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Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing Perch Tactics

Ice fishing for perch early in the season gives many an angler a chance to get back to the basics of fishing. By utilizing simpler rigs, experienced ice fishermen are able to get into large schools of perch and the opportunity for an excellent dinner of perch on top of that! If you are new or just discovering the truly enjoyable sport of ice fishing, early season perch gives you the opportunity for landing a great number of fish.

Move, Move, Move!

Keeping yourself on the move is the single most important factor when ice fishing for perch.Perch have the tendency to gather in large schools in winter months and spend most of their days searching for food sources.By locating one of these traveling schools, you should be able to have a great day of ice fishing. With the proper presentation and your willingness to travel, you will have a great day of ice fishing. Early in the ice fishing season perch tend to be shallow and are very aggressive when it comes to feeding. This type of action generally last about a week or so until the perch move off into deeper waters. Because the action can be so intense you will find a great number of other ice fishermen out for the same experience as you. Don't be afraid to experiment with your locations, don't just follow the crowd. If you are able to discover a school of perch, you will have a fantastic day.
Eventually this initial shallow feeding frenzy will end and the time for you to search deeper off-shore areas will come. Deeper areas close to spawning areas are a good place to begin your new search. A good topographical map of the lake is always a good investment. Look for areas off points or in between islands. If you are able to purchase a GPS unit, use it during the summer months to save way points that are successful during the open water season. Don't be afraid to vary your depth when offering your presentation. Perch will often utilize the entire water column.

Ice Fishing for Perch

Begin by drilling about 6-8 holes using a zig zag pattern. Ensure your holes cover about 25 yards. Rig your rod up with a small spoon using a maggot as bait. Small jig tubes are also a good bet when initially beginning your day. Make sure you are probing all areas of the water column. By using these presentations you will locate more of the active perch within the school, which in turn will give you a good idea of the location of the main body of fish. If 15 minutes of this activity do not result in some good action, proceed to the hole you drilled next and begin the process over again. Once you are satisfied you have located the school of perch slow down the presentation and set up your tip-up.

Using your jigging hole as a guide, set your tip-up 5-20 yards away. This keeps the tip-up close enough when a strike occurs, but more importantly it will be in the same area as the main body of perch. If you are unfortunate enough that the action begins to cool down, take heart. Simply move outward until you locate the school  again.

What Equipment is Needed?

Primarily for jigging a good quality light to medium action rod is best suited for perch fishing. A sensitive tip is crucial. Light weight lures require this sensitivity to utilize their action most effectively. Choose a rod between 18 and 24 inches long. Pair your rod up with an ultra light spinning reel ensuring you use  between 2 and 4 pound test on the reel. If pike and walleye are present in the lake you are fishing, a higher pound test is recommended, you just never know!!
Store bought or homemade really makes no difference when choosing your tip-up providing they are sensitive. Tip-ups are the least expensive of your gear and can be made at home using a few scraps of wood. More elaborate versions are available through retail outlets. It is entirely up to you.
There are as many lures available to the ice fisherman as there are stories about the fish they have caught. By experimenting with color and size you will quickly get a feel for what the fish are seeking. Spoons in a 1/32 oz to 1/8 oz size do quite well. If new to the sport of ice fishing purchase about 6-7 of these lures in a variety of colors and sizes. Also experimenting with the bait you are offering is an excellent way to quickly discover what is working and what is not. Sometimes it is as simple as switching from maggots to mealy worms.

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