Now is a great time to hunt for your early ice fishing spots.
One of the biggest differences between open water and ice is your ability to efficiently move around and cover water. A little advanced scouting right NOW will save you a lot of time searching and drilling for when you finally hit hardwater. Your first ice trip can be real wrangle with equipment maintenance and whatnot, so it’s nice having some fish ready when you get there!
Brian Brosdahl is a huge proponent of pre-ice fish-finding. He likes to cruise around in deeper water looking for pods of fish, and when he finds the mother load, he’ll mark it down on his GPS. It’s very easy to transfer these exact waypoints from your open water units onto your ice fishing electronics if you have the correct equipment.
A good place to look is down in the basins where you’ll find various species of fish feeding on invertebrates. Once you find them, you’ve got them in your pocket come early ice, because they will very likely remain there into the winter.
This might be a scouting mission, but it doesn’t mean you can’t pull out a rod and catch those fish down there. Vertical jigging is an excellent way to get those bites, whether you’re going aggressive with a Northland Puppet Minnow, or finesse with a 1/16 oz RZ Jig. Always remember, if you’re catching fish out in deeper basins, keep every fish you catch within the legal limit. Do not try culling up for bigger fish because every fish you release back into the water from those depths are going to die regardless of how well you handle them.
Hopefully this little tip will help you find fish quickly during first ice and save you from drilling a lot of holes!
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