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ice fishing crappie catch

Ice Fishing Soft Plastics – Overlooked Presentations for Panfish & Walleyes

Learn the benefits of adding soft plastic lures to your ice fishing arsenal and how to use those baits effectively.

I can easily recall my first time ice fishing with soft plastic lures because it was my first time ice fishing. I fished with a couple of fishing industry friends, both veteran ice anglers from Minnesota. Jigs and spoons owned the ice fishing world at that time, and few ice anglers ever used soft plastic lures. To me, though, it seemed like the same lures I used for vertical presentations to cold-water crappie and bluegills on open water should work through the ice. So, I begin my ice pilgrimage by going against the grain, using a soft plastic crappie bait on a jighead that wasn’t even an ice jig.

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ice fishing walleye catch

How to Maximize Your Ice Fishing Success with Rattle and Glow Baits

As winter progresses and light penetration under the ice lessens, rattling sounds and glow become extra important for helping fish find your baits and for triggering strikes.

With several inches of snow atop ice that’s more than a foot thick and the fish near the bottom, nearly 30 feet below, there is no sunlight to make a metallic spoon shimmer, and it’s tough for fish to see even the boldest lure color unless a lure is almost touching them.

Predator fish find forage largely by hearing, sensing vibration with their lateral lines and via scent through the heart of winter. Lures that rattle deliver critical sound. Tipping lures with natural bait provides scent. Don’t stop there as you consider ice offerings, though. Lures that glow bring the fish’s sense of sight into the equation and help them find your lure even in the darkest of waters.

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ice fishing crappie catch

Ice Fishing Tips from Three Expert Anglers

Learn the secrets of 3 highly successful anglers who are especially adept and catching crappie and other panfish through the ice.

Although hundreds of miles separate the favored hard-water fishing haunts of avid anglers Nicole Stone, Doug Sikora and Ryan Suffron, it seems the geography is the only distinguishing difference among the three’s passion for catching crappie and other panfish through the ice.

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ice fishing crappie catch

Essential Ice Fishing Strategies for Mid-Winter Transition Panfish

Learn how crappies, bluegills and perch move as winter progresses and discover the best ice fishing strategies for capitalizing on that understanding.

The progression of winter delivers changes beneath the ice, and as conditions change, fish must move to new spots and alter their behavior. Finding ice fishing success through mid-winter begins with considering the transformation that is taking place and adjusting accordingly with locations and strategies.

Fish Ed and Destination Fish host Jon Thelen spends much of his awake time on the ice throughout winter, whether scouting, filming or testing lures, so he has an outstanding sense of how fish behavior changes as ice season progresses. In Minnesota, where Thelen does the most fishing, changes in panfishing scenarios become noteworthy late in December and early in January.

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Lee Pitts with Crappie

Winter Crappie Fishing Tactics that Shouldn’t be Overlooked

Learn the value of a float and a jig used together for mid-winter crappie fishing and how two guides use float strategies to put more fish in the boat.

“Often they won’t pull it under,” Lee Pitts said about the float portion of his Float and Fly rig. “It’ll just tip a little or start easting sideways.”

Pitts knows. As a crappie guide on legendary waters of Weiss Lake, Pitts spends most winter days on the water. Winter delivers some of the best action of the year, and one of his most productive crappie fishing techniques when the water gets cold is the float and fly approach, which refers to fishing a jig beneath a set float for slow, subtle presentations at a prescribed depth.

Beaver Lake crappie guide Greg Robinson also relies heavily on floats for winter crappie fishing. That surprises many people, Robinson noted, because they only associate bobbers with extra shallow water. However, Robinson and Pitts are commonly presenting jigs 6 to 10 feet deep. The key is that the float suspends an offering in the strike zone and allows for the extra slow and subtle presentations that are sometimes needed for winter crappie fishing success.

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Rebel Pop-R Topwater Lures

A Complete Pop-R Guide

Learn about different Pop-R models and when to use each to maximize success.

You know the Rebel Pop-R. It’s the most iconic popper in the fishing world, a name commonly used to reference various poppers and the unofficial template for many other popping lures.

You may not realize that the Rebel Lures makes several different Pop-R models, all with much in common but each a little different. We’ll look at all the Pop-Rs and dig into how each is distinctive to help you pick the perfect Pop-R for any given situation.

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ice fishing walleye and spoon

Rattl’n Quiver Spoon Combines Subtlety & Sound

This new spoon from Lindy Legendary Fishing fills an important spot in your ice fishing lures box. Learn why it was created and how to use it for everything from bluegills to walleyes.

At times, subtle action is critical for finding good ice fishing action. At other times sound is important for calling in fish and prompting strikes. Sometimes both are true, which is why Lindy introduced the Rattl’n Quiver Spoon.

The slow fluttery fall of a Lindy Quiver Spoon has made this lightweight ice spoon a multi-species ice fishing favorite for the past few winters. At times, though, the fish need a little help finding a bait before they can be coaxed into biting. The Rattl’n Quiver Spoon uses the same shape and light metal construction as the original Quiver Spoon. However, a rattle built into a protruding eye delivers the sound that is sometimes needed to call fish into range and finish the job of prompting strikes.

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shellcracker

Use Tiny Lures for Big Action from Many Fish Species

Bobby Garland’s Itty Bit lures provide highly dependable summer action from several kinds of fish and lend themselves to a variety of presentations.

“This one must be a bass,” my son, Nathaniel, called out as fish he was battling surged against his ultralight gear. I paddled my kayak nearer to get a better look and photos. “Actually, it’s a giant bream!” he said when he got the fish in sight.

A few minutes later he slid his hand beneath a pound-plus shellcracker (officially, a redear sunfish), lifted it into the kayak, and the tried to figure out the best way to get a grip around the fish’s big body. We got some pictures before he returned it to the water and then returned to casting a tiny bait toward shoreline cover to see what else he could catch.

I had been telling Nathaniel about Bobby Garland’s new Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R and showing him photos of bluegills, yellow perch, largemouth bass and more – even including another big shellcracker that I’d caught from a different spot on the same lake a week prior. Finally, he was getting to see for himself and was enjoying the fast action. His big shellcracker was one about 50 fish of a handful of species we caught in a few hours of casting Itty Bits from kayaks that afternoon.

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