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250 XD 450 XD 650 XD 850 XD

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Welcome to the
We are thrilled to bring you North Dakota’s Largest Ice Fishing Show! The goal of this show is to
bring the best in ice fishing to North Dakota and the Red River Valley.

We are very excited to present this year’s lineup of retailers, vendors, manufacturers, seminar
speakers and events. With 90+ vendors, over 20 resorts and guides, custom painters, custom rod
builders, wheelhouses and more, you will find this to be our most exciting show yet!

We believe North Dakota and northern Minnesota boast some of the most passionate ice anglers in
the entire world, and we are honored to have you at our show.

Here are some new and fun things you should be sure to check out while at the 2022 show:

» New Products
2022 has been an exciting year for many of the manufacturers at the show. New augers,
shelters, electronics, suits, rods, reels and tackle. This is sure to be an exciting year for
new products!

» Lake of the Woods Brewing Company Beer & Spirits Tasting Room
Make sure you stop by the tasting area to sample the wide array of offerings from Lake of
the Woods Brewery. Samplings will be going on throughout the weekend and will also be
available for sale throughout the arena.

» Custom Rod Builders

We have 9 custom rod builders represented at the show. This is a great chance to check
them all out and treat yourself to a custom rod that was built just for you.

» Guides & Resorts

Stop and talk to one of over 20 guides and resorts represented at the show and book your
trip of a lifetime. Any one of these vendors have the potential to put you on that elusive
30-inch walleye.

» Indoor Hard Sided Shelter Display

Stop by and check out all of the luxury ice houses on the display in the adjoining Farmers
Union Insurance Center Arena. This entire arena is dedicated to the hardhouse life. Stop
by Sunday to see the KFGO/Busch Light Ice Castle Giveaway, drawn live!

Thank you to all the sponsors, vendors and guests that help make this show a success. We look
forward to bringing you the biggest and best Ice Fishing Show in North Dakota for years to come!

The Fargo Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show Team


FRIDAY: 12 pm - 7:30 pm
SATURDAY: 10 am - 7 pm
SUNDAY: 10 am - 4 pm

DEC 9-11, 2022 KIDS 12 & UNDER: FREE

Thank you to our sponsors

Family Outdoor Outfitters


13 Fishing..............................20-21 LOW Brewing Company –
2b/Elliott Rods.......................57-58 Tasting Area....................182-183
Adventure RV......................... 5-Apr LOW Coffee Company............... 148
American Hero Outdoors TV...... 149 LOW Distillery –
Amped Outdoors....................34-35 Tasting Area....................184-185
Aqua-Vu...................................... 13 Mad Duck Rods..................132-133
Arctic Anchor............................ 146 Mags Custom Rods................38-39
Blackfish............................109-114 MarCum.................................63-64
Blackwoods Blizzard Tour......... 134 Mattracks..........................122-130
Bobber Buddy........................... 142 MidWest Outdoors.................... 152
Border View Lodge.................... 177 Minnow Hopper.......................... 67
Brainerd Jaycees...................... 179 Muscatell Adventures/ UP

Clam. 49-53, 68-72,81-85,100-104 Ambush Ice Houses........136-138

CNZ Guide Service.................... 158 NAIFC........................................ 157
Cold Snap................................... 37 Norsk.....................................14-15 1 2
Cutco Knives............................. 190 Nothern Lights.......................... 156 Fish
Dakota Cat.................................... 3 Otter........................... 24-27, 59-62
Dakota Lithium..................192-193 Outlet Recreation.......................... 7 Shop
Dakota Sunset Resort............... 180 Panfish Pirate....................140-141 201
Della Bay Custom Rods............ 168 PK Lures................................16-17
Eskimo Ice Fishing Gear 47-48, Productive Alternatives............. 187
73-74, 77-80, 105-108 Rainy River Resort.................... 177 Seminar 3
Eskimo Ice Fishing Gear – Rapala......................................... 18 Stage
Clothing Shop............................ 8 Reeds............................................ 9
FIN Gear...................................... 22
Frostbite...........Fish Frostbite Shop
RLVNT Sunglasses.............196-197
Seasons Tackle..................165-166
4 5
Garmin........................86-87, 98-99 Silencer Central.................169-170
Glacial Lakes Snowbear........28-30 Sportsmans Lodge.................... 177 123
Gull Harbour Resort...........159-160 Stick It!..................................... 175 202 121
Hardwater Life.......................... 199 StrikeMaster............................... 19
203 119
Hometown Hero Outdoors........ 164 Striker Ice..............................54-56
Hot Hole.................................... 181 Sullivan Tip Down....................... 65 117
Howes Guide Service................ 157 Sure Step.................................. 139 6 7 115
I29 Snowbear....................115-120 Sven’s Sleeve............................. 66
Ice Fishing Minnesota............... 147 Tamarack Lodge....................... 167
Ice Force..................................... 18 Team Lodge.................................. 2
Ice Runner/KMDA..............161-163 Thorne Bros. .........................88-97 10
Icebound Excursions.............31-32 Throne Bros. Custom Rods......... 33
Ignite Chiro............................... 186 Timbersled.........................136-138
ION Ice Augers............45-46, 75-76 Ultimate Recreation...................... 1
Iron Range Custom Rods.......... 188 UnderCover Guide..................... 191 UP

