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Ice Fishing

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Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 11 30, 2015 •  [Post 1]

Anyone make it out on the ice yet? I walked on water for the first time this year yesterday, checked the ice on a couple local ponds, it was 5-6", game on!
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 30, 2015 •  [Post 2]

Nice, was waiting for the first ice fishing thread to start up. I really miss ice fishing in Montana. I'll live vicariously through you elkstalker; please let us know how it goes once you pull that sled out on the ice for the first time in pursuit of icy trout.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby Lefty » 12 05, 2015 •  [Post 3]

elkstalker wrote:Anyone make it out on the ice yet? I walked on water for the first time this year yesterday, checked the ice on a couple local ponds, it was 5-6", game on!

My daughters going up to Henry's tomorrow. She was told there is 8 inches,.. Im sure there has to be more after last week

I heard all the geese are over your direction
Were putting in a small pit this week,.. Always a good place to read during Christmas breck
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 12 07, 2015 •  [Post 4]

We have had a few good goose hunts, they are pretty concentrated with everything froze up, but if you are on the right spot... :D Better luck with the ducks so far, with the warm temps this week things should open up and they'll spread out. Went out ice fishing yesterday but it was short lived, my daughter was playing on the shore and fell and cut her leg, resulted in 5 stitches... Our ice is going to disappear quickly this week with 50 degrees and rain.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 12 09, 2015 •  [Post 5]

We were so close here to hard water!

Over Thanksgiving we were down in the single digits and it was looking good. Since it has warmed considerably. 64 degrees today with winds in the 30's. Knocked off most of the ice that was building.

They are fishing lakes up high in the Black Hills and doing well on trout and pike. I'll wait until the prairie and lower lakes freeze to target walleye, perch and crappie. I have a 6 and 4 year old that love to ice fish. They are NOT in any way, shape, or form interested in putting anything back down the hole! Trout are so easy to catch but ok to eat IMO so I don't like bringing a bunch home. The "eyes" , perch and crappie on the other hand are well worth the effort.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 12 30, 2015 •  [Post 6]

Any ice fishing reports from you cold weather state cats?
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 12 31, 2015 •  [Post 7]

I'll be going out this afternoon and again tomorrow and maybe Sunday.

Went last Sunday and didn't even get a bite. Was fishing for Pike and that is feast or famine. Finally have good ice everywhere.

Will be walleye fishing today and depending on how that goes will determine what we fish for tomorrow. If we get into them will likely do the same tomorrow. If no luck then we'll go perch fishing.

Hope to have some pictures to put up. I love ice fishing.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 01, 2016 •  [Post 8]

Brought home 4 walleye last night. All about 14 inches, good eaters. Fished 20 foot, fairly shallow but weather was a factor. Was cold and wind was blowing 30 sustained across the ice. I wanted to go farther but had my two little boys along and was afraid they were going to freeze if I kept going so just set up.

Had a good day. Fish moved up shallow and began biting right before dark. Caught one on a tip up, 1 jigging and 2 on minnow tipped jigs with a bobber. Going back after them today. Supposed to be much warmer so should be able to walk farther and get over some deeper water. No pictures from last night. Were catching them right before we had to leave so was in rush.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 01 05, 2016 •  [Post 9]

Jmez,
We have two lakes nearby that have healthy walleye populations, in the summer I catch them from 5-25 feet, but focus on 15'. I have only been able to ice one in many trips out. What is the key to finding them in the winter? Is 20' pretty shallow for winter walleye? On the bottom or suspended?
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby Lost Dog » 01 08, 2016 •  [Post 10]

Ice fishing at Vega Reservoir was kind of slow but we did catch three nice rainbows

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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 08, 2016 •  [Post 11]

Haven't had a chance to upload any pics yet but we just hammered the walleye last weekend.

Had a couple giants on and lost them. My 6 year old had one on that we got about 5 inches out of the hole and the hook broke on the jig. It was a 10+ lb fish. I've caught a 13 and a 12 and this fish was in that class. I went into the shoulder to try and grab it but couldn't keep ahold of her. My brother brought one to the ice and couldn't get her head turned up to bring her through the hole. Her head was below the hole he was fishing in and her tail was past the next hole beside him. She was at least a 30 inch fish which would put her in the 10# range.

Brother went back yesterday and caught 24. It's on!!


Elkstalker. At this time of the year you should find them in the last place they were in the fall before ice up. A few questions. How deep is the lake? How big is the lake? Are there any topo maps of the lake online I could look at?

The lake we are on goes to 60 feet. We are currently catching them in 30 feet of water. The depth isn't quite as important as structure. In the winter they tend not to go as shallow to feed. If they do it will be in the dark. As always structure is the key. In the winter I like main lake points that have good drops and inside curves with contour. As it gets closer to spring or ice out you should move close to a rock dam main lake points that are close to river/creek inlets where the fish will go to spawn.

You can catch them all day but you will have about a 90 minute window around sunrise and sunset where you won't be able to keep any lines in the water.

