Ice Fishing WALLEYE!
ICE FISHING FOR WALLEYE!
By John A. Vance,
Environmental Eng. Tech.,
& Outdoor Writer (member Outdoor
Writers of Canada) All of the information here, including pictures
is covered under copyright law by John A. Vance. Reproduction
by any means is prohibited except with the express written
permission of John A. Vance. Clubs wishing to use this in
their newsletters for free may do so by contacting John A. Vance
and getting written permission and inserting my name and www in
Ice fishing for walleye
is perhaps ONE OF
the most favored of
all winter ice fishing - yet more folk fish for and catch panfish
than walleye, simply because more
waters hold them
( panfish) - never-the-less WALLEYE are the most
the ice fished fish!
Walleye ice fishers would be wise to
read up on crappie because these fine
finned fish have similarities, and if both these fish co-exist in
the water you're fishing, to be successful at one or the other,
there's a good chance you'll catch both. Though,
SIMPLY DUE TO THE SIZE OF THE LURE AND BAIT OFFERING, AND JIGGING
ACTION, crappie fishers are far more likely to catch a walleye
than a walleye angler is to catch a crappie!
water walleye, like under ice weed-line crappie will be in the
warmest water they can find - and that ain't any too warm once
water's frozen over! Walleye will be in this warmer water as
close to structure and feed
as they can be. The 'feed' aspect is of primary concern - they
have to eat, despite temperatures or depth. This may mean they are
in water up to fifty feet deep, perhaps suspended - perhaps not. A
fish finder makes your job immensely easier finding 'em, but
nothing beats the actual fishing of any given hole at various
depths as the final determining factor - that's fishin'!
I've lots of times had a totally blank Vexilar ( ice
fish-finder) screen - and dumped a jig/bait down the hole - to
suddenly have fish appear from seemingly no-where on that screen -
and fish-on! Walleye, especially walleye in shallow won't move
much during the day, especially if they hear you on the ice!
...continued – scroll down!
you are contemplating a trip to Northern Ontario waters, then I
have a second book on ice fishing walleye here in the
north. It's called "Northern Ontario Ice Fishing" and is
for both northerners - and those coming to the north Ice Fishing!
2012 Update! New for 2012 are my
audio Cds on a variety of topics including both open water fishing
and ice fishing. Topics such as ( Open water) Walleye Fishing
Inland Lakes: Walleye Fishing Rivers;
Walleye Fishing Precambrian Lakes:
and a host of others....(Ice Fishing) Ice Fishing For Everyone (
set of 2 Cds):
Ice Fishing for Bluegill, Crappie &
Perch: Ice Fishing for Walleye: Ice Fishing For Seniors...and a
host of others...
Also new for 2012 – come to my
neck-of-the-woods here on the North Shore of Georgian Bay for a
variety of workshops – including ice fishing workshops! We
have a clean & tidy campground here with access onto the
Serpent River which flows into Georgian Bay ( approx a half mike
away). So you can bring your own boat if you wish. They have RV
hookup as well as tenting and cabins. There is also a small
mom/pop Motel ( with Kitchenette Facilities of you wish) here for
those not into camping.
Bring along your entire family –
or fishin' buds and learn while on your holidays. My prices are
reasonable, and I'll tailor a workshop to your schedule on most
fishing and ice fishing subjects. Email me for pricing of my
various workshops and details as well as any other questions you
have superb ATV trails here, and a wonderful night sky-scape –
campfire smoke – a true northern experience...John
FISHING LURES AND BAIT FOR WALLEYE!
Ontario Style walleye – where live minnows can be used!
in the crappie section, minnows are perhaps responsible for taking
more fish than any other bait - and for sure 'so' in regards to
walleye. Personally though, I rarely use just a plain minnow, and
instead opt for using a minnow on an ice fishing jig
which gives better action and sight appeal, especially necessary
in stained water, as well as weight to get the presentation down
into the 'kill zone'. If the water is clear and or the walleye are
in a neutral or negative bite mode
ICE FISHING BASICS book)
then ( and perhaps, only then will I)
use a plain minnow -and only if fish are plentiful with a high
population in the water I'm fishing.
often you'll find me using an ice fishing jig with a live minnow
tagged onto one of the hooks. For these 'tag on' minnows I like
them to be about three inches long as the maximum, and if using
only a minnow, perhaps a minnow up to four inches long as the
maximum - walleye like most fish don't want
a big piece of bait during ice fishing time!