Jacks Tackle............................. 173 Venom Tackle.............................. 12

JR’s Tackle.............................40-42 Vexan.................................194-195
JT Outdoor Products..............43-44 Vexilar...................................11-Oct
Lake Country Guide Services.... 198 Wheelers Point Resort................ 17
Lakeroad Lodge........................ 174 Wheelhouse Warriors................ 151
Lakewood Products...........143-144 Widow Maker Tackle................. 131
Leaf Filter Gutter Protection..... 145 Wohlly’s Ice Rod Hangers........... 36
Linealarm.................................. 135 Women Anglers of Minnesota... 153
Lakes at Dunvilla...................... 171


187 186 185 184 183 182 181 180



& Spirits


Sampling Area



196 45 76 77 108 174

197 46 75 78 107 173
198 10 47 74 79 106 44 172
11 48 73 80 105 43
199 12 49 72 81 104 42

13 50 71 82 103 41 171 170

14 51 70 83 102 40 169

15 52 69 84 101 39 168



16 53 68 85 100 38 167
124 126 128 130 17 54 67 86 99 37 166
122 125 127 129 18 55 66 87 98 36 164 165

120 19 56 65 88 97 35
7 118 20 57 64 89 96 34

5 116 132 21 58 63 90 95 33

3 114 133 135 22 59 62 91 94

11 112 134 23 60 61 92 93 32

09 110 24 31
25 30
26 27 28 29











4 161

145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154


Easy-Peasy Perch
by Brian ‘Bro’ Brosdahl With the lack of predator
fish, jumbo perch flourish to
Ice fishing has started become the chief predators
and there are many choices of the water they inhabit.
on what to fish for or where Some shallow waters are rife
to go at first ice. For some with freshwater shrimp, or
anglers, the decision is an insect biomass, and grow
already made based on a true jumbo perch that reach
family cabin or traditional a foot in length, or larger.
starting lake that they fish Large bodies of water known
every ice season. I have as jumbo perch producers
friends who fish Upper Red may have shallow areas
Lake for walleyes as soon as that are frozen and safe that
the ice is safe by foot, and many anglers drive past once
others who chase crappies on the main lakes are frozen.
other small, hidden gems. This early-ice shallow water
I like to target jumbo bite is a continuation of
perch at first ice as there’s the ramped-up fall bite that
usually a great perch bite anglers enjoyed just weeks
close to some shoreline earlier.
access point. A safe idea Sloughs in the Devils
for early ice is to target a Lake, North Dakota area;
species that dwells where bays of Leech Lake,
the ice forms early because Minnesota; and canals
the water is shallow; for off the Bays De Noc in
example, small bays off the the Upper Peninsula of
main lake, boat harbors, Michigan, and in Saginaw
channels and emergent weed Bay and Lake St. Clair,
areas. These are likely areas Michigan, are famous
to freeze while traditional examples of early-ice jumbo
deep walleye and panfish perch destinations. In the
areas are still open water or canals, anglers don’t have
have thin ice. to set foot on ice to ice-fish;
There are many small just drill a hole next to the
sloughs or shallow bays off dock. Many anglers will
large lakes in Minnesota, target smaller bodies of
Wisconsin and the Dakotas water off the beaten path and
that are populated with never see another angler as
jumbo perch. These areas typically freeze much earlier than they ply the waters for jumbo perch.
other lakes. Many do not receive heavy early-ice-fishing pressure I like to spoon-feed jumbo perch using a Bro Bug Spoon with
because they may not have large populations of walleyes or panfish. maggots or a minnow head as a search bait on one rod, spooled with
There are many bodies of water that hold perch as the main fish 3- to 4-pound fluoro ice line. On a second rod, I have a tungsten jig
population, plus a few pike and bass. dressed with three or four maggots or two waxworms. A Micro V
Gap Hook with a lively crappie minnow and split shot on a dead
stick rod adds fish to the catch rate.
Give spoon a two-foot sweep with the rod tip, followed by
Call today to a pause, and one or two movements multiple times before you
book your stay! sweep the rod tip again. This will cause a flash followed by a
twitchy motion which should draw in jumbo perch from a distance,
triggering an aggressive bite. The jigging variations allow you to
• Ice fishing packages interpret what the fish wants. If they hit on the sweep, keep on
• Day house rentals Booth sweeping or persist with the twitching motion.
• Sleeper house rental #174 With the jig, a steady shake should create a bite, because active
• Charter fishing freshwater shrimp dart in short movements and pauses similar to
those of other insects that dwell in the lake. In dark-water lakes, fish
• Community cooking facility
will detect the clumsy movements with their lateral line, so keep
The motel that knows fishing! twitching. Perch are visual feeders but do not have the best eyesight;
one remedy is to fish halfway down the water column, so if you are
in 10 feet, fish 5 feet down and slowly work your way to the bottom.
218-634-2336 • This will help jumbo perch key in on your presentation’s silhouette.


