Basic information needed

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Basic information needed

Postby STONERLAKE » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:23 pm


I am relatively new to ice fishing but have been fishing for years on a small lake where I own property. I am planning to try my hand at ice fishing more seriously and am equipped with tip-ups and jigging rods. The lake is about 80 acres and shallow with a maximum depth of about 35 feet. The main species are pickerel, bass, rainbows, perch and panfish.

I want to inquire as to how to target pickerel on tip-ups in regard to where to find the fish. I think I am okay in regard to how to set up the lines, types of bait, etc. In the summer they are plentiful and found in shallower water need the weed lines. Generally in the deeper waters of the lake there is little to no structure. My question then is should I start with setting up my tip-ups where I would generally find the fish in the summer, or should I be doing something completely different such as finding deep water?

I would appreciate any information anyone is willing to share. Thanks.
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Re: Basic information needed

Postby Nick Roehl » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:01 pm

I always concentrate on 10-12 feet of water or less for pike during the winter. Pike love to cruise the shallow weed lines looking for panfish to feed on. If I were you I would start in these areas and see what you get.
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Re: Basic information needed

Postby surflizard » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:15 pm

Here is a great article with a lot of info on Pickerel thru the ice !

By J.B. Kasper
Reading Eagle correspondent

Chain pickerel are among the most popular fish to catch through the ice in eastern Pennsylvania. Live minnows on tip-ups can produce exciting results. If you ask seasoned ice anglers which game fish is most often caught through the ice, pickerel would top many lists. This opinion is most prominent among anglers who fish lakes and ponds in eastern Pennsylvania. Chain pickerel are one of the smaller members of the pike family, however it is not uncommon to see pickerel topping the five-pound mark being caught each winter, especially in the shallow waters in the Poconos. Locally, the Peter's Creek area at Lake Ontelaunee has been a hot spot for pickerel for the past several winters. So here are some tips on taking pickerel through the ice.

Live baits

Most pickerel taken through the ice are taken on live bait and tip ups, however, it's not uncommon to be jigging for panfish and crappie and have one of these toothy critters take the drag on your jigging rod for a ride. Being members of the pike family pickerel show a definite preference for larger baits such as shiners, small herring and large minnows. Shiners are the most common bait used for pickerel and are also the easiest to obtain and keep alive.

The best containers to put your bait in are either small coolers or Styrofoam bait buckets. Both provide the insulation needed to protect bait from the elements while fishing and allow the water to cool down gradually when bringing the left over bait home. One thing you don't need with live bait is quick changes in water temperatures.


Tip-ups are most often used for taking pickerel through the ice. There are many different types of tip-ups, but there are common elements that go along with them all. First, the use of braided line is preferred over monofilament. Braided line is much easier to handle in the cold weather and goes on the spool of the tip-up a lot easier while fishing.

Because shiners and other larger baits tend to move around a lot when in the water you will need some type of weight to get the bait down and keep it under the tip up. One of the best weights for doing this is a small egg sinker. It can be placed on your main line, above a swivel which is attached to the bottom of the line. Doubling the line through the hole in the sinker twice will allow you to move the weight up and down the line.

Preferred hooks for pickerel are long-shank Aberdeen hooks in size 2 or 1. Snell your hooks on a length of leader line (20 pound test or better) of about 12-18 inches. You can then attach the leader to the swivel on the end of the line.

Hot spots

Pickerel are notorious for hiding in weeds, around stumps, logs, docks and other structure that provide concealment. They don't change their habits just because the top of the water freezes over, so choose places that offer them cover.

Pickerel make a fun fish to catch through the ice and some real trophies can be had during the hard water season when the bigger fish have to feed more then the smaller ones
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