TRY ANCHORING ON ICE
By Bob Jensen
A lot of time when we talk about ice-fishing, we talk about being mobile, especially from mid ice-fishing season to the end of the season. We refer to this mobility as “trolling on ice”. In short, “trolling on ice” means you pop a bunch of holes and just keep moving until you find the fish. This is usually a good technique, but there are times when it works well to “drop anchor” and just fish a certain area very thoroughly. Here’s what “anchoring on ice” is all about.
“Anchoring on ice” appeals to some folks for different reasons. First of all, some ice-anglers either don’t want to move around a lot, or they can’t.
However, there are some ice-anglers who can move around as much as they want, and they still prefer to “drop anchor” and just work a particular spot.
And then there are those folks who fish from a permanent house, so moving a lot really isn’t an option. Whichever is your situation, by keeping a few things in mind, you can experience ice-fishing success when fishing from a fixed location. Here’s how.
When fishing from an “anchored” location, I like to get as many lines in the water as the state regulations will allow. Much of the time I’ll even put a tip-up out a short distance from my shelter. More lines in the water usually mean more fish. The Pro Thermal tip-ups that Frabill has developed provide numerous features that make them the choice of many experienced ice-anglers.
If you can use two lines where you’re fishing, I like to have a jig rod in my hand and a bobber rig down another hole close enough where I can keep an eye on it.
If several anglers are fishing from the same shelter, every one should be using a different spoon. Maybe a different style or color or jigging action or whatever: Give the fish some options and let them show you what they prefer.
On the bobber rod, try one with a plain hook and a minnow, another with a small jigging spoon like a Forage Minnow Jig and a minnow hooked lightly through the back. Give it a little jiggle every now and then. Set one bobber so your bait is a foot off the bottom, set another bobber so the bait is two feet off the bottom. Change the depth of the bait according to what specie of fish you’re after. Walleyes and perch usually like to be near the bottom, panfish will often be up higher. Again, let the fish show you what they want.
If you want to fish from a portable shelter, and you’re going to be fishing by yourself, you should consider getting a two-person shelter. It works better for one person to fish two holes from a two person unit. Either the Guardian or Trekker from Frabill would be excellent choices.
Mobility on the ice is a good thing, but if you prefer to fish from one position, you can still be successful. As always, let the fish show you what they want, then give it to them. If you do that, you’re going to get bit.
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