Drilling smaller holes will up your catch
rate with less light penetration and overall
disturbance. I use a 5-inch auger on a lithium
power drill; it’s as easy to drill as walking on
the ice. Light, efficient and less effort means
you will drill more holes.
I start out drilling in a zig-zag pattern
around a chosen area and find-tune holes as I
need, being careful about not over-drilling and
spooking fish out of the area.
Using my fish finder, I locate potential
areas to drill. Using my LakeMaster maps on
the GPS function will allow me to see fish in
the distance by slowly turning the transducer
on a rod extended down the hole. Once I spot
fish siting still or swimming, I walk over and
drill a hole right above the fish.
Now that I have located the jumbo
perch, it’s time to fish. I pull the cord off my
underwater camera and dropping the camera
lens down the hole, stopping 3 to 4 feet above
the fish. I watch the behavior of the fish and
how they react to the spoon. I watch perch
strike the spoon and set the hook without even
looking at the rod tip. I have learned a lot
about perch behavior and ways to trigger them
by watching fish on the underwater cameras.
The author with a couple of
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE early-ice football perch.

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Pack light, as some locations do not have traditional access.
Some good fishing spots require climbing down hills or climbing
over downed trees. The better fishing spots are usually more
difficult to get to. Easy-access fishing spots are pressured areas,
and the chances of catching jumbo perch are less, as jumbo perch
are aggressive and easily caught. Did I mention that jumbo perch
are delicious to eat? Absolutely!
Early ice is all about packing light, and as part of my arsenal, I
use a one-man fish house. Inside, I can fit my electronics, tackle,
rod combos, bucket and ice safety equipment, to pull on the ice
behind me. This one-man house is a perfect sled for walking out on
foot. In a well-insulated portable fish house, I rarely use a heater
during first ice. I do fish out on the ice quite often, but if the wind
picks up, it’s great to have a one-man flip-over portable fish house.
The auger is all that I carry because I am drilling holes on my
way out. I have a rope around my waist that runs hands-free to my
portable fish house. It’s all about drilling holes as I am pulling my
fish house across the ice. Ice cleats are a must; many concussions
and broken ribs happen at early ice, but those are easily prevented
by wearing cleats. Anglers know to wear ice picks around their neck
for easily accessible and good insurance should they happen to fall
through thin ice.
As far as fishing attire, when I am running and gunning
early ice, I wear my bibs and hooded sweatshirt, and my coat is
tucked inside the fish house. If you overheat, you’ll sweat, and
the moisture lets the cold in. I wear insulated and waterproof
lightweight gloves, so you don’t even realize you have gloves on. I
pack my heavier gloves for the sub-zero days.
Ealy ice is an exciting time of year, and there nothing like
fishing and standing on hard water. There are many species of fish
to chase; however, jumbo perch are tops when many other anglers Another Bro Bug Spoon jumbo perch.
are walleye-bound! n


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Throw ropes offer peace of mind
and tuck away in the bottom of
your sled or flip-over shelter.

