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Author Topic: Any tips to get us started icefishing ?  (Read 3140 times)

Offline Gapahuk

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Any tips to get us started icefishing ?
« on: March 31, 2011, 05:01:02 pm »
Hi Wintertrekkers,

in a week from now we'll travel to Norway to make an 8 day trekking. We will go on snowshoes pulling Paris sleds. We will take my lavvu with woodstove.

Going by plane from the Netherlands we are limited in the amount of equipment.
So, do you think it will be possible to cut holes in the ice with our axe ?

I,m thinking of jigging. Any tips on that ?

And is it truth that at the end of the season fishing is not as good because of low levels of oxygen in the water because of many months of ice and snowcover ?

I,ve googled somewhat about icefishing, but it would be nice to find some info in the wintertrekking comunity. Or maybe some tips where to look, which website ?

We would appreciate to hear from your experience, thanks !


Offline low-1

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Re: Any tips to get us started icefishing ?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2011, 07:45:36 pm »
As far as cutting holes with an axe, it depends entirely on ice thickness.  Right now the ice on our lake requires a 1 foot extension on my gas ice auger, it's around 46-48 inches thick.  We are just above the 56th parallel.  If the ice where you are is that thick, it would be all but impossible to cut a hole with an axe.

We fish mainly for walleye, so my advice pertains solely to them, although we end up catching a fair number of jackfish/northern pike as well using the same technique.

Our experience is that spring is the best time for ice fishing, specifically just as the snow is melting off the ice and more light is able to shine through.  We fish mainly in 7-15 feet of water and although we are usually out all day, most action happens in the last hour or so before sunset.  We jig exclusively.  Using the fishing line to feel for the bottom, I will usually find the bottom then jig up 4 to 6 inches and then let it fall back down.  More often than not, I'll just use fishing line, a 3/8 oz jig and either minnows or Berkley Gulp!, and walk over to the shore to cut a willow to use as a "fishing rod".  I will pile up the snow/slush from making the hole, stick the willow in it, and tie off the line so that it's maybe 2 inches off the bottom.  If you're lucky, there will be a bit of a breeze, and the wind hitting the branches will do all the "jigging" for you.

That's my technique.  If we catch the run right, it's nothing to catch WELL over a hundred in an evening.

Offline kanukster

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Re: Any tips to get us started icefishing ?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2011, 08:11:19 pm »
Your in luck. Ice fishing is not all that sophisticated. It can be if you let it, but, for the most part, especially in your case, keep it simple.

No need for fancy equipment but you'll definitely need a way to get through what could be, a good meter of solid ice. A commercially made ice chisel might be your best bet. Simply because a hand auger might bottom out on very thick ice. Not knowing the thickness of the ice could be a problem. Try inquiring before leaving, just how thick the ice may be. Also, about the game fish that your targeting.

A simple willow type branch or sapling around three feet long, cleaned of all unnecessary smaller twigs, anchored in a pile of slush, and bent over the hole can be used to set a still line. Purchase a fresh spool of line in the 10 pound test range, and simply use the hole in the spool to either attach it to the sapling via a twig down low, that wasn't removed or a smaller secondary sapling embedded in the slush pile, but pointing away, will keep the spool from going down the hole in the fortunate advent that a fish hits. Loop the line around the tip, or use a small elastic to attach. Impart some movement now and then, fish near bottom, it's that simple.

Jigs are an excellent choice as are small spoons. Live bait might be hard to come by, but frozen minnows would be great if you tip your jig or spoons with pieces. Bring an assortment of jigs, small bait hooks, split shots, stuff like that, and extra line.

Fishing late in the season is surprisingly good. They are beginning to move about, and are pre-stagging for the spring spawning season.

Hope this help's!

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Offline HOOP

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Re: Any tips to get us started icefishing ?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 11:24:12 pm »
Hi Gapahuk,

The others have covered it well.   In late season your axe will not be able to cut through without you cutting a giant cone in maybe a meter of ice, which will take way, way, way too long.

Many augers have an extension piece option attachment that will get you through a meter of ice no problem.  For ice fishing, one of the tactics if they are not biting is to be mobile, and you need to cut many holes and work them to find the "hot" hole.  Or you may just want to move to another part of the lake.  That is when an auger is better than an ice chisel, because you can cut several holes much easier with an auger, IF the bits are razor sharp (don't hit a rock!   :) ).   

Check the regulations where you are going.  Here in Ontario you can use 2 lines.  So often people jig one line with a small rod, or a simple spool attached to a stick.  The other line is rigged with the willow branch as previously described.   I use dead frozen minnows for bait when trekking:  e.g. half or full dead minnow on a jigging spoon or twister tail jig for my jigging line, and for the other line, a full dead minnow on a bare hook weighed down with a bell sinker several centimeters further down, i.e. the bell sinker is on the bottom and the hook and minnow is suspended about 10-30 centimeters up off the bottom.    If doing a day trip with vehicle support I might be using live minnows in an insulated bucket.  On the second line the live minnows hooked through the back near the dorsal fin, or through the tail, will stay alive and swim and attract the fish.

Good luck, and take some photos!
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Offline Gapahuk

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Re: Any tips to get us started icefishing ?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 03:17:55 am »
Thanks a lot for all the tips. Very encouraging.

It seems we will be eating some fish, that will be great !

Maybe we can rent or borrow an auger when we are in Norway, or we manage to make some kind of chisel to take with us.  We have to attach a pole to it as we are there.

Good advise to inform locally as well.

Yes, of course we will take pictures during our trip. If it's worthwile I will post them here when we are back.