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Pinpointing Walleyes During Early Ice

Posted by 
October 4, 2018
Published in News & Tips > Fishing > Ice Fishing
1048   Comment

Small lakes can provide excellent ice fishing opportunities early in the winter! While it is tempting to head out on the lake as soon as it freezes over, I like to wait until there is 4-6 inches of ice. Even then, if there is any question in your mind about the thickness, you should use a spud to constantly check the ice depth as you go out. If it is less than four inches, you should turn around and come back when it is safer.

shop ice fishing gearOnce it is safe to head onto the lake, there are a few key areas where walleye tend to congregate this time of year. I like to focus on deep flats with prominent points, specifically where the point bottoms out as it enters the main basin. This flat could be anywhere between 15 and 25 feet deep and is usually near the deepest water in the lake. While some lakes may have a several spots like this, most only have a couple of these areas. If you can find one with weeds on top of it, that is even better!

The walleye will slide up on the points usually in the afternoons and evenings, but are more likely to be roaming the flat in the morning. Depending on where the forage is located, they may relate tight to the base of the point, or they may scatter over the flat.

parsons 300Another place to look for walleyes is in large bays with large amounts of weeds extending out into deeper water. Concentrate on green weeds, especially if they are sporadic. The walleye like to follow pan fish into these weeds.

frabill tip up
Frabill Arctic Fire Tip-Up


A great tactic to use this time of year is ice fishing tip-ups or JT Outdoors Hot Boxes, you’ll want at least one set right at the base of the point. Then start spreading them out, making sure to cover the flat thoroughly.

Since the walleyes will most likely be holding tight to the bottom, be sure your lines are no more than a foot off the bottom for the best chance to get your Next Bite!

Editor’s Note: If you have questions or comments on this or other articles of mine you may have read, contact me through the website The NextBite.


Tagged under Read 1048 times Last modified on March 6, 2018
Gary Parsons

Home: Glidden, Wisconsin
(wife) Mary, (son) Chase
Whitetail, Grouse, Pheasant Hunting with my 5 Vizsla pointer hunting dogs
: Nitro 290 Sport


Angling Stuff


Favorite Technique: Jigging
Fishing Strength:
All facets of Walleye fishing techniques are strong, but I enjoy pitching jigs the best!
Favorite Lake:
Bull Shoals, Arkansas and Fort Peck, Montana
Favorite Species Fished:
Walleyes, they are the most challenging freshwater fish on the planet because they do so many things and adapt to their food source betterthan any fish I know
Likes to Fish:
Western reservoirs of the Missouri River system. Number one choice, Ft. Peck, MT and then Lake Oahe, SD


Career Highlights

Fishing 29+ years professionally, but fishing since age 4
Angler of the Year in 3 open Professional Walleye Circuits (only person to have won)
Member of the Bass Pro Shops National Fishing Team
2011 Named in Outdoor Life's 20 Best Anglers on the Planet
2011 FLW Championship Qualifier
2011 Named National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame Legendary Angler
2007 Professional Walleye Trail (PWT)
2007 1st place PWT at Winnecoone, WI
2004 1st place Berkley Walleye Cup at Chamberlain, SD
2004 ESPN Great Outdoor Games Qualifier
2003 1st place PWT at Mobridge, SD
2003 Storm Lures Angler of the Year
2000 PWT "Heavy Weight" at Sault Ste Marie, MI
17 Time PWT Championship Qualifier
3 Time (PWT) AOY title record
3 Time AIM Championship Qualifier
1995 North American Walleye Angler (NAWA)
1993,1994 Angler of the Year Professional Walleye Trail (PWT)
1988 Manufacturer's Walleye Council (MWC)

Latest from Gary Parsons


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