Early ice is a coveted time of

the year for ice anglers. The
author outlines some safety
equipment that could save
your life, including float suits.

Early-Ice Safety
Floating ice picks can be worn
around your neck and enable you
to pull yourself out of the ice if
the worst should happen.

by Jason Mitchell Accidents can happen to the most seasoned ice anglers. An accident
can happen simply by walking back to shore at lowlight and having
Early ice is a coveted time for ice anglers. They have been fog move in where you get disorientated.
waiting to get out on the ice and are excited for a new season to You have a lake map app on your phone, you argue. Well,
begin. imagine your phone is dead from scrolling on social media all day.
Early ice is also often some of the very best fishing of the winter. An accident can happen by simply driving fast with an ATV across
Combine the good fishing with the excitement of getting out on the the ice to get home, and in the headlights appears a new pressure
ice and invariably, some ice anglers will push their luck. We have ridge that didn’t exist four hours earlier. We have been on some
seen a trend over the past few years driven by social media where reservoirs where freak methane gas pockets open and create round
some anglers almost seem make getting out onto questionable ice pools of thin ice, and these methane gas pockets change from year
some sort of contest. A show of bravado, if you will, on who can to year.
step foot onto the ice first and post some fish pictures onto their Of course, many extremely dangerous situations can be
Instagram account. This desire for attention can sometimes prove predictable. Moving water is always bad. That moving water might
deadly and dangerous. We all want to learn about where and how to be a culvert under a submerged road or a bridge causeway. It could
catch more fish, but with so many young and new anglers entering be an incoming stream or bottleneck between islands.
the ice fishing community, let’s start out with how to be safe on the Basic ice thickness safety charts show the recommended ice
ice. thickness for certain activities. Three inches of good ice is generally
There is a saying that no ice is safe. The implication is to simply recommended for walking out on the ice. Five to six inches of good
keep your guard up and never assume too much. The reality is ice is generally recommended for snowmobiles and small ATVs.
that some ice is safe. We just can’t assume. The reality also is that Twelve inches of good ice is recommended for vehicles. What isn’t
conditions can change. Sometimes, this change is unpredictable. mentioned is that these are minimum suggestions and that there is


