Expert ice fishing: F&G staff shares their tips so you can catch more fish

Expert ice fishing: F&G staff shares their tips so you can catch more fish

Author: Idaho Fish & Game
Published: December 15, 2022

“These tips will not only help you catch fish, but make your outing more comfortable

Ice fishing can be pretty darned simple. Drill a hole, drop a baited hook  and wait for a fish to bite. It really can be that simple if you’re just starting. But like all fishing, there are more ice fishing skills you can learn to catch more fish, and those skills can come from trial-and-error experience, or learning from experts.

If you’re brand new to ice fishing and want to learn more, including ice fishing safety, see our ice fishing webpage.

It should come as no surprise that Idaho Fish and Game fisheries biologists like to fish, and they’re pretty good at it. Fortunately for novice and experienced anglers, they’re also willing to share their knowledge.

Preparing to go and picking a fishing spot

Rig your rods and tip-ups while you are still at home. It’s always easier in the warmth of your house rather than on the ice. A five-gallon bucket works well to keep rods/tip-ups organized, and a sled is a great way to transport your gear onto the ice. Andy Dux, Panhandle Regional Fisheries Manager

Download a boating navigation app with maps of the lake you are fishing. Maps often show bottom contours of the lake (like a topographic map) so you can identify major features like points, humps, ledges or flats where fish might congregate. The map can also give you an estimate of the water depth. Martin Koenig, Sportfishing Program Coordinator

Checking depth with a lead depth finder, or some electronic depth finder and keep your bait within 12 inches of the bottom. When moving to a new location, refresh your bait, or changing jigs. Patrick Kennedy, Upper Snake Regional Fisheries Biologist

Drill extra holes spaced out so you can move from hole to hole to find fish, or easily switch things up if the bite slows down. Andy Dux, Panhandle Regional Fisheries Manager

Keep moving and drilling new holes unless the bite is steady. Fish often concentrate in one area, or move slowly in schools. You may catch a fish within the first few moments of fishing a new hole, and then you won’t catch anything else for a long time. You can return to the already-drilled holes later and try again to see if a new fish or school has moved into the area. Kevin Meyer, Principal Fisheries Research Biologist

If you’re unfamiliar with where you’re fishing and don’t know where fish are likely to be, start shallow and work your way to deeper water. Drill new holes every 15-20 minutes or so if you don’t get bites and keep going. Patrick Kennedy, Upper Snake Regional Fisheries Biologist”

The full article can be found here.

Photo Credit: Original Author

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