Get your sled packed and start your auger—it’s time to hit the hard water and go ice fishing.
At first ice, you’ll find the fish relaxed and concentrated on prime spots. They’ll be eager to bite as they haven’t been hassled for several months and they’ve regrouped.
If you don’t have a sonar unit, contour maps of the lake bottom can help. Or, if you’re fishing a lake that you also fish in the summer, you can return to some of your favorite shoals, humps, and reefs.
When in doubt, it’s best to get your lure slightly above the fish rather than below them. The position of a panfish’s eyes require him to feed up.
You can vastly boost the odds of a successful hookset by replacing the bottom treble hooks on your swimbaits and jigging raps with super-sharp hooks that are a size larger than the original.
Gather your gear, call up some buddies, and enjoy your time on the ice.
Read: Dressing for Ice Fishing
Watch Video Tips: Ice Fishing With Dead Stick Rods
By Larry Whiteley, Host of the award winning
Outdoor World Radio