As we reach the ending of our ice fishing season, we also come into one of the best times to fish, late ice. Late ice can produce some of the biggest fish of the season. I stress to people all the time, just as you get burned out from the frigid days of mid-winter, you need to find that second wind and capitalize on some great fishing.
Walleyes specifically are now coming to life. They are headed toward shallow water and river mouths to get ready to spawn. Areas such as the Saginaw Bay, Little Bay de Noc, Lake Erie and other small bays around the great lakes are hotspots for monster Walleyes during this time of the year. These walleyes are coming in full force to spawn and they are hungry.
Good walleye tactics that work for early ice can also be utilized during the late ice feeding frenzy. Walleyes are putting on the feed bags and eating everything in sight. Aggressive approaches to get the fish into closing distance, followed by a subtle wounded bait fish cadence is probably the deadliest tactic. I often tip a minnow head to a #7 Jigging Rap. Aggressive bright colors are my dish to serve when fishing dirty water near river mouths. If you get into clear water, a blue and silver pattern works like a charm.
When the bite may be considered slow, I like to switch to something that makes a lot of noise. Often a rattle spoon tipped with a minnow head or wax worms is the trick to make those hog walleyes close the distance. Especially in dirty water, when visibility is low, additional noise can be the single determining factor that can take your day from average to awesome. You could also use a rattle trap to get a Walleyes attention. However I like to add a minnow head for scent and adding a minnow head to a rattletrap can effect its action.
Keep in mind that Walleyes are actively feeding. Therefore they’re going to be looking for bait fish. The usual areas you find Walleyes during mid-winter have been abandoned due to lack of food. Walleyes will be targeting bait fish in shallow water, often near river mouth or bays. Find the bait fish, and you will find the walleyes.
As the mid-winter days come to a close and Walleyes become more aggressive, these tactics are my go to. I hope you get the chance to catch the pre-spawn action that so many anglers pass up. Use these tactics and I guarantee you’ll put some nice fish on the ice. If you have any questions, comments or anything I missed in this article, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or get with me on Facebook. I love talking fishing and hunting and love to hear from readers and fellow outdoorsman. I hope these tactics help you on your next adventure on the ice. This is Alvin Sitkiewicz signing off. As always, Stay Wild!