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Ice Fishing Success Factors
#529996 01/25/21 10:25 AM
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Back in 2010 we did some ice fishing on my fathers pond. It was the first time I had ice fished. We hardly had the equipment to do it correctly. I remember cutting a hole in the ice with a chainsaw and extracting the big frozen square hunk of ice out of the hole to allow us entry to fish... The ice was snow covered and every bit of 14" thick so I would imagine that visibility for the fish beneath the thick, snowy ice was very low. We absolutely knocked them out that day though.. Every time we dropped a line and jigged it within minutes we would pull up another fish. Mostly all bluegill. We used a small jig tipped with a maggot and fished until we were blue in the face and could not take the cold any longer. We had very good results.


Flash forward to the next 4 or 5 years that I bought my place and had a very similar sized pond pushed out. Similar depth, similar in many ways.. Dissimilar in that every year I've had the pond stocked (stocked in 2016) and tried ice fishing, I've come up very empty handed. Only on rare occasion do I get a fish. I've probably bagged under 10 fish in the 4 or 5 winters that I've attempted to ice fish that pond. The fish I catch are always hours apart from each other. I've spent many hours punching holes in various places thinking I did not have the right spot. My pond has bluegill, HSB, LMB, YP. What gives? I've tried on clear ice with no snow cover and everything in between. I now have proper equipment including an auger, scooper, and a few ice fishing rods with jigs. What types of techniques could I potentially try or why do you think I am not able to replicate similar results from the past?

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #529998 01/25/21 11:37 AM
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While I'm not a big ice fisherman, I think location is one of the major factors. Fish near structure, or on points with depth changes. I think many people use fish finders too.

Let's see what others have to say.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530010 01/25/21 03:38 PM
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We don't have any ice fishing here in GA, but do you have any luck at other times of the year?

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530026 01/26/21 12:01 AM
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KRM1985, welcome to the skunked ice fishing club.

We've been on this property for 11 years now. Most years I've cut holes in the ice of our 1/4 acre pond and tried all sorts of baits and lures. Red wigglers, mousie grubs, meal worms, stubby steves, ice fly jigs, crappie nuggets. I've yet to pull a fish up on the ice surface! I fish local lakes successfully, so it's not that I'm clueless to ice fishing.

We've got YP, LMB, GSF, BG, tiger trout, and a very few BCP swimming in a very small quantity of water. Once, I pulled an small LMB up close to the hole before it got off the hook. Another time I raised a 6" YP to color depth. Ice fishing just doesn't work on our BOW.

We run an aerator in shallow water to keep a spot clear of ice for gases to escape and oxygen to diffuse into the water. It seems that Bill Cody made mention one time that too much water movement in winter may homogenize the water temperature, eliminating a warm water refuge. The warm water fish then would possibly be stressed to the point they would not feed. Why the YP and trout never bite may be more of a mystery.

Hopefully you will uncover the secret for your pond. I'll keep trying. All I have to do is walk 50 feet from my house and I'm out on the ice, so I'm not travelling anywhere.

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530027 01/26/21 08:19 AM
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"Another time I raised a 6" YP to color depth."

A little help, 4Corners...what does that mean, 'color depth?'


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530032 01/26/21 01:50 PM
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color depth would be where you can see the fish - ever seen people off shore fish and they say "i see color" it means you're close to the boat/surface

Ice fishing is easy, fish where the fish are - the active fish, that are willing to bite.

The number one thing you can do to increase your catch rate is to know where the fish are and how they are responding - use sonar. Get a vexilar, marcum, humminbird or garmin sonar and use it to locate fish. You can easily adapt a boat sonar to use on ice


Mat Peirce
1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond
LMB, BG, YP, WE, HSB, RES, BCP
Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530052 01/28/21 07:32 AM
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I am in the same boat, can't catch fish through the ice, I can catch fish all summer, have fished the same water hole for years, I know all the honey holes, and drill ice holes in the exact same spots with brush and cover and I can't get anything to bite, have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Like the author, I first cut holes in the ice with a chain saw, was told that was bad, mixes oils in the water, I will never catch anything, which I had removed the oil from the bar oiler to reduce that problem, but then went out and purchased a manual ice auger, the little mini fishing poles, all the proper gear, tried every kind of bait known to man, still no luck, Ive not caught ten fish total in all my efforts, and those were little miniature BG not big enough to eat. gets frustrating but I guess I am too stupid to give up.
Like they say in football,, there's always next year!


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
gehajake #530054 01/28/21 08:47 AM
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Is it possible that the fish congregate in different places during cold weather?

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
RAH #530055 01/28/21 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RAH
Is it possible that the fish congregate in different places during cold weather?
Extremely possible, and that was my theory exactly, my predicament is I cant figure out where that place is. although I have tried several spots where theoretically they might hang out, such as deep, shallow, and or inclines.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
gehajake #530058 01/28/21 12:43 PM
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Well, our ice has not been safe yet this year, but I don't ice fish anyway. I rarely fish at all anymore. But I am still addicted to deer hunting! I love the ponds, but have more fun watching others catch the fish. I also enjoy figuring out what to plant and stock in the ponds. My first 2 ponds are set, but I have a 3rd completed and a 4th under construction. What fun!

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530059 01/28/21 12:47 PM
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Water is densest at 39°F. You usually won't find water warmer than that in a pond unless it's a ground water pond that has water exchange with the surrounding soil.