no room for error. Three inches of good ice will support foot traffic, if we can get on the ice. Nobody has touched or harassed these fish
but when you encounter an inch of ice because an acre of lake was for a few weeks or months. The fish are just waiting for us. I get the
kept open three weeks longer by a few hundred Canada geese… desire. We also must be responsible and safe as well.
problems can arise. There is an old saying that the fish will be waiting for us when
No question, one of the most important tools to have on early ice we get there. The fish aren’t going anywhere. Make sure you are
is a spud bar. A spud bar is simply a long heavy pole with a chipper diligent on safety and don’t assume too much. Check and test the
blade on one end. A spud bar allows you to continually check the ice so you know firsthand. Have the proper safety equipment so
hardness and thickness of the ice. One good hard whack on the ice that if the worst ever happens, you have the equipment that can save
with a spud bar will usually chip at least an inch of ice. If water your life, or the life of somebody else. Accidents can and do happen
starts to come up from where you chipped with one strike, you need —even if you are really experienced, accidents can happen.
to back up. If you see water after two hard whacks in the same spot,
you are typically dealing with three inches of ice.
You can also tell if the ice is hard or soft with a spud bar.
Usually at early ice, the ice is good, but warm spells, rain and snow
can deteriorate the quality of the ice, even at early ice. Good ice
will chip where poor ice will be mushier. If you are the first angler
on the ice and you need to pick your way across it, that could be
questionable. You absolutely need a spud bar.
Other necessary tools include ice safety equipment should the
worst happen. It has been over 25 years since I have fallen through
the ice but, I cannot begin to explain how terrifying it can be. What
also doesn’t get said is how exhausting the whole process is. Simply
pulling yourself out of the ice took everything I had, and I was in
the best shape of my life. Safety equipment is even more important
if you fish alone.
Float suits are available, very affordable and offer peace of
mind. Suits that have flotation like the Ice Armor Rise Float Suit
simply buy you a lot more time.
Other safety items I like are ice picks you can wear around your
neck. Ice picks are simply used to pull yourself out of the ice—a
task that can be extremely difficult if you are trying to pull yourself
out with just your fingernails. If you don’t have ice picks, at least
put a Phillips screwdriver in your pocket, or have something you
can use to poke into the ice and pull yourself up with. Another tool
to have in your sled is a simple rope. Clam makes an emergency
throw rope that is a slick, self-contained throwable rope for
emergency purposes. If nothing else, have a 50-foot rope and a boat
cushion that you can tie to the rope in case of an emergency.
Ice cleats should be part of every ice angler’s equipment list
as well. Ice cleats won’t help you if you fall through the ice, and
probably won’t prevent you from falling through the ice, but early
ice is often very smooth and slippery. The reality is that you are Ice Team Pro Scott Seibert with a great early-ice crappie. With first-ice safety, don’t
more likely to slip and split your head open than fall through the assume, and be diligent on checking ice.
ice. Some boots, like the Korkers Polar Vortex, have interchangeable
soles with cleats built right into the sole. My favorite cleats, People do like to throw out the phrase that no ice is safe. That is
however, are the BOA cleats that can fit over any boot and are more a disclaimer to avoid any kind of responsibility. The reality is that
aggressive. If you must walk across the ice, especially early ice…do some ice is perfectly safe, and some ice is very dangerous. Know
yourself a favor and get a good pair of cleats. the difference between the two and respect the ice enough to never
Early ice is often a slimmed-down affair where we basically assume. Be scared enough of the ice so that you have that respect.
drag out the bare minimum of equipment. I often use a small plastic Drilling one hole at the boat ramp to find 12 inches of ice and then
sled or a one-man flip-over shelter for dragging my gear. If you proceeding to drive a full-size pickup all over the lake is not being
don’t need something, leave it at home. Must-have items include a scared enough to respect the ice. Driving a UTV out on the lake just
small tackle box, a few rods, perhaps a five-gallon bucket and your because you see somebody else on the lake with an ATV, and never
flasher—only the essentials. I often use a hand auger or a K-Drill to checking the ice until you get to your fishing spot, is not respecting
cut down on weight. the ice.
One small modification that I like to do with my sleds and Fish Last thought: Pressure ridges or ice heaves get more vehicles
Traps for dragging on foot is to put eye bolts into the tub or sled. I than anything else. Do your due diligence around ice heaves. Never
then use a longer tow rope with clasps on the end so I can remove slow down over them, stop on them or drive parallel. Check them
the rope if needed. If you are hoofing it out on foot to your favorite with your auger and spud bar. Fresh ice heaves are dangerous. Stop
fishing spots and you must walk any distance, add more length to well beforehand, get out and check them. Don’t assume. If you can
your tow rope. I like to use at least 15 feet of rope where I can drape see water or fresh cracks, that is an accident waiting to happen.
the rope over my shoulder. The good news is that ice fishing is an extremely safe activity if
I fully understand the allure of early ice and can’t wait to get on you use common sense and respect the ice. Don’t get complacent if
the ice myself. Early ice is simply a magical time. We are excited you are experienced and be diligent if you are inexperienced. Good
to get back on the ice. We know the fishing will probably be good luck this winter. n



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M o de r n Ice A n g l i n g :
The ‘Short’ and ‘Long’ of It
by Tom Gruenwald
I have always been excited about new technologies and the
unique benefits each may offer.
Progressive development, especially within the rapidly
expanding area of electronics, continues producing obvious
advantages. Consider GPS, GPS-integrated electronic mapping,
live imaging sonar and underwater cameras. Given the capacity
to access electronic charts outlining desired features, then
superimpose upon them tightly contoured, satellite-driven electronic
overlays that can be updated to manipulate that data and add detail
with pinpoint coordinated accuracy, nearly anyone can efficiently
identify locations likely to attract their target species.
Moving into these desired locations with minimal disturbance,
precision-cut holes can be strategically sliced with quieter, highly
efficient, electric-powered augers. Lower live imaging style sonar
High-definition underwater cameras reveal bottom content, cover types, forage and fish to obtain detailed scanned coverage of wide expanses of water
species present, water temperature and degrees of light penetration, all while providing in identifiable directions for measurable distances—not only
opportunities to closely monitor fish behavior and response. Here, a camera has been downward as with traditional sonar, but upwards and multiple
hooked up to a larger screen for exceptional viewing. angles sideways. This allows us to accurately decipher the presence
of fish and their exact position.