Indeed, with this in mind, I'll use as small a jig as I can for
walleye - which depends too on water depth etc. OF COURSE these
will be larger than what I use for crappie and other panfish - but
not as large as what I'd use for pike or musky. I like jigs to
weight roughly in at the eighth oz to quarter ounce range as my
own rule of thumb. I like ice lures such as the Ice Fishing
Rapala, Mr. Champ lures and it's 'take off' the Hex Wobbler, The
ice fishing model of the William's and Miller Spoons and Swedish
Pimples - the list could easily go on and on and on... In
my book "Northern Ontario Ice Fishing" where walleye
fishing is popular, I describe how to use a 'wind jigger'
attachment ( easy/cheap/homemade) and a dropper spoon set up to
foil walleye. It works superbly - after you've found the 'eye's,
A tag ( two to three inches/max) of
crawler is also fine... but in some areas you will have to find
out if live bait can be used - so check with the fishing regs for
the area you intend to fish first!
ICE FISHING WALLEYE
TECHNIQUES – WITHOUT LIVE MINNOWS!
Perhaps the most
important aspect of catching walleye is finding them – no
matter where you fish. In large lakes such as the Great Lakes they
may be suspended, but more commonly they'll be closer to the
bottom. I now, in most water other than a few larger lakes, fish
them starting in shallow water and work out deeper as I go until I
OFTEN walleye will be in
quite close to shore. And are not deep at all. You must use
stealth to catch these fish – walleye are a timid fish!
It's common to find
walleye in water in the ten to twenty foot depth range, and
occasionally down at the forty foot mark. If you are a serious
walleye fisher, I'd urge you to get my audio Cd on walleye
fishing..it gives you a lot of tips enabling you to become
consistent at finding/catching walleye!
Once you do find walleye,
I like to use a jig with a small tag of dead(real) live bait if I
have it, along with a Berkley GULP minnow, and use rhythmic
jigging action. I always allow for my bait/lure to sit motionless
as part of my rhythmic jigging presentation as walleye are often
lethargic in cold ice-water
like to use a hut for walleye fishing simply so as to get out of
I like a portable hut so I
can hunt out fish and set up once I find fish. If weather's bad I
set up hut, then return to it to
up and move hut to walleye once I locate them.
overdo it when jigging for walleye when ice fishing.
Walleye, like all fish are cold blooded and just aren't able to
move as fast in ice water as in warmer months. If you find the
walleye are suspended, you'll be wise to learn how to use a slip
bobber rig for your fishing strategy ...and a thread bobber
stop/depth-line marker. These are effective and inexpensive ways
of fishing exactly at a determined depth.
If you like what you've read here
- you'll be well served by buying either my
Ice Fishing Basics book which goes into
great detail on all the items here - and why, or my newest book,
"Northern Ontario Walleye Fishing"!
FISHING BASICS - THE BOOK!
size can make a huge difference when hunting out walleye. They
will be closest to where they can find the easiest meal. I've
taken them in water under ten feet deep, especially late winter -
whereas overland and into a smaller lake, walleye are being taken
down at sixty feet, consistently. It should be mentioned here that
on the overall, walleye DO NOT like being that deep. These deeper
dwelling fish were primarily feeding on smelt, whereas the shallow
walleye were feeding more on shoreline minnows and small fish
found there. MOST OFTEN you'll find walleye in water from 12 feet
deep to 25 feet deep during the winter - and just off a rapid
break ( where the water 'breaks' away into deeper/shallower water,
quickly) can prove superb.
A faster jigging presentation will
sometimes draw in walleye, but for the most part, walleye are NOT
aggressive bitters - and one might even think it's a perch. My
favored jigging action is a slow and continual movement of the
bait/jig, and the wind powered jigger is great for adding movement
to a second rod. Many jurisdictions allow for a second rod whilst
ice fishing - best check the regulations for where you intend on
I will also 'pound the bottom' with my lure - or my
'shit disturber' ( also available on this web site - or contact me
for more info - I have inexpensive kits available to make these)
to get a cloud of dispersed silt going - for great cover - and
this now also adds sound - and site appeal to the total
In decent walleye water, especially when they
are scattered - use my Feeding Minnow Flash Attractors - to draw
them in. This system that I developed works well - and better than
chum as well as making you 'pro active' at what we're doing out on
the ice. Do email me if this appeals to you - that's what I'm here
for, now I'm semi retired - I often take the time to answer
questions and trouble shoot for people.
- see blue side bar for much more ice
fishing info - much fishing technique can be found in the Ice
fishing jigs - 'how to' section!