Ice fishing is just around the corner in most of the walleye world, and first ice can be some of the best fishing. After a long summer of open water fishing it is important to remember that ice fishing has it’s own set of rules, especially for safety. Get ready for ice fishing season as we cover First Ice Prep!
Captain Mark Pieniozek grew up on the shores of Saginaw Bay and started fishing with his dad at a very early age. In Part 1, Mark talks about his early years fishing, becoming a fishing guide, how fishing affects his home town of Linwood and the impact of ice fishing on the Saginaw Bay economy and doing ice rescues in his air boat!
We pick up our conversation with Mark as he shares his thoughts on fall trolling for big walleye on Saginaw Bay and Saginaw River. Mark goes into detail on presentations and lures he uses to cash in on the amazing fall bite. Mark also focuses on some overlooked details for BIG spring river walleye.
by: Captain Lance Valentine
As most of you know, I am not much of an ice fisherman, luckily, I know lots of experienced ice anglers. I had a chance to chat with a few of them about what they thought were some of the most important things to remember about getting ready for first ice.
1) Safety: Each one of my ice angler friends emphasized safety at first ice. Normal things like filing a float plan, having ice picks ON YOU PERSON AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE, wearing a PFD or Float suit and testing the ice before each step were all brought up. If going in a group be sure to spread out when traveling and fishing. First ice can be dangerous so be sure you are over cautious as you make your first steps onto the ice
2) Location: This was a fun one! Remember where you caught fish on your last open water outing and head right back there when first ice is ready. The fish usually haven’t moved far, if at all and are usually aggressive since they are still in fall “get fat” mode and probably haven’t been pressured in a few days or more as ice was forming.
3) Presentations: Just like location, presentations can be the same as when you last caught open water fish. Obviously, we can’t troll on the ice, but start with the same size, shape and actions that worked before you put the boat up. Aggressive presentations can be effective at first ice. Fish are still aggressive, focusing on feeding and haven’t been pressured. Action baits like jigging spoons, glide baits, rattle baits and other lures that have a lot of flash and sound can really fire up first ice fish.
4) Gear: Be sure everything is working before you head out onto first ice. This is not the time for an equipment malfunction. Tune up your augers, sharpen your spud, change fishing line and be sure rods and reels are ready to go. First ice can create opportunities for the fish of a lifetime so be sure you and your gear are ready.
First ice can be some of the best fishing of the winter, and by being prepared anglers can take advantage of hungry, unpressured fish during some of the nicest days of winter.