I was on a very interesting ice fishing trip recently. We caught a lot of perch and crappies and I was introduced to a couple of ice fishing concepts that really caught my attention. Following are some of the things that I was introduced to on this trip.

We were fishing in the Webster area of northeast South Dakota. There are a bunch of lakes in this area, and most of them provide outstanding fishing at some time in the ice fishing season. When I’m in this area I usually fish with my friend Joe Honer. Joe is an outstanding angler on ice or open water. Joe wasn’t available last week, but he suggested I contact Blake Anderson. Joe told me that Blake was an outstanding angler: Joe was right! Blake brought his brother Taylor along. Taylor is also an outstanding angler.

We got on the ice before daybreak and experienced a brief but intense bite. When that bite slowed down, we moved to a different lake that had stained water. The fish were willing to bite at mid-day on that lake. Here’s where Blake got my attention on how to handle a hot bite.

We found some holes that had lots of perch below them. We were in fourteen feet of water. The fish would bite as soon as our bait got down to them, as long as we did one thing: We weren’t keeping any fish, so Blake said that we had to get our bait back down the hole before we released the perch that we had just caught. We caught a perch, took it off the hook, put our bait back down the hole and got it headed toward the bottom, then we released the perch. It seemed like if we put the perch down the hole first, it would leave the area, and the other perch would follow it. If the perch that were still down there saw the bait headed in their direction before they saw the perch released, they would key in on the bait and eat it. I experimented with this concept several times, and every time I released the perch before dropping the bait down, the bite stopped.

Later on in the day we got on another hot bite on another lake. This lake had clear water, and the bite was noticeably better just before the sun hit the horizon and for about a half hour after.

Blake and Taylor had been using waxworms on their spoons all day, and they had been successful. I’d been using Impulse plastic baits in the one inch Mini Smelt shape. I’d been catching them pretty good also.

When the late afternoon bite started, Taylor switched over to the Impulse. He found that the Impulse caught the fish just as well as the live, but he caught bigger fish on the Impulse, and he caught more fish per bait. When the bite is on, it’s good to get your bait back down to the fish as quickly as possible. Impulse enables you to do that.

Anglers who spend a lot of time on the ice or water learn little tricks that help them catch more or bigger fish. If you keep these ideas in mind, you’ll also experience that success. If you really want to experience success on the ice, line up a day of fishing with Joe or Blake or Taylor. Contact them at joeguidesyou.com

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Image courtesy Bob Jensen

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