Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Pro Tip of the Week: Monitoring, catching ice walleyes during early to mid-season transition

By “Tackle” Terry Tuma

A common question I’ve heard at recent ice-angling seminars has focused on targeting walleyes as they transition from deep to shallow prior to sunset. About 30 minutes before sunset, walleyes usually will move up atop flats to feed. They may stop at any depth, so where do we begin fishing on the deep side of that flat?

First, start your search on obvious transition areas, say a weed edge, where a hard bottom meets sand, or sand meets mud … wherever you have logical transitions.

Finding and catching these fish works great with a partner. Drill holes over deep water and move upward toward where you believe walleyes are moving – deep, then mid-depth, then shallow. Think of this approach as almost like casting but without any open water!

Then, set up with your fishing buddy each with a deadstick and a jigging line. One guy should start deeper than the other. Have one angler work that depth range with his rod, while the deep-water guy moves to that mid-depth area. Focus now on working your hole with the ice rod via jigging spoons, complete with a jig and minnow head, a jigging Shad Rap, or vertical jigging spoons.

As the fish move, follow them. You and your partner likely will find yourselves hopscotching each other.

Final tip: Drill your holes early – no later than at about 3 p.m. – to let the noise factor settle down. Keep in mind that sunset occurs about 30 minutes earlier under the ice. So don’t be starting at 4 p.m.

If you’re marking fish off a deep-water flat in the midafternoon, this is a nearly can’t-miss dusk strategy!

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