Although Northern states have an abundance of ice fishing available on the various rivers and lakes, there is something special about fishing a small pond.  Bluegill and yellow perch are the predominate species here. 

Finding fish through ice can be difficult but there are ways for it to be done.  The most obvious is to know the body of water and at what depth the fish are to be found.  Discussions with anglers and at local bait shops will often yield that information.  It also helps to know the habits of the fish.  Bluegills and perch are typically found near the bottom. 

A portable fish locator will indicate if fish are present and at what depth.  Fish tend to stay in a comfort zone.  They look for food at eye level or a little above it.  Knowing where they are will help in placement of a lure or bait.  Fish tend to school up in winter.  Do not just look for a fish or two.  Find where the crowd is to be found.  Fish that area. 

It is a good idea to drill a number of holes and try them all.  The actual drilling process is very simple.  The blades should be kept sharp on the auger.  The type of water and bottom should be watched carefully.  Water that is mixed with sand before it freezes or a very shallow area where the drill may break through and hit a sand bottom can dull blades quickly.  If one hole is not producing fish, move to another.  Fish will move but generally not very far. 

If the body of water is unfamiliar, a fish locator unavailable, then try drilling pilot holes.  Begin by locating an area with cover.  It should have a good route from deep to shallow water.  During colder, low light conditions, start deeper and fish tighter to cover.  With bright light and warmer temperatures fish shallower.  If possible find weeds.  Drop offs, weed beds and any other submerged structure attracts fish.  Drill a pilot hole and lower some kind of line to measure the depth.  A weight placed on a fishing line works well.  Once the bottom is determined, adjust the bait so that it is 2 to 4 inches off the bottom. 

Drill four holes on an angle or parallel to the slope of the bottom.  Each hole will have a different depth.  If a certain hole starts to out produce the others move to that depth and drill more holes.  Each hole will then probably produce about the same. 

Today’s ice angler should be mobile.  That is especially true of small pond fishing.  Many fishermen use snowmobiles and pull a portable fish house with a supply of fishing tackle.  An auger, power or manual, is needed to drill holes.  A skimmer will clean out the ice that falls into the hole.  A small portable heater or lantern will help to keep one warm.  Together this equipment is the “bass boat” of the northern winter. 

As for poles, there are many good ice fishing rigs on the market.  They are usually about two to three feet in length and many have small spinning reels attached.  Others have ice fishing reels that hold about 25 yards of 4 to 6 pound line.  Many ice fishermen use tip‑ups in addition to jigging rigs.  Tip‑ups hold the bait at a certain depth.  The reel turns from the tug of a fish and releases a flag signal.  When the flag flies, it is time to take in the fish. 

Hooks are usually number 8 or number 10 size.  Small tear‑drop jigs in a variety of colors are also good.  Bait for bluegill and perch is usually grubs, mousies, wigglers and waxworms.  Small minnows, hooked through the back, can also be used as they are able to swim freely.  A small bobber can be used to keep the minnow or other bait at a precise depth. 

Twitch the bait and then let it set motionless.  The movement attracts the fish.  They will strike when it is still.  Do not over do the action.  If fish are reluctant to hang on to bait try using a fish attractant.  Attractants are at their best in cold water. 

Finally, the best time to go ice fishing is any time you can.  But, when the ice thickens and the action slows during the mid‑winter, try to key on warming trends, abrupt weather changes and low light periods.  Night is a great time for ice fishing.



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  2. Pingback: SMALL POND ICE FISHING IS GOOD FISHING « Don Gasaway's Blog | World of Flyfishing News

  3. Pingback: Big Fish Small Pond | Plastic Fish Tanks

  4. wow, it looks……. interesting, how can you caught a fish in that? (because im new here, that’s why I don’t know and I’m asking :D)

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