Ambush is here to help!
When it comes to ice fishing in Minnesota – or anywhere else – you
never want to utter the words, “they just stopped biting.”
With certain techniques, you can get the fish to keep coming to the surface!
Here are five tips, tricks, and techniques from all of us here at Ambush.
Tip #1: Bait to Plastic
There is nothing wrong with taking a break from live bait while ice fishing in Minnesota! Although it seems unlikely, bluegills and similar panfish will eventually become tired of live bait. The way to solve this? Switch over to a jig with a 1/80 round head, with not more than a sliver of plastic on it. The tails of these small jigs shake and quiver with as little as a slight movement of the rod tip. Finesse plastic jigs are also fantastic search jigs, performing impressively in clear water.
Tip #2: Bounce the Bottom
If you have never attempted to bounce the bottom, this is a great way to reel in a few more jumbo perch when you are ice fishing in Minnesota. Perch tend to predominately feed closer to the bottom. This creates a small cloud from the debris on the bottom, and a sound that attracts fish from further away. Sometimes, it’s more productive to allow your jig to hit the bottom, lying down and resting there. This trick can work for bluegills as well. A spring bobber is helpful when using this approach, with plenty of the jig’s weight on it to keep it held halfway down. When the bait is taken, it will generally rise with the jig, causing the spring bobber to go up as well.
Tip #3: Vertical to Horizontal
Just as the color of the ice jig is important, so is the style! Although most ice fishers are fans of using tear drop shaped jigs that vertically hang in the water, switching to a different jig can be beneficial when the fish are no longer biting. Perch and crappies generally tend to bite better on a jig that hangs horizontally.
Tip #4: Line Twist
Fish will become used to how the jig moves and eventually stop reacting to it. If you continue to only move your jig in an up and down motion, chances are, they will stop biting. If you are looking for a change, try to hold the line between your thumb and your index finger. You’ll then twist or roll the line between your two fingers. This causes the jig to spin around in the water, while staying at the same depth. Another great option when ice fishing in Minnesota is to attempt to move the jig around the hole’s perimeter without using any up and down motion. Fish that are in shallow water will especially respond well to this technique.
Tip #5: Change Sizes
When the action has begun to slow down, try switching up the size of the jig instead of the color. This tip can work both ways – switching from larger to smaller or switching from smaller to larger. After catching as many fish as you can on your current size of jig, switch to a jig that is nearly twice as big as the current one, but still the same color. This often can result in catching a handful of larger bluegills. On the other hand, if fish aren’t taking the size of jig that you are currently using, switching it up one size at a time can help you catch a few more when ice fishing in Minnesota.