Forget the magazine articles, the common sense, conventional wisdom, and what others say...what are some things you are certain of and "know" based on your own experience ice fishing....
In my experience....
Ice is much easier to walk on than water.
It's more fun if you don't overthink it. I have tons of gear, shacks, vexilars, whatever. My favorite days are sitting on a bucket, using a Schooley, catching pan fish and thinking about my Dad.
Whenever there's no snow on the ice travel light and do not carry a sled with you. Go light, all you need is a bucket and a couple of poles, usually. If you must carry a sled with you then park it a good 50 feet away from where you're fishing and try not to make any noise on the ice. And if you insist on fishing in a flip over style shanty, of which you will have your sled with you don't move around much. If fishing shallow water drill as small of a hole as you can (talking bluegills here, 4 or 5 inch will do) and use long rods so your shadow does not go over the hole, which spooks the fish. I'm talking clear, shallow lakes here. May not matter as much in darker waters.
1. I prefer in most cases, to fish lakes that do not allow car/truck traffic. and 2. Weather you are catching fish or not, time sure flies when you are out on the ice.
1) Fish heavy pressure lakes (S.WI.)- use small tungsten w/plastics in basins
2) When that doesn't work/fish with lockjaw/ try palm rod w/even smaller tungsten & plastics
3) Not every lake has a basin bite.... can't quite figure that one out. Been looking on a couple lakes for a couple seasons and they don't seem to have it at all.
4) Panoptix is a tank to lug around and not as easy to search with as people think
5) Someday by cabin up north & live the goodlife that a lot of you enjoy already.amen
@ ice junkie, weed line crappie are more time of day sensitive is my experience vs basin fish. weedline fishing also requires heavier us of electronics.
Single hooks are much easier to get out of a pike’s mouth (or gills). I have switched all my pike tip ups to single hook. I also replaced all trebles on my open water pike baits. I do a lot of catch and release and like to put them back in the best shape that I can.
If you are fishing clear ice; do not wear your orange snowmobile suit and sit still. Couple years back I was doing very well and a trio nearby dressed in oranges suit that couldn't sit still never got a bite.
JamesD - When we were stopped by the warden on the bay this year he claims they were hitting whitefish on 2" soft plastics and a jig head this season, similar to what they use for walleye on the Fox this time of year. Any truth to this that you know of??
Mine apply primarily to crappie/panfish:
1. If a lake has a yearly "crappie hole", there is even better fishing to be found elsewhere on that lake.
2. Agree with Badgerstate, bigger baits don't always mean bigger crappie. My biggest crappie came on 4mm tungstens this season
3. Plastics over live bait for big fish, live bait over plastics for eaters.
4. Weedline oriented lakes are way harder to fish than basin oriented lakes, still a learning process for me.
5. Minnesota > Wisconsin, for fishing (and maybe hunting)