During midday, most fish tend to be pretty stationary, simply because, compared to sunrise or sunset, it’s during this time of day when all elements of the food chain slow down. Around dawn and dusk, changes in light trigger the movement of plankton and baitfish, which in turn triggers a response from all other fish. This is why it’s so productive to sit over the top of a good hole at sunrise or sunset, when fish are on the hunt. However, this is also why sitting over a single hole in the ice during the day doesn’t produce as much. You have to be on the move when the fish aren’t.
More often than not, an angler will pull a nice fish through the hole during the day, and then stay on that hole for way too long, thinking that if there was one good fish there must be more. You might do alright with that mindset, if there are a lot of fish in the area and they’re moving now and then, but most of the time, you’ll do better by moving around until sunset.
With each new hole, put on fresh bait or make sure your plastic bait is straight, and then concentrate as the bait sinks on the drop. I like to use jigs and other lures that are heavy for their size, so I don’t have to wait long for the bait to descend into the strike zone. If the fish don’t respond right away, try experimenting with subtle changes in your presentation.
As you keep on the move during the day, be sure to take note of certain holes or general areas that produce a few nice fish here and there. These are the holes you’ll want to return to once the sun begins to set and the action picks up.
Finally, being mobile on the ice means you most likely won’t be in a shelter, which means you’ll need to wear ice-specific clothing in order to withstand the weather. Products like Ice Armor suits are great for those days when you need to kneel on the ice and fish numerous holes quickly. Gear prep also means packing only what you need, so your sled is as light as possible.
Because fish activity slows down during the midday hours, mobility will be crucial if you want to locate a steady amount of fish until the evening bite kicks in. Keep today’s tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to success the next time you hit the ice during the day!