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‘The fish are over that way.’ Photo: Garmin, Ltd.

High-definition underwater cameras reveal in full-color- Situations

detail the types of structure, bottom content, cover, forage and All these commanding tools can be implemented in virtually
fish species present with startling clarity. Plus provide additional every ice fishing situation imaginable, from those the seemingly
information about light penetration and water temperature. They smallest and most simplistic aquatic systems, to the largest and
allow quick arrangement of our sets to maximize the effectiveness most complex.
of our presentations and down detailed presentation patterns more You may not need GPS or electronic mapping when approaching
efficiently. a pond or small lake, but live imaging sonar can be used to
Sure, just because we locate fish accurately locate fish with minimal
does not mean they will cooperate. effort.
And even when select individual Depending on the size of the
fish do, others may nstinctively target water, simply drilling a
become wary or spooked, upping hole off the edge of a primary or
the challenge. secondary drop off, then sending a
Still other advantages come side scan back toward shore, will
into our favor, including lighter provide a complete view of the
and warmer clothing, lightweight entire water column, top to bottom,
portable ice shelters and luxurious to a range of approximately 100
thermostatically controlled feet. Positioning a hole 100 feet
wheelhouses—even mention from shore, then scanning back
motorized vehicles we can use toward it, you’ll not only see any
to search and fish from without fish holding between you and shore
even stepping onto the ice. Each but determine exactly how far away
in its own unique manner allows and how high off bottom they are
us to fish much more efficiently positioned. Measure or pace off
and comfortably, with better that distance atop the ice, and you
concentration, for longer periods of will find yourself standing directly
time. GPS-integrated electronic charts provide powerful advantages when assessing above them.
This entire process can be potential fish-attracting locations and identifying patterns. Turning the transducer in any
accomplished with smoother-   direction provides similar scans.
operating, more sensitive, precision- Rotated to matching degrees and
style tip-ups, tip-downs, rods, reels and ever-evolving specialty pieced together, the compilation will reveal a full 360-degree
lines, leaders, lures, hooks and rigging innovations. view; on a small pond, it might conceivably encompass a complete


underwater picture of the entire setting, enabling you to find and
position over fish with amazing precision. Then you can use one of
today’s greatly improved traditional sonar units or an underwater

