I won't pretend like I am a pro at ice fishing. To be honest, I much prefer being the lady in the warm house cooking up a pot of hot soup for the guys when they return from ice fishing.
Regardless, many guests who stay at Nitschke's Northern Resort every winter enjoy a peaceful day on the lake. Some are newbies (as my grandsons call it) and some are downright professionals (though most are too humble to admit it), but all would agree that they've learned some skill through tips and tricks from others.
So we thought, what a better way to spread the fun than by listing a few tips and tricks for ice fishing on Lake Minocqua as described by some ice fishing elders. When you're ready to give ice fishing a try, make sure you give us a call to reserve a cabin. Our resort is located directly on Lake Minocqua with a beautiful view of downtown.
Advice from the WI DNR
The WI DNR had the following great advice for ice fishing: "In Wisconsin, bluegill, perch, walleye and northern pike are the most sought after species in winter. Bluegill and perch are the most commonly caught. Minnows are preferred bait for many of the fish listed below. When fishing [with] minnows, remember there are restrictions designed to prevent the spread of VHS. (Minnows are illegal on some lakes.)
BLUEGILL - Try fishing in shallow bays where the water is about four to eight feet deep. For bait, try a teardrop lure tipped with live insect larvae. Gently jig the lure up and down.
YELLOW PERCH - Jig for perch at 35 feet. For bait, try small, live minnows or weighted ice flies and insect larvae.
WALLEYE - This schooling fish is found along the shorelines and in shallow bays. As with northern pike, tip-ups rigged with minnows are the best technique.
NORTHERN PIKE - Fish shallow bays with large live minnows on a tip-up in four to 12 feet of water." (source)
Advice from Outdoor News
Jason Revermann of Outdoor News made a good point about the location of pan fish near the winter's end, "Early in the ice season weedy areas offer cover for panfish and the food they seek, but as ice develops over the winter and becomes more snow-covered, much of the weed cover tends to die. As weeds die and break down, oxygen gets depleted so panfish head to deeper depths. Now, as days get longer and winter winds down, snow melts and seeps through cracks or runs into holes, thus recharging shallow areas with oxygen. Also, with the longer days, water temps rise and insects and other invertebrates start hatching and providing food options in shallow depths. This time of year panfish, especially crappies, will cruise around just above the weeds or even right below the ice. Usually fish higher in the water column are more aggressive and actively feeding. I like to target these fish with small spoons or tungsten jigs tipped with bug-like plastics or maggots." (source)
Advice from Brian Doug Larson
Brian had this to say about an almost perfect bait, "The new style Micro jigging spoons have taken the small and heavy status quo and made it super small and super light.... While I was a bit skeptical that they would be as effective as the standard ice fishing jigs that I was so familiar with. I was eager to give them a try as I had heard rumors of their effectiveness the previous season at an ice fishing expo. My first experience found me standing next to a hole in the ice with a look on my face that was described as a mix of confusion and amazement, and my fishing buddy gleefully gloating I told you so! We had just pulled about a dozen nice plump bluegills out of 2 holes right next to each other in what was not much more 5 mins.... Using the underwater camera it was easy to see how the fish were almost irresistibly drawn to the slow fluttering fall and how easily the super light spoons with a size 16 treble were sucked into their mouth vs. a standard heavy lead ice jig. Bear in mind that you will need to use a good quality, limp, small diameter line to get the best action from this style of spoon." (source)
While these tips don't cover everything you need to know about ice fishing in the least, they do offer some insight into how to improve what you may already been doing. For the newbies, hopefully these tips help point you in the right direction to learn more and more! As our guests frequently tell it, ice fishing is the best!
Book a cabin now. Call 715-356-7795.