Ice Team takes a look at techniques for your movement on ice.
This edition of Collector’s Corner takes a look at Busty Baits.
Pro Tips for Winterizing Your Boat
Finesse Jigging Tactics Learn how to work the fringes to ensure you’re successful this winter!
#AppsForAnglers Fishing Pics
Chicks from 18 Fishin’ The Chive
iFish Picks 9 must-have products we’ve reviewed and recommend to our users.
Tips from 6 of fishing’s finest on what you need to do prep your boat for the winter.
Stay Mobile - Catch More Fish
Fish Posture and Strategy Learn how recognizing a fish’ posture can make you look like an expert angler!
Fish Cakes with Lemon Chili Mayo
A note from the Editor...
iFish Magazine ™ - Volume 2, Issue 3 Winter 2014 EDITORS Randy Chamzuk, Marcel Schoenhardt DESIGN Marcel Schoenhardt CONTRIBUTIONS
My Favorite Fishing Season
Stephanie Wakelin, Cody Osborne, Patrick Daradick, Tom Gruenwald, Cory Yarmouth, Jason Mitchell
Hard water season is my favorite fishing season. Over the past few years I’ve been able to expand my ice fishing gear, and I have to say with some of today’s innovative products available, being cold and uncomfortable while ice fishing really does not have to happen anymore. For those that think you
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need a truck full of gear to go out - you’re wrong. Pick a nice day, an easy spot to get to and go give it a try. You will be impressed with how your fellow anglers are willing to help out and give advice and pointers – just check out the iFish App for a sense of that. Go give it a try, you don’t need much and its a great time. Get out there, have fun and be safe!
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Want your photo featured? Tag your Instragram pics with #AppsForAnglers and weâ€™ll re-post the best ones! iFish Magazine : : : 6
Tips for taking a great fish photo! Try to fill the whole frame, avoid using zoom To get the best color of the fish, take it right after being caught, with no dirt or blood on the fish Make sure your hands are wet and use both hands, make sure you don’t squeeze it’s stomach Hold the fish horizontally, supporting near its head with one hand and the other near its tail Extend yours out in front of you, hold the head slightly closer to the camera, this makes the fish appear larger Face toward the sun, take off sunglasses & smile
Want your photo featured? Tag your Instragram pics with #AppsForAnglers and we’ll re-post the best ones! iFish Magazine : : : 7
By Patrick Daradick This is a revised version of a story from ontariolures.com
Born August 29, 1890 in the district of Parry Sound, Ontario Canada, William Stanley ‘Busty’ Flesher came from quite a distinguished pioneer family. In approximately 1902, John Flesher, Busty’s dad, was sent to New Zealand to build the first sawmill for Massey-Waters, a major lumber company. From the age of 14, Busty was on his own with his father leaving Canada and his mother passing away. He began making his way doing a variety of jobs from fishing, boat livery, logging, lumber camps and as a part-time fishing guide. During the next 20 years, he would guide for many distinguished out-of-town clientele. Being a pretty fair hockey player, the Toronto Maple Leafs scouted him, where his defensive abilities landed him the nickname “Buster” and “Bust-Up” as the crowd hung a handle on him that stuck. It was in World War l, where he was injured by shrapnel and sent home for discharge on April 11, 1919, that his hockey career would come to an abrupt end. Also in those early years he became a craftsman, a “Jack-of-
all-trades” so to speak. Busty built and repaired wooden boats, carved axe handles, baseball bats, forged shovels, crafted snow shoes, decoys, fishing tackle, did a little clock repair and was locksmith, carpenter and mechanic; he could do it all. Because of his marksmanship skills, he was often asked to sight a variety of guns before hunting season. He had quite a reputation in the area as he was a bit gruff in manner but had a great sense of humor. Busty was reliable, a bit of a perfectionist, well liked and respected, but you had to catch him when he didn’t have a line in the water. Busty had taken up Commercial Fishing, working with friends, but in 1921 he received his own Gill Net License to commercially fish the public waters of Georgian Bay from the Limestone Islands to Head Island in his own boat. Busty married Evelyn Alice Holbourn on January 1, 1930. Evelyn and her two brothers often fished with Busty, staying at fish camps they put up at various locations, where they cleaned, boxed and packed in ice their catches of herring, chub, whitefish, pickerel, lake trout and sturgeon.
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Busty held his Gill Net License from 1921-1938 when eventually his boat caught fire. He continued to fish for others but the industry was waning, so he went to work building roads up towards Callander, Ontario where he was struck by a car that broke his back. It took better than a year flat on his back before he walked again. Busty had been making his own lures, flies, spoons and sinkers from a very early age, but the concept for “Busty’s Bait” was born in the early 1930’s. His daughter still has the first bait sold in 1941 – to a longtime friend for fishing at Shawanaga Bay. That bait sold for an astounding $4.50 and caught 27 fish in one day. It was an early version of his famous green bait. There are still other earlier versions, templates and other memorabilia in the daughter’s possession. On February 1, 1945 Busty wrote to the Commissioners of Patents and Copyrights in Ottawa to inquire as to the procedure of obtaining a patent for his bait. He was issued the patent in approximately 1947. Busty produced his baits by hand in his basement for over twenty years. They were made of white cedar, hand carved and sanded, fins handcut, lead weights poured, steel pins and hooks applied after chosen color of paint had been patiently applied. The color
was either green or red & white, in sizes four inches through to seven inches in length. They were packed in red or green boxes with an instruction sheet neatly folded inside. Once production began word spread and soon it became difficult for Busty to keep up with the demand. Aside from the personal sales from home Busty had his baits in the local hardware stores and in other towns in Ontario as well as the U.S.A. Some found their way into other provinces. The last recorded sale available was to WM. Beatty Company local and general store shortly before his death on August 1967 at age 77. Busty Flesher is survived by several grandchildren and daughters. Living with their treasures and treasured memories of a simple down-to-earth-man, a caring father, a hard working family man with a passion for the outdoors. Busty was a true naturalist and somewhat of a legend in his time.