During the day I fish them between 50-30 feet off of points that have steep breaklines. I like to jig and catch most of them jigging. I will set tipups from 50 foot of water up to 20 foot of water, trying to have 1 every 10ft depth range. I use a vexilar and try to set them right on the breaks. I'll put my shack in 30 ft of water and jig there. Generally, if there are fish around, you will have one show up within 10 minutes of jigging a hole. I'd give it a half hour before moving. I want to have one caught or show up on the vexilar within that time frame, if not I'll move deeper.

I run a minnow on a treble hook on the tip ups. In my shack I'll have 4 holes. I jig in one and have minnows on jig heads 6 inches off the bottom in the other three. My main 2 jigs are a buckshot rattle jig in pink and white or fire tiger and a Rapala jiggin rap in orange and gold. The fish have to be pretty aggressive to hit the Rapala. It works best early am and evening. I always have a piece of minnow on the buckshot rattle jig and I rarely stop moving it if there is a fish close.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 08, 2016 •  [Post 12]

You won't find them suspended in the winter. They are going to be right on the bottom. I like the buckshot rattle jig because it is big and heavy. I do a lot of "rip jigging." Let the jig lay on the bottom, give a hard jerk to pull it up about 18inces to 2 feet and then let it immediately fall to the bottom on a slack line. I want the jig to hit the bottom and stir up mud. If I'm not jigging it I want it 6 inches off the bottom.

All of my bait lines are 6 inches off the bottom. If you have any suspended fish they are perch or crappie.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 08, 2016 •  [Post 13]

Here are a few



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Image



Image
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 08, 2016 •  [Post 14]

A couple more.


Image


Image
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby Lost Dog » 01 09, 2016 •  [Post 15]

Nice walleyes there jmez. Good eating size.

My wife's family live in Minnesota and love to fish for "wallys". Lots of fun when you find them "stacked" and if they have "shoulders" even better!

Here is a pic from several years back of some nice "pigs" caught through the ice.

Image
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 01 13, 2016 •  [Post 16]

Thanks for the tips Jmez! The lakes we fish here in Idaho that have walleye are rocky reservoirs, with shallow mudflats where tributaries enter. They are relatively small, 3-10 miles long, and narrow. There are lots of rocky points, I think I'll start there, and get pretty deep 80-100+ feet on the deep side of the lakes. I believe I've been fishing a little too shallow, so I'll look to fish a bit deeper and see what happens. We're also limited to bait we can use, can't use any live bait except for worms, mealworms, & wax worms.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 14, 2016 •  [Post 17]

You shouldn't have to go over 50 feet. Even that is deep, I prefer around 30.

Caution, if you go 40 feet or deeper you need to reel the fish up very slow if you are going to release. Their stomach will be out of their mouth and air bladders overinflated if you bring them up fast from that deep.

If you cant use any live bait get a couple of packages of Berkley Gulp Baitfish. Pinch them in half and put half of it on one of the hooks on your jig. It will greatly increase your catch rate. The scent and "meat" on the lure makes a big difference. A lot of guys are now using small lipless crankbaits for jigging under the ice as well. They need to have a lot of rattle. Have not tried it myself but they are doing it around here and has been working.

If you can find rocky points with steep breaks you'll catch fish.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 01 19, 2016 •  [Post 18]

I set up Sunday afternoon/evening off a rocky point and fished for about three hours until just after dark. Left a few poles in shallow water for trout and jigged anywhere from 20-30 feet for walleye with a spoon tipped with a piece of worm. Caught quite a few trout but no luck on the walleye, hopefully the ice holds out for a while, I'm bound and determined to figure these walleye out :D
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby jmez » 01 24, 2016 •  [Post 19]

Finally got out again this weekend. A lot of ice, driveable now. Good 14 inches.

Saturday we went to a different lake and went after perch. Never found them, caught 1 big rainbow.

Walleye today. We caught 7 of them. All around 14 inches, nice eaters. They have moved from where we were on them before, a ton of pressure has pushed them to different spots. Caught them in 30 feet today right before it drops straight to 50 feet.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 01 26, 2016 •  [Post 20]

Fished Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, limits of trout both days, and lucked into a single walleye Saturday around 1:00. Walleye was in about 20 feet on a flat adjacent to a rocky point. Both days fished off rocky point, on the break, and as the break/dropoff gently slopes into the main lake basin out to 30 feet deep. Both days had a couple light bites on our deadsticks that were likely perch or walleye, just couldn't hook them
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 02 05, 2016 •  [Post 21]

Well I've caught two walleye the past week, still haven't gotten on a nice school or found out how to do it consistently. Will be back at it tomorrow morning and maybe sunday, looks like we are in for a warm up next week (at least 3 days with temps above freezing at night) so my days may be limited. Lakes do have about 15" of ice still so we'll see how they hold out.
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Re: Ice Fishing

Postby elkstalker » 02 12, 2016 •  [Post 22]

Had my last trip out yesterday, ice is going fast, temps for the next week aren't supposed to be below freezing. Caught lots of trout this year, only 4 walleye, and never more than one at a time. Looks like I'll have to work on them next year :)
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