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Icefishing at Dark

Icefishing Tips for Novices

By Iain Loveman

So you have read all the magazines, picked up some new gear and tried your hand at ice fishing but the results have been depressing. Now what do you do?

Cheat! No, I'm not saying to drop a blasting cap down the hole. I know a guy who tried that once, many years ago and darn need drowned.

The easiest way to cheat is to find out where everyone else is going.

"How do I do that?"

Simply type in something like ice fishing reports or fishing message boards in your favorite search engine and find one that interests you.

This may be a little time consuming but the whole idea is to focus your effort which will save you a lot of time later.

Remember, these guys and gals are just like you, so you may want to become a member and check back often to find the hot spots, equipment and bait their using.

Now that you have all the information, packed all your equipment and your standing at shore looking out asking yourself where do I go?

Tip#1: If you have decided to park on the ice MAKE SURE IT' S SAFE. Just because everyone else is parked there is not necessarily a good sign. I do a lot of ice fishing on Lake Simcoe and recently they had to pull out 32 vehicles that sank just offshore. Ouch!

Tip#2: Ice fishing hut operators are continually going out to their huts and of course they are leaving a marked trail and the trail usually ends where the best fishing is happening.

Tip#3: Look for little villages and high traffic areas. If the huts are out there and vehicles nearby you can most likely travel safely out as long as your transportation is equipped for the trip.

Congratulations, you made it and your about to mark your spot. Do you really want to fish there? I've come across some nice, fairly inexpensive fish finders that are hand held. (Vexilar LPS-1, Strikemaster Polar Vision and Hawkeye Digital Sonar). The beauty of these units is that they shoot right thru the ice.

Save yourselves a lot of backache from drilling holes, find where the drop-offs are and where the fish are hiding.

Tip#4: Don't be afraid to fish any abandoned holes you may find but be nice and try not to encroach on your neighbor. Plus, you get the advantage of not having to drill holes and spook the fish. You also find out whether there are actually fish in the area or it's time to move on. You gotta love cheating.

Tip#5: Sometimes you have to act like a vulture soaring high in the sky. Keep your eyes and ears open. I have found that if there is a group party fishing, usually, one guy/gal likes to wander off and drill holes at distance. This lone wolf may go 500 ft. to a couple of miles. If he comes back with a big smile on his face and the neighborhood leaves you can guess where they went.

Tip#6: Don't be scared to talk to other anglers. Listen to some fish stories but try to distinguish between fact and fiction. Take everything with a grain of salt, try it and if it works keep using it, till the next new tip comes along.

So now it is time to do some actual fishing.

Depending on the fishing regulations for your area, you may be able to have 2 or more fishing lines in use. Make sure you take full advantage. You can fish in a variety of ways.

I' ve seen guys, jig two lines at a time, some prefer to send a spreader baited up with live minnows to the bottom and either set them up on a tip-up and give them a gently lift every now and then.

Remember, your setup directly relates to the type of fish you're trying to catch. You're usually jigging for trout and spreading for whitefish. You can also combine the two, one of my favorites. The flashing lure will bring them in for your spreader meal or you can adjust your height to catch them at different depths.

The lazy mans' approach is to use a spring loaded tip-up but that is about as much fun as watching paint dry. Remember in the end there is a big difference between "fishing" and "catching", so make the most of your day and be safe. If you get depressed just think about all the people who left you alone and decided to spend 8 hours at the office.

Are we having fun now? Hopefully

  Fishing Article Of Interest: Ice Fishing In Ontario