Patrick is an avid collector of vintage fishing lures, having been at it for over 24 years. You can learn more about him, and his collection, at www.ontariolures.com.
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We asked some pro fisherman what they do to get their boats ready for the long winter. Here’s what they had to say!
I always clean and lubricate the entire fuel system with petroleum-based stabilizers like Sea Foam Motor Treatment as it protects against fuel oxidation and evaporation.
Jack up the trailer so the tires are off the ground, drain the lag oil and fill with new oil. Afterwards bring the motor down to drain the water.
– James Lindner
– Ray Kolhruss
(Angling Hall-of-Famer, TV host and author)
(Professional fishing guide and Pure Fishing Pro Staff)
Two of the most critical parts in an outboard motor are the powerhead and the lower unit. The powerhead needs to be “fogged” and is usually done manually but with the Evinrude ETEC G2, it has an automatic fogging procedure that takes about 4 minutes to complete. This allows me to fish in colder weather and then re-fog the motor after a day of fishing.
Remove your engine and deep cycle batteries and store inside a dry, cool place for the winter to prevent from freezing.
– Casey Martin (Canadian born FLW touring champion and fishing guide)
When storing your kayak for the winter, be sure to store it in a position that will not warp the hull and where sudden movement can damaged the hull. – Mike Zilkowsky (Wilderness Kayak Pro Staff and Eastslope Kayak Fishing Classic Tournament Director)
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– Andy Vander Ploeg (Professional fishing guide and 2005 Yamaha Angler of the Year Champion)
For river boating anglers with outboard jets, make sure to squeeze fresh grease into your lower pump bearing and make sure every last drop of water is out of there before it freezes solid. – Andy Tachuk (Professional fishing guide)
Ice fishing is becoming more popular each year. In fact, many consider ice fishing one of the fastest growing segments of the entire sport fishing worldâ€”and for good reason! Cold air is refreshing and healthy. Spending time with friends searching for fish beneath the ice is unique. Clothing has improved greatly, so anglers can stay warm and comfortable for extended periods of time; and with better equipment, more tools and options are now available to help bring success given a variety of situations and conditions. Plus, with a growing contingency of anglers participating, expanding numbers of productive patterns and concepts are emerging. More information is being assembled than ever before, and through the internet, being shared at record pace. Ice anglers putting all this newfound knowledge to work on large, active schools at the right time are
experiencing plenty of excitement, with fish chasing and aggressively slamming a variety of presentations. However, what happens when this increasing fishing pressure culls active fish from a school, or on a larger scale, knocks back activity on an entire population within a body of water? And what if such conditions are combined with the onset of a tough cold front, resulting in fish ignoring baits or not responding to common tactics? Thatâ€™s when you need to work the fringes. Be able to spearhead revolutionary new tactics. Choose the right gear to help capitalize on specialized techniques and presentation wrinkles that will convince finicky fish to bite; while helping sense delicate takes and convert them into solid hook-ups. And this is where finesse tactics come into play.
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FINESSE JIGGING TACTICS
If you’re fishing deep and desire more hook setting power, compromise by using a heavier power rod tipped with a super-sensitive spring bobber such as HT’s Slab Stopper FX. You’ll still retain supreme control and strike sensing capability with a fully adjustable finesse presentation, without losing any solid hook setting capabilities!
Rods To increase sensitivity and speed reaction time, I recommend slightly longer than normal, fast action rods. Solid carbon or graphite blanks like those used on HT’s SPI-26DS 26inch Sapphire Ice dead stick are great, but finely tapered composite rods such as Bob Izumi’s 27-inch BI-27LM or HT’s 36-inch PLC-36LM Polar Lite also provide superior strike detection and are more forgiving with larger fish. With any of these rods, fast action tips allow you to establish a constant jigging rhythm, maintain close contact with your presentation, in turn providing the ability to detect even the slightest irregularity in the anticipated cadence—exactly what you’ll need when sluggish fish halfheartedly nip at the tail of your bait, yet you’ll still have all the backbone necessary to set the hooks solidly and fight even the largest fish with total control. Longer rods also provide more “sweep,” allowing you to simply raise the rod to pick up slack line on fast rising fish, and they’re much more forgiving when fish make strong, unexpected runs. Just lower the rod and follow fish to maintain a tight line without overstressing your system. Thin, low profile, single-footed guides positioned generously along these lengthy blanks also disperse stress more evenly, allowing the use of thinner, more sensitive lines, which aid presentation control and enhance strike detection, too.
Choose the right gear to help capitalize on techniques ... that will convince finicky fish to bite
Combine your premium rod with a smaller profile, ultra light spinning reel. I prefer high quality models, such as HT’s ACR-106A Accu-Cast that match perfectly with lighter, finer tipped rods, without forgoing premium features like infinite anti-reverse to aid with precision depth control; smooth, multi-setting drags to help alleviate line stress; and free-flowing ball bearing drives to eliminate sticky retrieves during cold weather. The rotor on HT’s AccuCast is even turned upward so line comes directly off the spool straight toward the stripper guide, allowing improved performance while minimizing line twist—critical factors in any successful finesse ice presentation. And the longer neck allows you to work your baits and retrieve easily, even while wearing mitts or gloves, a feature you’ll appreciate when on the run, fishing outside a shelter.
