I started ice fishing 4 years ago when a friend asked me if I wanted to go out on the ice with a couple of adult beverages. I had ice fished before with my dad but never liked it. It seemed like the only thing we ever caught was a cold.
I didn't have anything going on because my wife was working so I thought I would give it a chance. We only ended up catching a buzz that day but for some reason I was hooked after that.
The next year I was determined to find a honey hole on the ice and slam perch after perch. The first couple times out, I would catch three to four small perch a trip. As the year progressed, I could catch small perch after small perch.
I don't think I caught more than 10 keeper perch combined the first two years but as I watched others, I would start picking up some tactics and eventually started to figure it out. I am not a pro now by any means but can usually count on at least a perch dinner every time I venture out out.
Tips I have picked up over the past couple of years
I always go out with at least 3 rods rigged up with different lures and another rod rigged with just a plain hook and a weight. I like to jig with one rod to bring the perch in and put a minnow on the other rod so the picky fish will hit that one.
I have learned not to spend a fortune on every lure shape and color out there. I use a fat boy lure for when the horizontal bite is on. I use a vertical spoon when the fish are already around my area and won't hit a fat boy and a Rapala jigging rap for attracting them in. I make sure I buy one set of natural colors for when the water is clear and one set of bright colors for when the water is murky.
I try to stay away from big packs as much as possible. When I first started going out, I thought that these guys knew what they were doing. If I fished by them, I would catch perch. I have found out that they all are thinking the same thing. One or two might get lucky but you are better off staying away from the circus and finding perch that are less pressured by yourself.
I always start more shallow than everybody else because I don't want to walk over fish to try to find other fish. If the perch aren't shallow, I will move out to another depth and try a couple holes in that area. I will keep trying different depths. If you find the depth they are at that day, you can start moving along that depth until you find good structure or bigger fish.
Give ice fishing a try this year... not only will you get to interact with other sportsman and get exercise you might be able to take home a perch dinner.
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