One major hint I can share with you regarding walleye ice fishing is to use electronics. Whether you own your own or need to rent or borrow a unit, sonar units are easy and fun to use and will help you catch more fish. Imagine not only being able to see what’s below you under the ice, but also being able to see where your lure is in the water column and how fish react to it in real time. Being able to do all this allows you to instantly change your tactics based on how the fish react to your lure. Furthermore, this isn’t limited to where you’re fishing, but how they react may also tell you that you might need to change your action, size, shape, color, or what type of live bait you’re using, too. The bottom line is, electronics enable you to learn more about the fish in a given lake on a given day, and instantly adapt to their behavior so you can catch more of them.
If you’ve been fishing a specific water depth, or on a certain piece of structure for a length of time with no results and you have the ability to move, then move. If you’re using your favorite lure in your favorite color and the fish just aren’t interested, then change your lure. If you continue to use the same jigging motion and the fish don’t want to bite, change your presentation. It’s amazing how stubborn and hopeful we anglers can be sometimes when it comes to our favorites and go-to’s. The point is, though, that when things aren’t working out, sometimes you will have to try different lures, colors, and methods, and bait until something does.
Finally, don’t be afraid to double up. Many ice anglers use one line for jigging and another line as a dead stick, which is simply a line set up with a bobber and live minnow on a hook, or medium-sized ice jig. With this setup, the jigging line will attract the fish. Then, when they come in to look check it out, some will either hit the jig, or they’ll go after your minnow once they draw near. Either way, with both a jigging and dead stick setup on hand, you’ll have it covered.
Walleye are delicious. Plain and simple. If you want more of them in your freezer this winter, then I suggest keeping today’s tips in mind. Good luck and stay warm!