Whether you are angling with a classic ice fish rod or ice fishing with tip ups, we all have our slow days. I understand how disheartening it is to end an ice fishing trip with just a few panfishes or sometimes, nothing at all. I’ve had my fair share of empty buckets and zero catches. And people usually come up with the line, “It’s just a bad day. Better luck next time!”
Top 6 Tips for Attracting More Fishes While Ice Fishing
But what if I tell you that there are actually certain things you can do to increase your catches instead of just sitting there and waiting for good luck to come around? If this is something you’re interested in, you might want to continue reading.
When it comes to ice fishing, it works both ways – finding the fish as well as making the fish find you. If moving from one ice hole to another is not helping, you can use these six tips for getting the fish to find you instead.
Turn up some good vibration and sound
Most fishing enthusiasts often overlook sound as an attractant. But trust me! This has worked quite well for me on my last ice fishing trip. Creating some noise with a rattle spoon or crankbaits will definitely get the attention of the fishes that live down below.
Along with the sound, creating some good vibrations in cold water will also attract fishes. For this method, I would like to suggest one of the best lures I’ve ever come across, the Freedom Tackle.
If you’re still skeptical about the fact that noise and vibration can attract fishes, you can read how fishing enthusiasts and expert ice anglers – Jeff and Jason Matity caught some crappies with the help of noise and vibration.
In simple words, chumming means to attract fishes by using “chum” as bait. Chum includes baits like wax worms, minnows, fish parts, and even corn. For chumming, all you have to do is cut your baits into bits, or crush them, and throw them in the water.
Chumming attracts schools of fishes and is great for attracting the big game fishes. Also, it gives you an edge over other anglers.
However, you need to first make sure if chumming is legal in your region or the number of fishes you’re allowed to catch. Also, if chumming is permitted, you need to be aware of the kinds of chum that you’re allowed to use. So, make sure to do your research first before opting for chumming.
If chumming is not allowed, you can always add some scents on your lures. Use gel scents that can last longer in cold water. You can try the Berkley Powerbait Attractant. There are multiple options available for different fishes. So, depending upon the type of fish you’re looking for, you can pick the desired scent type.
Cover the ice hole
When any unwanted light penetrates into the water, it might scare away the fishes. Fishes below ice are used to living in a dim environment. Thus, exposing them to bright isn’t the best option.
Try using a hole-cover, or scrap some ice on the edges of the hole to block the light. In case the day is just too bright, you can even opt for ice fishing inside your tent.
Make use of tantalizing lures
Tantalizing or glowing lures are your best bet to grab the attention of your targets in cold water. If you’re using real minnows, you can tip a rattle spoon or crankbait along with it.
However, a glowing lure is nothing like the unwanted light that penetrates through the ice hole. Instead, most fishes are attracted by the subtle glowing part of the lure. Tantalizing lures are great for attracting far away fishes.
However, glowing or tantalizing lures require some amount of light to shine in cold water. Thus, if you’re ice fishing after sunset or at night, you can opt for glow-in-the-dark lures like the Glow Lion Green LED Underwater Night Lure.
Switch your baits
Sometimes, your baits may fail to attract fishes because they don’t “match the hatch.” It means that the baits you use don’t interest the fishes. Fishes tend to change their diet patterns year-round. Thus, if your bait doesn’t match their diet, there are high chances that the fishes won’t even bother to bite it.
So, what’s the best you can do? Change your bait! This method works best while ice fishing with multiple tip ups. You can set different baits for each tip up station. This way, you can identify the bait that works best and switch the same in the rest of the tip up stations.
Bottom bouncing is also known as trolling or drift fishing. Along with attracting fishes, bottom bouncing is also a great way of locating fishes if you are new with the waters.
For this method, you need to thump/bounce your bait on the bottom of the water. The noise created by this will help in attracting nearby fishes. Also, while you thump your bait, it usually creates a mess with debris and sand. This mimics a struggling minnow, thus luring game fishes. You can make use of spring bobbers and jigs in this method. It works best for fishes like perch, bluegills, etc.
However, be careful of not bouncing your bait too much. Since fishes are extra sensitive to vibration, too much disturbance may scare away the fishes. And that’s the last thing you would want when ice fishing!
Fishing requires lots of patience. So, even if you’re not getting enough catches as you wished for, don’t be discouraged. Instead, the next time you’re having a slow day on the ice, try these six tips for attracting some extra fishes. With the right bait and the right gears, I’m pretty sure one of these tips will definitely work.
Niels Thomas is a wildlife expert and fishing fanatic that works with major fishing brands like Deeper Sonar, Abu Garcia, Berkley, PENN, BassPro and Pure Fishing. Through sharing the best fishing tips, tricks, gear reviews, locations and much more he hopes to inspire fishing fanatics to start their own journey towards becoming the King of the Catch!