Ice fishing, weather like a yo-yo -- up and down
With the severe cold of this last week, we eliminated that slush and flooding problem on the lake. We have been making more ice, and travel is easy almost anyplace you want to go.
The report from others I have received have been like my own experiences this last week. The bite has been up and down like a yo-yo and the weather.
Bait preference for all species seems to change from trip to trip. It is important to change things up, try different colors, baits, depths and jigging cadence. When you get a fish, try to reproduce what you were doing. Walleyes seem to be just grabbing and holding baits, even jigging spoons, and a little patience before setting the hook has paid off. A locator is invaluable for seeing how high in the water column the fish are and letting you know when they are in the hole so you can pick your intensity up.
Fish slightly above the fish you are marking and pause and rise to get them to chase the offering. The fish seem to bite in bunches so get ready to catch a few if you get that first one.
The bite windows have been short and not as many fish seem to be actively on the bite during the cold front periods.
Enjoy the outing even if you are doing more fishing than catching. Some days you get them, some days they get you, and some days neither fish nor person seem to connect. It is easy for us to take for granted the unique opportunity for the winter outdoor activities we have here in the Detroit Lakes area. I was recently just reminded by a southern visitor how "unbelievable" it is to drive on a lake and catch a fish through a small hole in the ice. It is a "wow" kind of experience. Enjoy your next outing and be safe and smart on the ice.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)