camera to fine-tune your presentation.
Pretty compelling stuff.
Larger systems provide a more formidable challenge. But by
dividing these expansive, complex waters into segments, then
breaking each into manageable sections to highlight areas of
interest, modern electronic advantages magnify specific features
and contours. The results are nothing short of miraculous.
Again, using technologies combining GPS and sonar with
electronic charts featuring tight contours and satellite overlay,
detailed 3-D displays can be compiled to highlight select contours,
outline and shade them along multiple structures or specific
portions thereof. If you are on the water before the ice forms, you
can even run sonar transects to refresh these downloaded charts
using data collected from your own personal scans. Once on the ice,
you can realign those contours to compensate for rising or receding
waters or zoom in to pinpoint key micro-structure and detailing the
spots on the spots, so to speak.
From here, you can note and label specific targets and create
travel routes between them to efficiently outline and plan your Our New UV Enhanced
strategies. Then, applying the approach outlined above for smaller
systems, and identify the exact position and depth fish are holding
before strategically cutting holes and evaluating their responses
to various presentations. In essence, in a matter of hours, you can
efficiently piece together patterns that may in the past have taken
are sure to
years to decipher.
Talk about powerful!
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Establishing patterns in record time unprecedented possibilities and heightened levels of responsibility
The combination of these integrated technologies not only that accompany them.
allows us to travel directly to precise locations, but by simply Being able to find and track fish like a thermal-imaging-loaded
viewing a screen, detect detailed elements and subtleties, including drone scanning for a missing person within dark woods at night;
specific bottom contents and transitions, forms and variations of using a greater variety of carefully selected presentations; and the
cover, right down to identifying the specific type, height and density ability to meticulously monitor fish reactions to each may have
of that cover; and when evaluating vegetation, even its condition monumental consequences. Not just through potential overharvest
and health—with live green weeds being an asset, and dead, brown of the target species, but ramifications affecting the ecological
ones a liability. Taking a closer look using advanced zoom and balance and health of the waters we’re fishing.
lighting features, it is even possible to detect pockets and determine The extent of information today’s ice anglers now possess is
intricate labyrinths of paths amid that cover. becoming increasingly potent. Placed in knowledgeable hands
This provides remarkably detailed evaluations resulting in and utilized to their fullest capacity, it affords a historically
amazing, comprehensive displays of locations where identifiable unprecedented edge.
forage and particular species of fish are holding; how they are inter- Do not underestimate this potency. We must realize the full
relating, associating to a variety of parameters; and how they’re impact of these capabilities.
responding to our presentations—in record time. The data we are compiling may significantly increase our
In other words, incredibly elaborate patterns become clearer, personal catches. Additionally, it may document sound evidence
faster. And when we can make these assessments in advance to supporting suggestions or conceptions regarding management
close in on fish faster, and more discreetly from further away practices on our favorite systems going forward. It is information
using quieter, more concealed approaches, we can use this precise we can share with management professionals to be used to further
positioning to intricately monitor fish reactions and responses. We the fisheries we so value. Contributing such information may help
are not only more likely to experience improved success, but by perpetuate, strengthen and produce even better, more exciting and
broadening our general knowledge, also expand our options and rewarding ice angling experiences in the future!
make pattern determinations in the future. In short, these impressive technologies and the assets they offer
not only allow us to capitalize on amazing advantages allowing us
For the future to increase our own current short-term successes, but conceivably
These increasingly sophisticated technologies provide improve long-term ones that benefit our fisheries, providing
compelling advantages for ice anglers. My recent successes have improved opportunities for future generations.
left me considering not only their significant benefits, but the And that, you might say, is the short and long of it. n



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Are Your Dead Sticks Dialed to
Ice More Walleyes?
by Joe Henry Raise it up
After dozens of hours watching fish react to my presentations
It’s called the “one-two punch” when ice fishing: Jigging one on my Vexilar, there have been numerous times I would set my rod
line and dead sticking or basically suspending a live minnow under down to grab something, oftentimes with my lure hanging three
a bobber on the other. The idea is that the jigging line attracts feet off the bottom. Many times, I would watch a red line rise
walleyes, and if they are somewhat active, there is a good chance slowly off of the bottom to eat my suspended offering. Walleyes
they will whack whatever is being jigged. In some cases, when are used to feeding up or even sliding up in the water column to
walleyes turn to more of a neutral mood, the dead stick can be the catch minnows. Sometimes, it can be very effective, and almost
hottest stick in the fish house. Success with a dead stick isn’t just triggering, to have your live minnow on your dead stick set higher
about hanging a live minnow under a bobber. By really paying up in the water column, vs. the 6 inches to a foot off which is a
attention and dialing in some nuances, a dead stick can be your normal starting spot for many anglers.
liveliest stick.
Traditional dead stick Color absolutely makes a difference and can change from hour
The most common setup is a plain hook or an ice jig with to hour based on snow cover, cloud cover and the angle of the sun.
a minnow hooked just under the dorsal fin, suspended under a When you are fishing with another angler, try different colors until
bobber set at about a foot off the bottom. This setup catches a lot you figure out what the walleyes want that day. The slightest details,
of walleyes, but when the fish are not reacting very well to this such as the color of your hook, will make a difference.
presentation, mix it up.

Jigging one line and dead sticking a second is a deadly combo. Notice the dead stick over a bucket. Having a rod with a sensitive tip allows for greater sensitivity on light bites
that sometimes go undetected with a bobber.


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head with a minnow will work well some of the time, but there are
other options.
The Jig-O-Bit uses a Kahle hook attached to a lead head in a
variety of colors. With a live minnow, it hangs nicely. The Demon is
a well-known crappie bait that in larger sizes does well for walleyes
and saugers. Something about that lure just works. The Danlure jig
is a unique jig that has a swivel between the lead head and the hook,
allowing the minnow more freedom to swim at a different angle. On
some days, this nuance has been the ticket.
There are definitely lots of options. Some dead stick baits have
propellers, small spinners, UV glow paint, glitter, rattles, a single
hook, treble hooks, beaded trebles, etc. Again, experiment until you
find out the preference on that day or for that particular body of
Good electronics really help the process of deciding to change
lures or to keep on what you have. If fish are coming through and
not reacting positively to your offering, it is time to change things
up. Without electronics, it would be hard to know whether the fish
are not reacting or the fish are not there.

