|Ice Fishing Tips from Frabill|
The cold temperatures are settling in, and the visions of open water fishing are coming to a close. Ice anglers all over the upper Midwest have already taken to the early ice in pursuit of that first and quite often a very good early ice bite. Here are a few tips from Freshwater Hall of Fame Angler and guide Dale Stroschein, as well as some of the best Ice fishing experts around to help you put more fish on the ice this season.
1. Safety is the number priority for Dale Stroschein. Dale never takes ice conditions for granted, with over 37 years of guiding on the ice under his belt.
“Just because you see someone way out on the ice doesn’t mean it’s ok to venture out there yourself,” say’s Dale. The ice conditions will vary from spot to spot, and not everyone has the same sense of security on the ice as others. Dale never steps onto the ice without a good set of ice picks (which are included on every Frabill Ice Suit) around his neck. He also recommends you carry a rope and keep your cell phone in a plastic bag just in case you are unfortunate enough to test out your float suits capabilities. “You can never be over-prepared when venturing onto the ice, especially early ice,” concludes Dale.
2. Mobility is crucial as you need to be able to get up and move at any moment. A flip-over shelter is perfect for the run-and-gun angler as these will allow you to cover ice fast and efficiently. As the weather and the light conditions change throughout the day, anglers need to make adjustments and make them fast, as the bite window in ice fishing may only last an hour on many occasions. Being able to stash your rods away quickly and secure in Frabill’s new XL Ice Combo Casewhile stored in the new Ice Hunter Series Flip-Over Shelteris a sure-fire way to keep you organized and on the move.Pictured above: Frabill’s new Ice Hunter Series Flip-Over Shelter
3. Rod and Line for the right situation make all the difference. Many anglers tend to use too heavy of gear for targeting panfish and too light of gear for targeting tanker walleyes. Matching your rod and line to the technique of fishing and species you are targeting will significantly improve your odds. When fishing for panfish in deep water, using a heavy or even a medium-heavy rod with a monofilament line will greatly reduce the number of bites you may feel. While using a light or ultralight rod such as the Ice Hunter Finesse Spinning combo from Frabill and a small diameter super line with a fluorocarbon leader, you are sure to feel almost every bite no matter how light. “Having the right equipment is key but knowing when to use it is even more important” says Dale.Pictured above: Frabill’s new Ice Hunter Finesse Spinning Combo
4. Details and paying attention to them are what Dale and many others have claimed will help you land the big fish this ice season. With over 37 years of experience chasing big walleyes, Dale has learned a thing or two about increasing his and his client’s odds of a true trophy walleye through the ice. I’m a firm believer that our graphs put out noise as they ping the bottom for obstructions such as fish or structure,” says Dale. This slight noise may be all it takes to keep a big walleye from visiting your location. Technology has given us an entirely new view of what’s under the ice these days, but it’s not always the key to putting more fish on ice. Try fishing without a graph on occasion and see what bites your line; you may be surprised.Pictured above: XL Ice Combo Case5.
Playing the Odds is a tip all the pros spoke about in one way or another. This also coincides with the mobility tip. Typically anglers will start in shallow water in the morning and move deeper throughout the day. This is a reliable method but can have its disadvantages as well. When every ice angler in the area is drilling holes up shallow where the fish have already staged, the odds of spooking them to deeper water is increased. And vice versa, as the day extends and anglers are chasing the fish to deeper water they may also be moving them back to shallow water where there is less pressure.
“A key to this thought is to stay stealthy, don’t move when they move. Stay a step ahead of them and be patient as they will come to you,” say’s Dale. “Be strategic when picking your locations and plan for the entire day of fishing. I may start my day in 10′-15′ foot of water in the morning, but I like to have deeper water (30′) close by. I’m staying mobile, but it will only take me a few minutes to get back to my other spots for when the conditions are right.” stated Dale. Ice fishing is rapidly growing due to the relatively low cost of entry and the ability to involve the entire family for a great day spent outdoors this winter. Frabill has you and your family covered from head to toe with all the gear needed, such as safety, fishing rods and reels, bait management systems, and shelters needed to enjoy an amazing season on the ice.
To learn more about ice fishing, check out Frabill’s College of Ice Series on YouTube– College of Ice .