Lines Spool your reel with premium, thin diameter, low-memory lines to properly balance the system. Premium brands, like Cabela’s Tectan and HT’s Ice Black, are excellent choices, as are Power Pro, Sufix Ice Magic and others. The key is to avoid using cheap line that coils off the reel, negating the advantages of these sensitive systems. Light-biting fish simply pull the coils tight—and even the most sensitive finesse systems can’t overcome that.
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FINESSE JIGGING TACTICS
occasionally shimmying the lure gently—just enough to flick the lure and keep the minnow kicking or grub wriggling, nothing more.
For larger game fish, downsized versions of classic ice baits—the smallest size Jigging Rapalas, Swedish Pimples, Dominators—are all good choices, but be sure to try some new options, too. Smaller profile 1/10-ounce JigA-Whopper Hawger Spoons, Jig-A-Whopper 1/6-ounce Lazer Rockers, smaller sized HT Mirage Spoons or Hali-type spoons are excellent examples. For best results, tip these with a tiny minnow or minnow head.
Should they not react, short-strike or spook, try using a tiny spoon rigged with a short chain or monofilament dropper incorporating a tiny micro jig or better yet, lightweight, maggot tipped circle hook, then either hold the bait relatively still just off bottom--or for suspended fish, just above your target. Such rigs get down efficiently, while the droppers fall slowly and improve hooking percentages by allowing baits to slip into a light-biting fish’s mouth much easier than standard, fixed position hooks secured directly to a spoon.
These thinner, lighter spoons can be fished more slowly, a tremendous advantage when fish are hanging around and looking, but seemingly won’t strike. Try changing out standard hooks with lightweight, specialty designs such as a circle, octopus or kahle, too. You’ll be surprised by the improved hooking capabilities!
Similarly, tapered fly leaders and tippets can help slow fall rates and improve hook-ups when using smaller micro presentations as well. Simply rig them as leaders between your terminal line and lure—or if carefully fished to avoid tangling, as specialized dropper lines.
For pan fish, go with smaller profile, slow falling baits featuring light-wire, small barbed hooks, like HT’s classic Marmooska or Jig-AWhopper’s Flutter Bug. Tip these with a wiggly spike or two. Again, these can be fished s-l-o-wl-y to tease neutral or negative fish into taking. Or, try downsized, heavy bodied tungsten models like the #14 HT Marmooska Diamond tipped with a plastic action tail—and again, fish slowly. You’ll find the presentation control of this combination absolutely amazing!
Motion Now position your lure a foot or so above the target fish and slowly begin raising your bait, moving it only enough to keep the fish’s interest and maintain contact with your presentation. As the lure rises, work it with a constant, slight shaking or wiggling action interspersed with gentle, periodic twitches. If fish won’t follow, try smaller baits tipped with tiny, lively “pinhead” sized minnows or a single maggot. Drop down just above the fish’s level, and ever so gradually lift the bait while
Experiment with attractors, too. Adding thin strips or bits of colored plastic or teased yarn soaked in fish attractant, for example, often draw interest—yarn also tends to tangle in fish’s teeth when they nip at the bait, improving hooking percentages. Tiny beads or sequins of various design and color are often overlooked attractors as well. Bottom line is today’s ice anglers have a wide selection of rods, reels, lines, lures and accessories available, so don’t miss out…experiment! When things get tough, add to today’s growing knowledge pool by accepting the challenge and experimenting with some revolutionary finesse tactics of your own. You’ll be glad you did. Tom Gruenwald hosts the popular TV show TGO, Tom Gruenwald Outdoors. You can learn even more in-depth secrets by watching TGO, where “it’s all ice fishing, all the time,” airing on Sportsman Channel, Wild TV and Midco Sports Network throughout the winter months.
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PREP TIME 20 minutes COOK TIME 8-10 minutes SERVINGS 4 DIFFICULTY LEVEL Medium
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Add fish to the food processor; use pulse setting until fine but not puréed. Add to same mixing bowl and mix in your breadcrumbs, egg, mustard and pepper.
For the fish cakes: 1 Rib celery, coarsely chopped 2 Green onions, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup Fresh parsley leaves 450g Fish fillets (such as lake or mountain whitefish, burbot, grayling, etc.) 3/4 cup Fresh bread crumbs 1 Egg 2 tsp Dijon mustard 1/4 tsp Pepper 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil For the lemon-chili mayo: 1/3 cup Light mayonnaise 1 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice 1/4 tsp Chili powder
In a food processor, blend together celery, green onions and parsley until finely chopped then transfer into a mixing bowl.
Portion into 8 paddies; around a 1-1/2” think.
In non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook fish cakes while only flipping once until golden and firm. Roughly 8 to 10 minutes or cook time.
Prepare the lemon-chili mayo: whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and chili powder. Serve with fish cakes.
Power Up! By using your food processor when preparing these fish cakes you cut your prep time and ensure these tasty cakes come together in just a few minutes. This means you can get back on the water to land more hard water lunkers.
