Winter anglers get excited when it’s early ice as it’s the best time to fish for the finicky walleyes. However, most beginners struggle in finding these fish.
If you aren’t having any good luck ice-fishing walleye, you must be missing something. All you need is some handy tips and tricks to become a pro walleye ice-fisher in no time.
Whether you’re new to walleye ice fishing or a veteran angler, the incredible tips mentioned in this post will surely increase your chances of catching mid to large-sized walleyes. So keep reading to find everything you need to know about catching walleyes.
Choose a Fruitful Fishing Spot
Many fishers think that the winter season is the most challenging time to get a bite. However, that’s only half of the story. Yes, you can catch walleyes when it’s chilly out there, but you must understand the fish’s behavior to return with a full bag.
Similar to all other fish species, walleyes alter their behavioral patterns during the cold season. So, when it’s late fall, you should brace yourself for the transition. This transition period is often referred to as Early ice.
During this time, the walleyes swim to deeper waters nearby large water structures, such as reefs and weed beds. Therefore, searching for fish around steep drop-offs is a good idea. Y
You can also look for walleyes in areas where the deep water is closer to shallow water.
When it’s late ice, you can search for the fish near shorelines. Moreover, keep an eye on the location where small streams join the lake as there might be lots of walleyes present. This behavior occurs because the warmer water bodies attract the walleyes ready for spawning during the feeding frenzy in spring.
Besides, you can also consider fishing near ridges and other similar structures that can offer a good hiding place for baitfish.
Ice-Fishing at the Right Time of the Day
You can ice-fish for walleyes at any time of the day. Yet, the best time to go fishing is when the sunlight changes. For instance, early mornings and evenings are excellent times to catch walleyes. This is because, during sunrise and sunset, walleyes are most active for up to 1-2 hours.
The fish may behave in a similar pattern on cloudy or stormy days. So, when the bright lights dim, you can benefit from more active bites.
Using the Best and Attractive Lures
You don’t feel like having dinner when turnip is on the menu. Similar is the case with walleyes. These picky fish won’t bite unless you present them with their favorite meal.
Keep in mind that live baits, such as minnows or night-crawlers, may not be as effective for ice fishing as they are during summer.
In winter, you need to find a bait with considerable movement and vibration to attract walleyes. For this, some good choices are swim action jigging lures, jig heads, and small rattle spoons.
In addition, you should also alter your jigging technique during the icy winter. For instance, you can combine your lures with tiny pieces of live bait. This trick works because the natural baitfish appeal to the fish’s senses, encouraging them to bite.
You can switch your live bait choices between shiners, nightcrawlers, leeches, and minnows to invite the walleyes for a delicious buffet.
Using the Right Color Schemes
Choosing an effective lure isn’t just enough to catch walleyes. Instead, you need to put some more thought into your fishing technique.
For instance, you can select some effective and attractive colors. Keep a couple of different options in the tackle box, so you can switch things up on the go.
Walleyes better perceive certain colors than others. For example, they can sense yellow, red, and orange better than other hues. Green is the next best option after these colors.
On the other hand, walleyes do not detect other colors, mainly blue hues, as they appear relatively dark. Therefore, it’s better to choose a color in the orange or red spectrum. These colors can be lighter shades or darker depending on the water clarity.
Drilling Multiple Holes
Ice-fishing walleyes is not a job for the lazy. So, if you’re too slow to jig multiple holes within short spans, you better wait for fishing walleye during spring.
However, if you are a walleye enthusiast, you should reach your fishing spot early to identify places where you can find a lot of fish. You can take assistance for this from the previously mentioned tips.
Once you’ve chosen your ice-fishing spot, you can start drilling multiple holes with varying depths right away. For instance, you can drill in the area with the most transition and then drill holes near shallower water.
Now, you might be questioning the point of drilling several holes all at once. Well, the trick is to maximize your fishing success by quickly changing the fishing spot whenever required.
Speaking of success, you can consider suspending natural baits under the tip-ups to catch more walleyes. This technique can help you cover more area and ice fish from multiple holes in less time.
In contrast, a few ice-fishers prefer to use tip-downs to ice-fish walleyes. However, they are more effective in fishing for smaller kinds of fish. But, if the walleyes present in your vicinity are relatively small in size, using tip-downs isn’t a bad idea.
You should drill 3-5 holes in every location. But be careful as you should not drill holes too close, in-line, or in a zig-zag pattern.
In addition, you must remain on your toes and seek walleyes feeding aggressively when they become active. During such times, walleyes tend to swim from deeper to shallow water, and the cycle continues. This is when your multiple drilled holes will come to use.
Many anglers have different opinions and advice for ice-fishing walleyes. However, all tips and suggestions are not applicable for walleye ice-fishing in different regions. This is because many techniques are not suitable for different areas and do not provide effective results.
Nevertheless, all the mentioned tips in this post are universally applicable and can come in handy with some minor adjustments.