How to Find Fish Ice Fishing

How to Find Fish Ice Fishing

Catching fish in the winter can be more challenging than in warmer months. It is because it is difficult to identify where the river bank or lakeshore is. 

You have no clue what’s beneath the ice or the water conditions. Drilling holes in the incorrect areas and placing your bait in dead zones may be annoying. So, how would you find fish for ice fishing?

First and foremost, you should study fish behavior to predict where they may spend their time. Next, you should understand the bottom characteristics to drill holes properly. Having a fish detector or flasher would make things more straightforward.

This blog shares some techniques that may significantly increase your ability to find fish through the ice.

River Structure

River structure is one of the most significant variables in catching fish in the wintertime. However, identifying river structures is far more challenging in the winter since some types are pretty complex to recognize visually.

Purchasing a detailed map of the river you intend to fish is one of the best ways to discover its structure. A quality map will show you fall offs, dunes, and even rocky piles, that could help you find the most incredible fishing spots.

Early in the ice fishing season, it is recommended to concentrate your efforts on weed lines, points, and dunes. As the season advances, fish prefer to go to deeper water to look for food and greater oxygen levels, focusing on deep mossy rocks or humps. 

Fish may relocate again late in the season to deep places as they get ready to breed.

Location of Fish

When looking for fish in the winter, there are certain basic tenets. You may find Yellow Perch and Walleyes near the bottom. 

Set your baits no more than a foot off the bottom. Besides, attempt bouncing your lures directly off the bottom.

Sunfish and Crappies are often detained over the winter. Their precise depth might be determined by the sorts of meals they look for. 

The ideal technique is to utilize a fish detector to determine the fish’s depth. If you don’t have a fish detector, try fishing at different depths until you discover the fish.

Trouts typically float the lake in search of food, making them one of the most challenging fish to spot during the wintertime. They may be at the bottom one day and straight under the ice the next. A fish detector is very helpful when looking for trout fish.

The temperature is usually constant in the early season, fish are likely to be in or near lake inflows. Late in the season, fish prefer to congregate in the middle lake area and deeper, where the water is often warmer.


Many ice anglers make the mistake of lingering in one spot for too long. Moving all of your equipment and drilling new holes is a considerable effort, but you should relocate if you aren’t getting fish at your current site. 

Continue to move till you locate fish. Making frequent movements might be a lot simpler if you have traveling light.

Drill New Holes

When you identify a potential piece of structure, drill holes at various depths in a zig zag position to locate the fish better. For example, dig holes at 10,15, and 20 feet.  

If you don’t discover any fish at one depth, try another. It is a prompt and straightforward approach to completely covering an area before relocating to a new place.

Choosing Depth While Ice Fishing

When discussing how to find fish during ice fishing, you should choose depth appropriately. Not all rivers are equally profound, and the ideal depth in one location may not be in another.

So, in general, the depth ranges from 8 to 20 feet. But, depending on the scenario, it can be as little as 5 feet or as much as 25 feet.

However, this does not imply that you will constantly drop your bait to the bottom. A few feet from the bottom, just over objects or plants, might suffice most of the time.

Ice Fishing Lures that Work Well

Spinners, jigs, crankbaits, spoons, and topwater are the five sorts of lures. In simple terms, topwater lures are essential for ice fishing. However, the other items are often utilized for vertical ice fishing.

The size of an ice fishing lure is both harmful and proportional to success. Small lures are standard, but they are not the best solution. 

When fish are vigorously eating on multiple shrimps at a time, using a tiny teardrop can have downsides. Try tailoring the bait to the size and eating habits of the fish you’re after.

Fish bite lures for various reasons, including rage, starvation, curiosity, territory, or breeding. When it comes to size and ice fishing, calm fish prefer smaller lures, whereas aggressive fish prefer larger lures.

When building your collection of ice fishing goods, it’s also essential to consider the color of your lures and the size. Platinum, copper, bronze, pinkish, scarlet, emerald, white, and sparkling in the dark are colors you should opt for in your ice fishing displays.

Also, when ice fishing in clear blue water, look for bland and metallic patterns and colors, colored lures in murky water, and luminous in the dark baits.

Ice Fishing Attractors

Fishing attractors are usually tied in-line, 8 to 14 inches above the lure, to help the fish locate your item and trigger a response. 

They are available in various sizes, ranging from the tiny Grin Blade to the wider Sling Blade.

Attractors can likewise be employed efficiently on a different line in a neighboring hole. Again, these are highly effective in attracting massive or swarming fish to a specific place.

Hence, size plays a significant impact on success. Lighter, more delicate attractors attract fish when jigged slowly. These can also be strung at different depths to attract walleye, perch, crappie, trout, or salmon.

Ice Fishing Jigging Technique that Succeeds

Ice fishing, often known as jigging, is a straight presentation of a lure. These jigging tactics can be employed on the ice and in a more bottomless ocean to give you success on your favorite lakes and rivers throughout the year.

The first guideline of ice fishing jigging tactics is to maintain your line as straight as possible. Letting the line drop to the side will help attract fish, but for flawless presentations, pause, keep the rod motionless and let the line become straight again.

Now you have complete control over the peak and drop rate and the lure motion. It is significant because it prepares you to replicate the presentation after you’ve discovered a successful wiggling.


Versatility is crucial when it comes to successful fishing. You may find hundreds of methods, but they are useless if you don’t use them. Also, if you can’t find fish on the detector, go for a new approach or lure, but most importantly, be creative in your techniques.

Beginners have only a few options for catching fish, but experts have thousands. So a successful fisherman learns to ascend the informational ladder. The result is more fish, more pleasure, and a renewed enthusiasm for this activity that you may enjoy.

Remember, always be cautious out on the ice, have a fishing license, and follow all guidelines and restrictions.

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

Recent Posts