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Arctic Grayling Also Known As: Thymallus arcticus, grayling,
About Arctic Grayling
IGFA Record Arctic Grayling
Arctic Grayling have trout-like bodies but are actually part of the salmon family. They have very colorful and large rounded dorsal fins. Brown or black spots on the body behind the head.
Katseyedie River, NWT, Canada August 16, 1967
Tips for Catching Arctic Grayling They feed mostly on crustaceans, insects and insect larvae, and fish eggs.
Grayling strike when the lure is sinking; spoons 1” - 1.5” or small spinners are your best bet, with dark natural colours such as black, grey, dark green and brown work best. Chose a 3-5 weight fly rod with a lightweight reel
Average length: 8 - 14”
Fish near rocky shorelines in water less than 12’ deep
Average weight: Around 1 lbs
Mid – late June is when they finish spawning and begin to get appetites .
Arctic Grayling grow to a maximum recorded length of 30 inches (76cm) and 8.4lbs (3.8kg). They’re widespread in Arctic ocean drainages from Hudson Bay, Canada to Alaska and in Arctic and Pacific drainages to central Alberta and British Columbia in Canada.
Grayling congregate, so where you catch one, there should be several more hanging around. Make sure to take care when removing hooks as grayling tend to bleed a lot.
The Arctic Grayling occurs primarily in cold waters of midsized to large rivers and lakes, returning to rocky streams to breed.
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ICE TEAM // TECHNIQUES
Ice fishing isn’t for everybody, but for some it holds a special place in our hearts — including my own. There is something about walking out onto the frozen surface of a lake or pond that sparks a fire deep down inside. This fire is fueled by the sound of an auger chewing through the hard sparkling ice. Armed with a good set of Kahtoola MICROspikes on my boots and a warm IceArmor suit, I find myself hitting the frozen surface more and more every year. These trips are spread out on many bodies of water and in several different states. My key to all of these trips and to catching fish is to make myself as mobile as possible.
a man whose knowledge and experience surpasses anything I could hope to achieve. The fish’s major driving force for moving during this time of year is the search for food. If you can find the food source you will also locate the fish. One way to take advantage of this is to study the movement of fish and how it relates to different structure at different times during the day. Another way is to use mobility to stay on top of the fish. Mobility is important for the ice angler and there are several important items that will assist in the pursuit. Most anglers likely have most of what they need; the key is to use it to your best advantage.
Often I will see guys set up camp in one area and spend their day on these one or two holes and catch only a few fish. They may be satisfied with these odds, but I’m not. If anglers want to increase the odds of finding fish and staying on them, they have to remain mobile and able to move when the fish move. It is not uncommon for me to drill 40 holes in a matter of a couple hours while looking for fish, structure, weeds, or changes in the water depth. Those who do not move and search may miss out on a bite that can happen in small windows of time. Some people call this method “ice trolling,” which sums it up pretty nicely. There are a few things to keep in mind when employing this technique. It is rather simple, yet too many people tend to overlook the reasoning behind this moving. Fish are not creatures that will stay in one spot for very long. They are moving to find food, oxygen and cover. “Cover can be as simple as a small depression in the bottom that allows the fish to avoid predators that may swim right over the top of them,” says Ice Team Pro Dave Genz,
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ICE TEAM // TECHNIQUES
“The fish’s major driving force for moving during this time of year is the search for food. If you can find the food source you will also locate the fish.”
The first key for staying mobile is to pack light. There is no need for extra gear like tip-ups or minnow buckets if you are only targeting bluegills. Pare your gear down to the species that you are after. Genz also says to limit your rods to the species of fish you are in pursuit of. There is no need to carry every rod you have if you are only going to need a couple that will do the job for you. A great way to carry your rods and keep them out of harm’s way is in a good sturdy zippered case, such as the IceArmor case with a tough denier outside that is light enough to carry alone or in a sled. Speaking of sleds, this is a great tool that will allow you to remain mobile, yet have a way to carry gear, take a seat or take cover. A nice one-person, flip-over shelter such as the CLAM Kenai or a CLAM Scout works great for this application. The shelter allows you to get out of the wind if you need to or it allows you to block out the light on those high sky days. This often can mean the difference between active and inactive feeding fish. If you are using a sled or a small shelter, make sure you use one of the CLAM pulling harnesses or a long rope that you can put across your chest. This will allow you to use your body to pull the sled and leaves your arms free to drill holes or drop your Vexilar transducer into the holes as you move along the frozen surface. Keep your auger small. Stick with a 5-inch auger, as the amount of work to drill is directly related to the diameter of the auger. This size is plenty large to pull up a nice slab crappie yet small enough to use little effort when making multiple holes. In some of the more southern areas of the ice belt, where ice does not get as thick, a good hand auger is light and sufficient. An even better option is a portable drill attachment and a couple spare batteries. This will drill more than 100 holes without worry.
Every ice troller should carry a good flasher. Genz recommends a good quality flasher such as the Vexilar. Vexilar is top of the food chain when it comes to flashers and this is such a great tool to help you in your quest. This tool will help eliminate “dead” water and to allow you to locate fish and other structure. It only takes a few seconds to dip the transducer into a newly drilled hole to find out if you should make a move or sit tight for a bit. Genz had a very interesting point about fish and their habits during the winter. “Often, fish have wintering spots that you will find them holding all season,” he says. The key is to make big moves to find the fish. “Once you find the fish you can make small, subtle moves to stay on the fish,” Genz says. “You may end up starting with 10 holes in an area and when the bite dies then start drilling holes between your existing holes.” This will keep you on the fish. You can always backtrack as you follow the fish and hit the holes you have already drilled.” The use of electronics has grown leaps and bounds over the years and with today’s technology you can even incorporate a good, handheld GPS with mapping chips to allow you to follow the contours of the lake. These chips will allow you to plan your attack while you are on the move. Staying mobile is easy, yet very important. Keep it light and pare your gear down. Keep drilling until you find fish. After you find them, be ready to move again when they move. Trolling isn’t just for the open water anglers. Use this approach on the ice and you are sure to find the fish you are after. Keep it simple and keep in light and you are sure to have a great time on the ice.
