-15 feet in relation to outside edges of weeds are prime locations to find hungry pike.
I prefer to spool up with 60-80 pound braid and then run a 4-5 foot section of 20-pound mono. I prefer a #2/0 Kahle Hook, but if I’m using larger sucker minnows, a quick-strike rig works best. I also utilize different weights to anchor down an over active bait. Many times when using smaller sucker minnows or medium size shiners there may be a bonus walleye around. Drill 8-10 holes in an area 20-40 yards wide. Change the location of your tip up every 30 minutes or so. With deep snow conditions its easy to see the flag on the tip up when you get a bite. You are allowed 2 tip ups per angler, so bring a buddy and have more chances at success.
If you haven’t tried tip up fishing for northern pike give it a try. It’s especially productive when there is deep snow and travel is limited.
Neustrom is a multi-species fishing guide, known for his walleye expertise on more than 35 lakes in Minnesota. He is based in the Grand Rapids area. Check out his website or contact him at www.mnfishingconnections.com