Late Season Ice FishingBy Bob Jensen - February 16, 2022
First reason and best reason. The bite can be good. Really good.
Next, the weather can be nice. Really nice. There are times when the wind is calm and the sun is shining and it's a warm day. You'll be out there in a light jacket or a hooded sweatshirt, jeans and bibs: That's all you'll need to keep comfortable. Those are days that I and lots of ice fishing friends look forward to. Wear some sun screen.
When the fish are as aggressive as they can be at this time of year, use an aggressive approach. Keep moving to different holes until you find biters, and use an aggressive action on your bait, at least until the fish show up on your sonar. If perch or crappies are what you're after, start with a small or medium sized Tikka Mino. Work it aggressively to get their attention. If they look but don't eat, slow the action down. If they still don't eat, get their attention with the aggressive action, then when they appear on your sonar, show them a Drop Jig with a spike, waxworm, or plastic. If they still don't eat, move to a different hole where maybe the fish won't be so fussy.
I spend a good amount of time kneeling next to the hole in the ice that I'm fishing at this time of year. That's when I really appreciate Rise or Edge bibs. There can be a lot of slush around the hole, and these bibs provide protection from the slush.
I'm traveling light during late ice season. A drill, sonar, rod/reel combo and a couple of small boxes of baits. That's all that is needed much of the time for ice fishing success late in the season.
In the upcoming days and weeks, when a warmer weather system arrives in your area, if at all possible, get on the ice. Your chances for catching fish are good, and just being outside in that warmer weather can be invigorating. This action is coming soon. Make sure the ice is safe. If it is, get on it and catch some fish.