Are you on the hunt for some expert tips that will help you catch monster walleye in deep, icy waters? If you are, then you’re just in luck! We’ll give you the secrets of seasoned anglers related to ice fishing walleye so you can increase your chances of landing the fish.
How to Catch Walleye Ice Fishing
We all know that ice fishing can be a tricky endeavor, but these walleye ice fishing tips will guarantee your success. Let’s start!
Understand Their Behavior
During the coldest days of winter, the fish will typically move into much deeper basins. Walleye are often spotted at 30 to 40 ft deep in icy water.
But, in early winter, you’ll find them lingering in shallow waters of 7 to 15 ft from the water surface. They are on flats and in bays that have a massive concentration of baitfish.
Lastly, during late winter, they’ll move again to shallower waters where they’re found at 10 to 20 ft deep close to the grounds where they spawn.
Find the Best Structures for Ice Fishing
The best structures that will be a great start on your journey of learning how to ice fish for walleye are the extension of the shoreline’s points, the edge zone of a flat, and underwater hills.
Try to spot the transition zones which connect shallow areas and deeper water as they hold a ton of baitfish for walleye. Typically, the most productive part of a structure is the drop-off zone in between these two kinds of areas.
Another prime structure for targeting walleye is the pinch points in between two shore points that act like funnels that force patrolling walleye into much smaller areas as they’re passing through a choke point.
To catch walleye in the pinch points, set up several tip-ups for ice fishing to increase your chances of landing the fish.
Find Concentrations of Baitfish
This is probably the most effective way of ice fishing, especially if you don’t like chasing the fish with hole hopping.
Look for the locations which have lots of bait fish like minnows, shad, and yellow perch, then sit tight. Wait for the fish to show up and get an evening bite.
Even if you won’t have much success in ice fishing in such places during the day, it’s likely that they will show up by nighttime as it is when the fish is most active for feeding.
Walleye will push into shallower water in order to feed on a school of baitfish at night. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by waiting for the fish in these locations at night.
Learn How to Attract More Walleye
Seasoned anglers recommend that you jig with a bright flashy lure actively or use lures that produce lots of erratic movements.
The jerking movements and flashy colors serve to call the passing walleye and the fish comes closer in order to investigate what the commotion is about.
Use Big Bait for Big Walleye
In order to catch massive walleye as you’re fishing, it’s absolutely necessary for you to use a bigger baitfish of at least 7 inches long.
A great option for baitfish is a sucker as it can grow 10 to 20 inches long. This particular size for baitfish is too massive for the smaller walleye. This means you will be selecting the bigger walleye automatically – ones that are 5 lbs. or more.
Also, you need to make sure that you choose the locations where the bigger walleye may be found. They are usually in deeper water of 25 to 50 ft deep for the water’s surface during the day. They will then push into shallower waters at night to feed.
A great strategy for ice fishing walleye is fishing at night. The bigger ones typically show up under the ice later during nighttime so you may need a cordless drill while the smaller walleye will be under the ice during the day up to sundown.
Use Good Ice Fishing Rigs
When you’re trying to catch walleye using live baits, you’ll need to make sure of live bait rigs that are most often split shot rigs.
Split shot rigs consist of treble hooks tied to 3 – 4 ft long leaders with split shots positioned 6 – 12 inches from the hooks. If you are using sizable baitfish and you have to keep them within the correct depth, use a sliding sinker with the main line just above your leader.
Split shot rigs are excellent options to use with dead stick rods while you use a second rod in jigging actively on a different ice hole. Drop shot rigs also work great when it comes to vertical fishing. Drop shot rigs are ideal for walleye fishing as they let you target the specific depths from the bottom.
There’s also a slip bobber rig, which is quite popular for a live bait rig specifically for walleye fishing. The slip bobber is added on the main line that’s attached to the snap swivel which is attached to the leader.
Ice fishing rigs for walleye tend to be simpler compared to walleye rigs that are used during the open water season.
This concludes our quick guide on ice fishing the monsters of deep, icy waters: walleye. Follow the aforementioned tips and you’ll definitely get hooked to catching walleye as we are.
Also, don’t forget to try to wear ice fishing clothing and hit your lure to the bottom part of the lake and do so aggressively.
This will get walleye’s attention as you’ve stirred the bottom sediment, causing vibration through water which mimics living creatures that walleye fish are used to targeting.