Change the flavor

Sometimes in life, and in walleye fishing, little things make a big difference. Paying Walleyes can be particular. One day they prefer fatheads, the
attention to size, color, jig, no jig, how to hook a minnow, etc., can put more fish on top next day, it has to be emerald shiners; on other days, a good rainbow
of the ice.  will do the trick. The trick here is to bring at least a couple of
different options of minnows and try to have both options down in
In stained water, gold, glow and bright colors are good bets. In the same fish house if you are fishing with a partner or two. The
clear water, silvers and more natural colors are good starting points. walleyes will tell you what they prefer that day, and eventually
everyone can hone in.
Dead stick lures This came into play recently while fishing with a buddy. He
In addition to plain hooks combined with a minnow, there are a purposely was using a dead shiner on his dead stick. For whatever
lot of effective ice jigs for dead sticking on the market. A plain jig reason, that was the hot rod that day,

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out-fishing the lines with a live shiner. That dead stick caught the mouth, giving it a different look. Others will hook the minnow back
majority of the walleyes and saugers. Something about the dead bait by the tail, but on the bottom or underbelly of the minnow. This
was the ticket. causes the minnow to sit upside down andl work hard to upright
On a very cold and slow day of fishing, my cousin had some themselves, which can trigger a bite.
freeze-dried waxworms he had purchased on clearance in his tackle
bag. He had never used them before and decided to add one to a
small spoon and go finesse. While hardly moving the bait, walleyes Remove the bobber
and saugers were picking it up on, or very close to, the bottom, I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was many years ago on
despite their neutral mood. There are times throughout the winter Lake of the Woods and we were fishing the afternoon bite before it
when ‘eyes will be feeding on critters in the mud. This was probably got dark. One of the anglers fishing with me was a long-time guide
one of those times. Paying attention to various bait options and and resident of the area. He had logged thousands of hours ice fishing
presentations will pay dividends. on the big lake.
Instead of using a bobber on his dead stick line, he had a fairly
flexible tip on the end of his rod and would lay his rod over a bucket
Size does matter with the minnow set at the desired depth. Instead of watching the
Size can relate to the ice jig you are using. At times, walleyes will bobber, which can be difficult to detect the light bites, biting walleyes
prefer something larger as it is a bigger target, acts differently and would lower his rod tip just the slightest bit. He would pick the rod
makes more noise. A larger jig can also have a different action, as the up slowly, feel just a bit of weight and nail them.
minnow cannot roam as freely. In other cases, when you jig it, you The thought process is that when the fish are just breathing on
can bang it on the bottom, which can cause the fish to become active. the minnow, the bobber isn’t as sensitive as a flexible rod tip. He out-
Size also matters when considering bait. Some days, the fish fished the other two of us in the house that day with his dead stick
prefer a larger minnow. On other days, especially when in a neutral alone. It made me wonder how many times a walleye hit my bobber
mood, they prefer a very small minnow. There have been many line and I didn’t notice. After that instance, I changed my ways. I now
times when a crappie minnow is the most desired minnow amongst lay my dead stick line over a 5-gallon pail or on a bench next to me,
a bucket of larger minnows. The point is, experiment and figure out where I can see the tip move when a walleye or sauger breathes on
what the fish want that given day—or even hour. my bait.
Dead sticks do not receive the attention the jigging line does. It’s
Hook that minnow one of those lines that are often set and left alone. However, there
The most common way to hook a minnow is just under the dorsal are many days when a dead stick can be the most productive rod
fin. Another nuance is to clip off half of the tail of the minnow, which in the fish house. Paying attention to details and trying a variety of
changes the vibration of the swimming minnow. The minnow will presentations will increase the number of walleyes and saugers pulled
also work harder to swim, often enticing finicky walleyes. through the ice hole. It may not be as sexy as the jigging line, but on
Some anglers will hook the minnow through upper lip of the any given day, a dead stick can definitely be as productive. n


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