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Over the years, Iâ€™ve become somewhat captivated with the productivity experienced when ice fishing river systems. Not necessarily river channels properâ€”while there certainly are opportunities to fish frozen river channels, due to continual, powerful current flows and ever changing conditions, these areas require just the right sets of conditions to freeze â€“ and even then, demand extreme caution and monitoring. Continued on Page 20
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EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR ICE FISHING IMPOUNDMENTS
Gently current swept backwater and setback areas, however, are more prone to ice formation, therefore easier to access and incredibly productive. I’ve found impoundments equally rewarding. While diverse in composition, impoundments offer immense potential. From the divergent deep water reservoirs extending from Colorado to Montana and north into Saskatchewan, across the productive Missouri River impoundments of the Dakotas and “pools” found along the Mississippi River throughout Minnesota and Iowa; to the somewhat comparably profiled, often stained water environments known as “flowages” in my home state of Wisconsin and the various impoundments stretching east from Michigan to Ontario and beyond, ice anglers are becoming increasingly aware how these incredible waters are capable of providing some truly astounding winter fishing opportunities! It really makes no difference whether you’re targeting a shallow Wisconsin flowage, mid-depth impoundment in New York or a deep reservoir in Wyoming. You’ll find many of these environments feature substantial carrying capacities, fast growth rates, quality multi-species fisheries comprised of perch, crappie, sauger, walleye, pike and catfish—or in the case of some deep, cold water reservoirs, even lake trout and salmon. Plus, thanks to the ever-present influence of water flow, these environments are often welloxygenated, meaning these fish tend to remain relatively active throughout the winter.
Still, you must evaluate every system on an individual basis. Each is inherently unique. Varying degrees of composition, hydrographic features, water chemistry, fisheries and associated interactions between these species and forage— plus the fact these waters are all subject to variable water level fluctuations, means productive patterns and fish movements will differ. On one end of the spectrum, shallow water flowages often feature a mix of hard and soft bottom regions, and due to the swampy, bog-like environments they often pass through, feature a harmless compound called tannic acid that stains the water varying degrees of rich brown tea. Primary structures include points and turns adjoining the main river channel, but wood covered flats, vegetated sloughs and backwaters are winter fish magnets as well. In contrast, western reservoirs are often expansive and may cover thousands of acres. Since they often encompass large river basins or steep mountain gorges, many feature deep, clear water. Some maintain cold enough temperatures to support cold water fisheries. Bottom contents are predominantly rock or sand; structure is largely comprised of points and associated turns lining the main river channel and networks of connecting tributaries and creek arms, each supplying a unique mix of fish holding features such as breaks around sunken islands, rock piles, flooded wood, roadbeds and building foundations. Given such size and diversity, these environments tend to intimidate many ice anglers. “I’ve seen that glassed over look when people first eye these expansive, frozen waterways,” says Dennis Foster, a South Dakota Missouri River System guide. “Many folks simply don’t know where to start!” When targeting any impoundment, begin by identifying the type of impoundment you’re fishing. Carefully study detailed hydrographic maps, looking for features described above, and once noted, mark those offering the greatest potential using your iFish Mobile App and GPS. “Break it down,” Foster suggests. “Identify the deeper, original main channel bed, then begin looking for spots where sharp turns form distinct main lake points, areas where the main channel borders steep, curving shorelines, shifts from one shoreline clear across to the other or buts up against otherwise featureless shoreline flats adjoining
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EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR ICE FISHING IMPOUNDMENTS
“Giant minnows dangling beneath tip-ups are perfect presentations because big fish can approach, then watch these baits reacting naturally before deciding to strike,”
channel straight-aways. I also like similar locations along secondary tributaries and creek arms – all comprise attractive stopping points along travel routes that consistently produce good mixed bag catches.” When fishing any impoundment, be ever mindful of your
These locations are particularly good when secondary cover such as rock piles or slides, flooded stumps, timber and man-made structures are present—these additions really help sweeten each spot. Likewise, subtle features on otherwise uniform flats can also be productive. Slight depth aberrations, patches of heavier cover or combinations of such characteristics may hold forage and attract roaming fish. Be mobile and keep an open mind!
environment and changing conditions. Since impoundments feature currents and fluctuating water levels, ice conditions vary greatly and caution is imperative. Always contact locals before setting out. Share your plans and intended routes so they can provide warnings regarding ice thickness, presence of pressure cracks, ice heaves, pack ice— and, perhaps most importantly, potentially changing conditions due to fluctuating water levels.
Timing is important, too, and Foster especially loves first ice. “The best action often corresponds with the Christmas holiday,” he shared, “beginning in back channels at first ice, then, as access allows, becomes better along deeper channels mid-season before reverting back to the shallows again late ice. However, provided the right combinations of structure, cover, and forage are available, you may find fish roaming open flats all winter.”
