This time of the year Lake of the Woods is one of the only spots in Minnesota that you can target gamefish and multi-species into march.
When targeting these monster northern pike set lines is often your best way to do it. In order to cover water, we have a decent-sized group of guys together allowing us to get a nice spread of tip-ups out.
There are two tips of tip-ups we like to use for these big fish. The first is the Arctic tip-up because you are able to fight these fish with a rod and reel and the second is your classic style traditional tip-up which you fight the fish with your hands.
For our setups, we are using long rods between 36-42 inches in that medium-heavy to heavy power. We have them rigged with a 30-pound Suffix 832 braid.
The nice thing about these rigs is you do have to give the fish any time. It has a treble hook on both ends of the bait so by the time you get over to the flag you can set the hook. It helps the catch percentage go up, but it is also easier on the fish.
For the rest of our set-ups that don’t have quick strikes or zero rigs we have them rigged up with circle hooks. We like using circle hooks because fish rarely sallow it and the fish is almost always hooked in the corner of the mouth.
For bait, we are using live suckers that are roughly 6-9 inches, frozen smelt, and frozen ciscos.
We are fishing in about 8 to 12 feet of water and are positioning these baits close to the bottom waiting for the fish to come to us.