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Walleyes Under the Ice
By Sam Anderson
Walleyes are without a doubt the most sought after game fish in the
Midwest in the summer. Now’s a good time too. Walleyes are
often considered to be schoolers, but under the ice they seem to disperse
into loose associations. Pinpointing them is often difficult, but
catching one is like finding a piece of the puzzle. Show me a lake with
an hourglass figure and a few good walleyes, and I’ll show you fish.
The key is in the narrows of the lake. Perhaps it’s the current,
or maybe the bottlenecking effect. Needless to say the narrows are
a walleye attractor second to none. Points with a good
extension into deep water are a close second. Bays nearby are
also worth plying. With three distinct target areas to choose from.
I like to pick a lake with a narrows, a major point extending out into
the main body and adjoining bays sandwiched in between. It doesn’t
matter what the target
species is, a combination of these structural elements is going to
attract some fish during ice up.
Crappie minnows fished near the bottom provide some of the finest mid-winter
perch fishing to be found anywhere. On good days, fish from 11 to
13 inches can be caught two at a time, as fast as the angler can get rebaited
and back to the bottom. The typical "perch rig" two #6 snelled hooks attached
to the line 8 and 16 inches above a 1/2 ounce bell sinker, works well.
Some anglers use
tiny spinner blades and beads on their hooks to serve as additional
attractors. Hooking a crappie minnow either through the lips or behind
the dorsal fin works equally as well. The perch aren't fussy sometimes
striking bare hooks. Light spinning tackle and 8# test Tournament
Strength line completes the tackle required to catch these delicious denizens
Your lure selection might also have to change. Right now on many
lakes glow/blue Fire-Eye minnows are hot. If that color isn't productive
move n to other colors. The style and shape of the Fire-Eye minnow
it to flutter as it falls. This will simulate a wounded minnow
and turn those inactive fish into active ones. Another type of lure that
suspends the rate of fall is the Airplane jig and the Jigging .
These types of jigs have a swimming action and they dart as they fall.
This will give the fish an impression that minnows are darting and swimming
towards them and escaping from them and it will trigger a response from
those finicky walleyes. Another rule is to be conscience of the size of
your bait. The old adage that the "larger the bait, the larger the
fish," will hold true,
but if the fish turn off, try a smaller size and you might be surprised.
Of course at this time of year it is hard to troll to find active fish,
but in a sense you can apply the methods that you use in the summertime.
Drill holes from the shallowest portion of the structure you are fishing
and then continue to drill holes at various depths as the structure drops
off into deeper water. Then instead of "trolling"
along the structure you can use tip-ups to cover from the deepest to
the shallowest point. Tip-ups enable you to cover more water than
you could with a minnow and float. A flag can be seen from several
hundred feet away. Most states allow you to use two lines and if
you have a number
of fishing buddies with you, you can cover the structure at various
depths and in effect troll the edge of the structure.
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