Remember, an increase in flow can cause ice to erode over submerged humps, around islands and emergent objects. Furthermore, shore ice can deteriorate rapidly. You may find the ice off your access point solid in the morning, but if waters rise throughout the day, flooded areas of open water may form between shore and the main lake ice pack, leaving you stranded. Waters may also recede, leaving unaware anglers walking over a fragile, suspended ice bridge with no water
While low light periods usually generate top feeding activity all winter long, action may occur throughout the day as migrating fish pass through--particularly on flowages, where stained water reduces light penetration, allowing even lightsensitive species like walleye to remain active, longer.
beneath to provide support. Be cautious!
Another significant advantage is that like rivers, impoundments seem somewhat resilient to weather changes. Provided you’re fishing primary structural features positioned along travel routes offering forage and stay mobile, you’ll likely intercept some active fish, regardless of the conditions. Still, depending what you want to catch, you’ll need to do your research, consider the local conditions and situation you’re facing in order to determine what waters and specific locations will offer the best potential.
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EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR ICE FISHING IMPOUNDMENTS
Using your maps and electronics, search for active fish: You’ll find the combination of electronic mapping and comprehensive data apps like the iFish mobile apps, GPS, sonar and underwater cameras really help make the process of locating fish and tracking patterns incredibly effective, easy to share, and more fun! Foster focuses his search on walleye, pike and catfish. He’s not shy about drilling plenty of holes in his search for them, either. Once found, he suggests positioning HT magnetic Polar Pop-Up tip-ups along sharp breaks, positioning twothirds of the set over deeper water and spreading the remaining third along the edges and top of the break. “You’ll literally be able to read fish movement through tip-up activity—with most shallow catches generally coming early and late in the day, and deeper lines featuring more midday activity.” Be sure to record patterns. Dennis also prefers big baits. “I rig nothing smaller than 5-7” chubs, this limits wasting time with smaller fish.” Foster feels these anchored, large presentations appeal more to fussier, well-fed impoundment fish. “Giant minnows dangling beneath tip-ups are perfect presentations because big fish can approach, then watch these baits reacting naturally before deciding to strike,” he said. “Since most active fish usually suspend along sharp breaks looking up, I set these baits high, and use flashy, colorful ‘smile’ blades for added attraction.”
Ultra light or light action combos, 2-4# mono and downsized versions of the above baits or small jigs are best for pan fish. On stained water flowages, glow, gold and copper are preferred colors, but always experiment, letting the fish reveal what’s working, and note patterns. Prefer walleyes or pike? “My go to game fish model is a 36”, medium action HT Sapphire Ice graphite, combined with 6-bearing Accu-Cast spinning reel spooled with 8-10#, no-stretch braid and a 24-36” leader of 17# fluorocarbon,” Foster revealed. “This system provides extreme presentation control and sensitivity for working walleyes, while minimizing bite-offs from unruly pike.” Just set your drag slightly looser than normal. Focus your efforts deeper during the day, and adjusting your speed to the conditions, work flashy jigging minnows, spoons, vibrating blades, tail spins or rattle baits tipped with minnow heads to call active fish and trigger reaction strikes.
Consider using dead-stick systems such as tip-downs and Ice Riggers, too. Glow circle hooks tipped with rosy reds are favored presentations, and are accounting for some great catches of pan fish like perch and crappies. Smaller minnows set on Ice Riggers provide an effective way to trigger fussy walleyes and pike, and as a bonus, you can land them with a rod and reel!
When fishing deep, cold water western reservoirs for rainbows, lake trout or salmon, you may need to go a bit heavier. Lake trout in these waters typically follow classic patterns, often holding near bottom in the greatest depths, so longer, medium–heavy to heavy powered rods like HT’s Laker Pro models combined with bait casting reels spooled with low stretch braids, and larger, heavier jigs and spoons that get down fast are good bets. Salmon and stocked trout such as rainbows are prone to suspending, so you’ll need to use your electronics and keep moving to find them, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
While monitoring these systems, try jigging. Aggressive jigging approaches appeal to the more active fish, so always have plenty of extra holes pre-drilled among your tip-ups for this purpose.
That said, there’s no reason to be intimidated by impoundments. Simply follow the aforementioned strategies, and you’ll find these waters provide plenty of exciting winter fish catching action!
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Improvements, Updates and What’s Yet to Come... Trending Topics :::
@JoeMacInSuds: “@iFishOntario I use it every week, getting ready for my fishing trip, best app I’ve ever bought. So much info thx guys #1 app!” @Kuch1: “@iFishSask Best fishing app on the market. Easy to navigate and has every bit of info needed for a successful day on the water. Worth it!!!”
We’ve taken over our social media with weekly trending topics. We frequent #TroutTuesday #WalleyeWednesday & #FishinFridays each week across our Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Much like a brag board for users, send in your photos through any of our social media’s & we will repost in accordance to the trends! And really, what’s better than bragging your catches? #AWESOME.
Most active lakes in Canada ::: Where’s everyone’s favorite fishing holes across Canada? These lakes have the most Views, HotSpots and Lake Feedbacks; making them the most active lakes in our iFish Series.
