Ice-fishing for Northern PikeAuthor: Joel DeBoer | Posted: 08/13/2007
<p>With the arrival of warmer weather during the late ice period, many exciting fishing opportunities arise. Walleyes, panfish, and northern pike have all provided excellent angling opportunities for the hard-water angler, and the action will only improve in the coming weeks.
One of the best times for ice-fishing is during the “late ice” period. One of the most popular species to pursue during this time is the northern pike. As the days grow warmer and longer and the ice slowly begins melting, pike activity increases dramatically. Not only does the action increase, but an angler’s odds of catching a trophy-class fish go up also; in fact, each year our area sees northerns caught and released in the 40” class range. When looking to target these toothy fiends, look for larger flats containing weeds, wood, or a combination of the two. The best flats will be near deeper water, and typically are in depths of eight feet of water or less.
I prefer to use Frabill Pro-Thermal Tip-Ups for this type of fishing as the design helps to block sunlight from the hole. When fishing in shallow water, unnatural sunlight can often spook fish. In addition, the Pro-Thermal has a large bait clip that acts to hold oversized minnows from creating false trips of the flag. Rig your shiners or sucker minnows on a red VMC cone cut treble hook. There’s something about the red hook that big fish really seem intrigued by – it could mean the difference between an “okay” trip and an “excellent” trip! In this shallow water, set your bait so that it is well above the weeds or wood. Pike cruising the area will be able to pick-out the struggling meal silhouetted against the ice; you want your presentation to be over them, not under them. Be sure to have a long needle-nosed pliers along as well as a jaw spreader to help making the unhooking portion of your day as quick and effortless as possible.
Whether its slab crappies, bull bluegills, gator pike, or big ol’ walleyes, this is a great time of year to be fishing here in our area. As exciting as the fishing can be, it’s important to use common sense and to keep a level head. While there is currently plenty of ice locally to drive on, depending on the body of water, ice conditions will change rapidly with the arrival of warmer and more sustained spring-like weather. Use your head – if it doesn’t look safe enough, don’t chance it; it’s always better to live to fish another day!
About The Author: Joel DeBoer
Company: Wisconsin Angling Adventures
Area Reporting: Central and Northern Wisconsin
Bio: Greetings and welcome to the Northwoods! My name is Joel DeBoer; I grew up fishing the waters of Central and Northern Wisconsin and enjoying the beauty of Wisconsin’s outdoors - I can guarantee you will enjoy them as well! As owner of Wisconsin Angling Adventures, I'll work hard to keep you on the fish and show you a good time out on the water! Through countless days and nights on the water, I have worked hard to uncover local "hotspots" while prefecting the techniques necessary to produce trophy fish from them. I have been an active member of Muskies Inc. and Bill’s Musky Club, and am responsible for numerous awards for muskies caught and released by my clients as well as myself. In addition to guiding, I am an active musky tournament fisherman, having multiple Top 10 finishes. Not only do I fish tournaments for muskies, but a variety of local tournaments for walleyes and bass. I am active on the internet - providing articles and fishing reports to over 15 different web sites, in addition to doing web-radio shows. I am a published outdoor author and educator, including my weekly column, "The Guides Corner" in the Everest Herald. I specialize in multi-media presentations and seminars on the vast aspects of musky fishing. Please feel free to email me, at ANY time. In addition, take an opportunity to visit my bio pages at the St. Croix Rod or VMC Hooks Pro-Staff pages as a further reference. I am thankful to the wonderful companies I am privileged to work with promotionally: Bait Rigs * DeLONG Lures * Ducktail Lures * Dunwright Tackle * Frabill * Mepps * Mister Twister * Mercury * Optima Batteries * Pure Fishing (Abu Garcia, Berkley, Stren) * Roberts Outdoors * St. Croix * VMC Hooks