One of the biggest revolutions in ice fishing over the last few years has been the use of electronics. What used to be a sport defined by permanent ice-shacks and stagnant fishing has now become one of lightweight, fast-deploying gear and hole-hopping. This is a direct result of anglers becoming more skilled at locating fish, and also being able to read their moods and determine their activity level.
Lost a bit in the “hole-hopping” movement is detailed information on the question “Should I stay or should I go?” – something we hope to remedy with this column.
When To Stay
• When the fish are actively biting
• When the fish you are catching are the right size
• When you’re marking lots of fish and getting them to follow a bait, but not commit
• When conditions are changing, i.e. around dawn, dusk, frontal changes, etc.
When To Move
• When you’re not marking any fish
• When the fish you do mark are not willing to move up and look at your bait
• When the fish you’re catching are not the right size or species
• When there is a high-pressure system, arctic cold front, or other weather condition that will lock their jaws
• When you can catch a fish or two and then the school disappears