“This app is awesome!! Regulations,ice thickness reports,depth chart of almost any lake in Alberta,species of fish in each lake,I fish forum where you can interact with other anglers,so many features I cannot list them all!!!! I am a fishing fanatic and if you do not have this app I suggest you get it!!!” - Roland Garbutt; iFish Alberta User
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Angling guru Gord Pyzer has been known to vertically jig lipless crankbaits for hard water walleye noting that on flat featureless lakes, their vibrating sound draw fiercely aggressive walleye attacks. New for this year, Rapala has released the Ultra Light Ripping Rap with its distinctive loud BB rattle system. A giant sound but talk about tiny, at 1.5” in length and only 3/16 oz., its size is doable for puny perch to whopper walleyes. Available in 11 colors including a new Glow Yellow Perch pattern, add this dynamite little lure to your winter jigs and soft plastics. Visit www.rapala.ca.
Whether your ice fishing style is to bunker down over a hotspot for hours or to run-and-gun, your auger must have a powerful, smooth engine that fires up right away and drills clean holes. The new Polar Fire Power Augers come with 8” or 10” blades and is powered by a lightweight 37.7 cc, 4-stroke engine. Keep an eye on the fuel-efficient engine’s gas level with the see-through gas tank and keep your hands on the ergonomic, comfortable grip foam handles. Retailing at $450, the Polar Fire Power Auger was built for the performance you really need. Visit www.htent.com for more information.
When flurries of perch are biting you want your lure back down fast. Sufix’s Invisiline ICE Fluorocarbon sinks four times faster than monofilament line so you can get baits to biters quickly. Sufix is virtually invisible so you’ll remain stealthy around spooky fish and it’s also hydrophobic, meaning it repels water, minimizing line freeze unlike traditional fluorocarbon lines. When ice fishing you want the strength, abrasion resistance and sensitivity for finesse jigging applications that you will get from Sufix Invisiline ICE Fluorocarbon. For $5.99 a 50-yard spool, load your reels with 2- to 7-pound test this winter. Visit www.Rapala.ca.
The new MarCum PanCam system is a perfect gift to give the techy anglers that love the iFish Series of Apps. Control this underwater camera system via smartphone and the free PanCam Panner app, tablet or MarCum RT-9 tablet from up to 300 feet away. Rotate the camera 360 degrees and capture still images or videos to share with your social network instantly. Speaking of sharing, the PanCam system allows you to link your angling buddies to your PanCam feed or better yet, connect multiple cameras. Don’t wait for Santa to put the new MarCum PanCam system under the tree, get yours before ice hits. Visit www.Rapala.com or your local MarCum retailer today
Designed by truly serious ice anglers, for serious ice anglers The Polar Fire XT Deluxe Ice Fly Reel comes with serious features like oversized double handles and an elongated neck for easy handling and comfortable retrieves. Reel in your next personal-best with its smooth fourbearing drive system, 2:1 gear ratio that steers its lightweight yet durable aluminum frame and spool. Complete with a deluxe storage pouch for transportation, the Polar Fire XT Deluxe Ice Reel means serious business. To learn more visit: www.htent.com
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In the outdoors you are only as comfortable as your feet are and that’s tenfold when staring down the hole of your favourite frozen water hotspot. ThermaCELL’s Heated Insoles, and new ProFLEX models, combine warmth and technology to keep your feet and toes toasty in the most frigid temperatures. Adjust the heat of your fishing footwear with ThermaCELL’s wire-less remote and rechargeable battery. With their slim design, transfer ThermaCELL Insoles to practically any set of footwear you choose. The new ProFlex model comes with a USB charging kit and removable battery. Ringing ice fishing bells can keep you on your toes, at least now you’ll be able to feel them. Order yours today at http://heat.thermacell.com/
While most anglers keep their electronics tucked away, we have ours front-and-center during iFish App testing. When we needed to fit our iPad Air with device protection, naturally we chose Pelican ProGearTM Vault cases. Our thoughts, “If the military uses Pelican, the iFish Team uses Pelican”. The Pelican ProGear™ Vault Case for iPad Air (CE2180) locks your tablet into its water resistant, impact absorbing, Elastomeric Copolymer rubber lined interior. By fully rotating the cover, we were able to stand our iPad Air at multiple angles for adding Hotspot markers. The Optical Dragontail™ glass protected the camera lens when taking photos for the iFish Catch Log. For more information about Pelican mobile device cases visit: http://www.pelicanprogear.ca/mobile_protection.php
8 Ice Wolfe Series
When ice fishing for panfish, grab the gear designed by worldclass pro Eric Wolfe and Beam Outdoors. The Fire On ice fishing combo features Beam Outdoors’ patented LED lighted handle, ‘Quick Change’ changeable solid carbon fiber rod blank system and hinged hook keeper. The reel comes with a 2+1 stainless ball bearing system, a fine-tuned drag system and left/right hand-retrieve. The Fire On Ice combo also comes with an adjustable spring bobber for light biting action from perch and crappies. The iFish Team are big fans of this combo and look forward to many hours of testing this year. Check out the Fire On Ice at www.beamoutdoors.com.
Made to protect two rods up to 42”, the Polar Fire Xtreme Deluxe Ice Rod case features a 3.5” hard tube lining typical with fly rod cases. Toss your gear into truck beds or sleds and trust your rod tips and guides will remain intact. Keep your tackle and spare spools of line in the two outside zipped accessory storage pouches and go hands free with the shoulder strap that is removable for off-season storage. This simply impressive rod case won’t break the bank either at $39.99. Visit www.htent.com for retailer locations.