IF there is sufficient O2 in the water, fish the 39°F water. Downsize the baits, use lighter line, fish near the bottom, or near cover if any is in the deepest part of the pond. Fish that feed up, you want to place the bait above them. Fish are cold and move slower, so the same lure speed in summer won't typically work in winter, think small and slow or not moving at all.

I've caught fish in the winter by bouncing the bait off of the bottom then holding is steady 4"-6" off of the bottom.

I've done better fishing through the ice than fishing open water with a slight chop on it. The chop (I think) is moving the bait too fast.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


http://www.pondboss.com/subscribe.asp?c=4
3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530061 01/28/21 05:30 PM
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They will relate to different areas during ice up - and they will move around, a LOT. You might be surprised how quickly a pack of LMB will roam a pond under the ice

Right now in my pond you will catch 0 fish in the basin where the 39 degree water is.....bluegills are alllll shallow, roaming between shore and the 1st drop into 6-8' of water at the deepest. Inactive feeders are hiding out deep in cover (brush/deadfalls) while active feeders are roaming the 2-8' depths in search for food.

LMB can be found in the same depth zones on the sunny side of the pond. Crappie - black crappie are near brush when inactive and cruise just below the ice surface over the basin mid day to feed. White crappie are suspended between the 1st and 2nd drop or roaming just below the ice like the black crappie. Bass will also roam just below the ice. Fish that feed up will pin baitfish to the bottom of the ice - this is why you get massive "up bites" on ice crappie from time to time - where you line goes completely slack

On my pond i use lipless crank baits to catch every species during the winter - sometimes a tungsten jig and waxie

Just some ideas, every pond is different


Mat Peirce
1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond
LMB, BG, YP, WE, HSB, RES, BCP
Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530382 02/09/21 11:02 AM
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Went out this weekend and skunked again. Now I did not use sonar and I do believe that it would help. I got a few nibbles but I think it was only small BG because I could never hook into one and pull it above the ice... .definitely some activity down there though. I may try again if it does not stay so brutally cold here in NE OH

Last edited by KRM1985; 02/09/21 12:12 PM.
Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530394 02/09/21 02:18 PM
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Has anyone ever had any luck chumming in ice hole to attract fish? If so what was used for chum bait?

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530651 02/15/21 11:01 AM
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I have never had any luck chumming myself. I heard that hard boiled egg shells crumbled up will float down and flutter. I tried them and they do just that. if I were a bluegill, I would certainly want to investigate the possibility of a possible meal.

Back to your OP.
I have great success on a local reservoir in my area. I learned that in the fall, when I am in my boat, that the fish start to congregate to the deeper water of this lake. The type of bait or lure that you use at this time of year is critical also. As the water gets colder, you MUST slow you presentation WAY down. Also, scale down in size, Way down. I will mainly fish a blade bait type lure in the 3/16 oz. or 1/4 oz size. These are 1.5 in long and the heavier on is like 2 inches long. Small jigs are also very effective in the fall and through the ice. BTW, my best lure through the ice is the same blade bait lure that I use in the fall in my boat. they are absolutely incredible on many species of fish.
Having electronics is a huge help.You need to 1st try fishing the deeper part of your pond, then work shallower. As mentioned above, try near any cover, especially deep cover or structures. If you have a friend with electronics that ice fishes, invite him over so you can watch. it is quite awesome to watch the fish on the electronics and watch them get close to your bait.
Another thing I suggest is to use a very light action ice rod. They usually bite so light that the spit out your bait or lure before you see or feel anything if you are using a rod that is too stiff. Even a 6# hybrid striper will bite extremely light this time of year, ( I got one last Wed ! )
If you have any more questions, feel free to email me. Btw, I am close to Sharon , PA.

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530680 02/16/21 08:33 AM
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zap, welcome to posting on Pond Boss!!

I'm located in Murrysville, PA, and my main pond is in Somerset PA.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
Sunil #530726 02/17/21 07:46 AM
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Sunil,
Thank you for the welcome. I grew up near Apollo PA. My parents still live in the house I grew up in down that way. What is a field Correspondent exactly ?
If you answer that, please send me a pm so we don't high jack this thread.

Re: Ice Fishing Success Factors
KRM1985 #530766 02/17/21 09:23 PM
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I have a 1 acre pond stocked with brown trout and have the same issue. I am in Ontario so we have lots of safe ice and ice fishing is popular here.

I do not ice fish a lot outside of my pond, but go occasionally. I have a very hard time catching the trout in my pond through the ice, even though they should be active under the ice. Here is the information I can provide.

Firstly, I thought location was extremely important, but I'm not sure that it is. I say this because I have caught trout in the shallowest part of the pond close to shore and the deepest part as well right in the middle. I think it is far more important to "call in the fish" than it is to choose the perfect location. This is a very popular technique with perch anglers in my area. They use big rattle baits to attract attention and then catch the perch on small jigs with plastics or minnows. I think this is an effective technique on ponds. I've noticed I've caught fish when I am jigging with a active bait very close to my deadstick bait (trout food). I will be trying this technique this week with some flashier lures I've ordered to confirm if it is working on my pond.

Another thing you can do is spread out your lines in different holes. I usually put 2 rods down and watch them both. I don't have electronics but they would be really helpful. With electronics, you can see whether or not there are fish in the area. If there are fish near your bait, it's probably a bait or presentation problem. If you never mark fish, you might be in the wrong spot or calling them in.

I believe chumming trout food has also been beneficial in my pond.

I hope this helps. I've found ice fishing in my pond much more challenging than I thought it would be.


Adam

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