Angling through the ice is not much different fish behavior wise compared to summer open water fishing in regards to creating or producing hook smart fish. Fish can become hook smart due to too frequent fishing and fishing for too long of periods and releasing lots of fish. Each time a fish is caught the experience becomes or serves as negative reinforcement to that fish. It has been proved with research that some fish individuals learn quicker than others.

When I ice fish in an area that has been chummed with pellets, I do not "over fish" that area and only remove a few fish each time. Plus I keep chumming until I quit fishing. I often will go auger a hole in the ice and just feed the fish without angling. I use the underwater camera to make sure fish are eating the sinking pellets. Catch and release fishing during chumming could cause some hook smart fish. If you fish with a different bait than the type of chum used would reduce the problem of making hook smart fish.

You ask ""....if all of the fish are under one place in the ice, you'd think it would be hard to catch them in a completely different area." In my experience the fish will often tend to disperse after several fish are caught and removed. Also fish will only move about 50ft to maybe 80ft to come for pellets. Thus fish a long distance away did not move to the ice hole feeding area. Lack of fish in other areas will depend on how big the pond is and and how many fish are in the pond. The more fish present and bigger the pond the more the fish community will be spread out. Plus ice fishing from just one small area under an ice hole is somewhat different fish behavior wise compared to regular summer fishing where casting and drifting over large areas is used. Only a few fish can gather in one tight spot below a hole in the ice.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/25/21 07:17 PM.

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