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Story by Jason Mitchell
When you watch fish on an underwater camera, you can usually tell if that fish is going to eat by how the fish is postured. Walleyes in attack mode typically have their fins up and back arched. All fish, including bluegills and crappies, have a posture that means business. The fish are cruising and alert. There are often key windows through the day where you get this activity. Understanding posture and what triggers fish to move should play a major role in your ice fishing strategy as an angler. If located, well-postured fish make us look good as anglers. On the flip side, the fish that are not cruising and have their fins tucked tight to their bodies are much more difficult to catch. Every once in a while I have observed mass migrations of fish
moved at the speed of a slow walk with tucked in fins. These fish appeared to be traveling from point A to point B and were triggered by nothing. It felt like I was fishing with invisible bait, no matter what I tried. Then, out of the hundreds of fish that swam through, one fish came by with a different more alert body posture and struck the lure. So there are times when moving fish are not aggressive fish and I can only guess that some environmental trigger causes fish to make a big move where they just donâ€™t stop to eat. Most of the time, however, cruising fish are alert and ready to eat. This is why a Vexilar is so crucial to success on the ice. No other electronics give you the intimacy of raw analog signal that lets you visualize the posture of the fish. Typically, there are windows of activity that often center on sunrise and sunset where fish just roam more with that aggressive posture. Now consider this: fish that are moving are much easier to catch with much less effort. If you are set up in the
iFish Magazine : : : 32
FISH POSTURE AND STRATEGY
right traffic pattern, the fish will come to you. Just as important, after you catch a few fish from a school, a new school swims in to replace the fish that swam off. Take walleye fishing during the prime time, which is sunrise and sunset on so many lakes, at that period of time, you can set up on a good spot and fish will move through. After that period is over, fish quit roaming and no new fish will come in. The same thing can happen with bluegills, where fish stray away from weeds and roam through edges and troughs. As the sun gets higher, they quit cruising and start to tuck into the weeds. During the prime windows, you can find fish much more easily. You can cover a lot more water just because you don’t have to drill so many holes for inspection. Pick any spot and pick out the key locations on that spot. You only need to drill a few holes to see if anybody is home. When I am looking for walleyes during the early morning or evening hours, I can drill a handful of holes on the prime inside turns, fingers and the top of the structure and know in short order if there are fish around. My mind-set is to make big moves and check as many spots as possible during that window. I don’t move five yards at a time or drill holes all over the place. Surgically check the prime locations and jig aggressively to pull fish in. Remember this: big moves find fish and small moves catch fish. When you find fish by sampling as many spots as possible, you are going to typically catch fish during the prime windows by sitting on the key spots and fishing the moving traffic. Once this ends, you have to fish a spot through. Now is the time to shred up the ice with a lot of holes. Drilling a lot of holes through an area at this time accomplishes a few things. You can hop around and put a lure near a fish that is no longer cruising. If the fish doesn’t come to you, you have to go to the fish. What also happens is that the activity will often move fish just enough to create some action. Again, don’t disrupt the flow during the prime windows by drilling a lot of holes, either drill your holes ahead of time or drill a few holes precisely. When the sun gets high however and the activity slows down, you can often pick up a lot more fish by making a lot of small moves and fishing a spot through. Typically, you catch a fish here and there.
Remember this: big moves find fish and small moves catch fish.
many people expect. What I have found is that they often just quit cruising but stay at same depth. Don’t start out sliding deeper; drill more holes through the depth and zone that you caught fish during the prime time as a starting point. After you fish this zone through, you may start to slide out and down. Another assumption many anglers make is that inactive fish need a very passive presentation. I have found that jigging aggressively often turns fish around. Passive presentations may work, don’t get me wrong. My go-to way for catching walleyes during the day is to downsize to really small lures. But what so often happens is that you can drop down right next to a fish and the fish is pointed the wrong direction where the lure is not in front of the fish. When you really pound that lure hard above the fish, you can often get the fish to move and turn enough where they can then see the lure. That is why pounding and lifting works so well when fish drift off your presentation. So often at that point, you are behind the fish where they can’t see you and the only way to turn that fish around is through vibration. Understanding fish posture, windows of activity and having some strategy in how you fish a spot through as the day wears on can really improve how many fish you catch. This mentality and strategy is widely universal applying to many different species of fish on a wide variety of water.
What often surprises me is that walleyes, in particular, often don’t slide down into deeper water and become inactive like
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Whatever day of the week it is, we have a hashtag for that! Except the weekends; those are strictly for fishing! Over the past few months we’ve been collecting user-submitted photos across Canada & the USA each day through our various social media accounts. We re-post & re-tweet submissions, so if you would like to join in on the fun send in your photos through any of our Twitter or Facebook accounts! Here’s some of our favorites...
Saskatchewan – Huge catch on the South Saskatchewan River
Saskatchewan – 16lbs 8oz Pike on Mission Lake
Submitted by Facebook User Ryan Fodchuck
Submitted by Facebook User Lee Dolha
(1) Ontario – A 7lb lake trout in Haliburton, ON Submitted by Facebook User Justin Vliek
(2) Ontario – Another huge snag in Ontario Submitted by Facebook User Paul Cesario
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Alberta – Submitted by Twitter User @sylvanspinner Saskatchewan – Why not brag about 2 catches?! Submitted by Twitter User @KevKingFishing
(1) Alberta – Fishing with the family over 20 years ago
(2) USA – Tom Gruenwald fishin’ for crappie in the early ‘90s.
(1) (1) USA – Submitted by Twitter User @Patrick02364778
(2) British Columbia – Caught at Kalmalka Lake Submitted by Facebook User Doyle Hanson
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Get the most out of your ice fishing season with the latest edition of the iFish Magazine.