Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques

As thrilling as ice fishing is, not everyone can easily get around to it. This is especially true when it comes to finding places worthy of going for it. Asia has a few locations where ice fishing can be practised. 

No matter your expertise and knowledge, going ice fishing takes patience and dedication. Of course, knowing a few basics will certainly help you get your long-awaited reward sooner than expected which is what you should strive for in cold, long weather. Whether you are ice fishing for Bass, Northern Pike, Perch or Crappie, or any other type of fish for that matter, you must gather up some expert and useful ice fishing tips. Finding and reading about general techniques will help you make this hobby into a favourable and exciting sport, so read on…

Ice fishing 101

First things first, ice fishing significantly differs from warm-water fishing. You need to safely approach your desirable location, in some cases, you might need to use a sled or four-wheel drive vehicle and good shoes. Upon arrival, pick the best spot to cut a hole through the ice. You can use ice auger that will drill the hole much faster and effectively. Many experienced fishermen set up a heating cabin next to their spot, other simple like to sit out on the open and wait patiently for their pray. For fishing itself, using a fish finder or depth sounder to search the hole for any fish activity is a smart thing to do, in that way you would know whether to stay on that spot or move on to the other. Use a small rod designated for ice fishing as well as a decent ice fishing reel, and preferably live bait.

Consider using various jigs

Most anglers lower their rods deeply under the ice and simply rely on the cone angle to detect fish. Since you are fishing under heavy conditions, you want to be sure whether you have detected a school of fish or came up dead, dark waters. The first useful technique is to use a quality transducer and then to try out different jigs. Tear-dropped shaped jog that hangs vertically in the water is the best one for ice fishing. If the fish had stopped biting, then you can move on to a jig that hangs horizontally. It is a known fact that fish use less energy during winter months and that they are generally less aggressive, so you can use transducers effectively and apply gentle and slow twirls of your rod.

Steadiness and chumming is the key

When you are striving to catch the fish in cold waters, you must be calm and steady at all times. As already mentioned, fish are not very mobile during winter so if you move your big often and jig too fast, a fish might let it go in order to preserve the energy. Therefore, one of the most useful tips is to be calm and steady in the first place. Another rather helpful tip that will undoubtedly give you some advantage over other ice anglers is chumming. This is a simple, yet nifty technique that might get lucrative results. Grind up some minnows or crush a few spikes or wax worms and drop them in a hole. Even though you are fishing in the ice water, fish can still be attracted to other fish feedings.

Find the right technique

As ice fishing requires steadiness and clear focus, staying in one spot for hours without any change won’t help you catch fish. Get a slip bobber to set the right depth of the line and see when the fish is giving any action. You can perform some classical ‘luring’ through your hole, and basically, use a brighter jig and look closely down your hole to lure the fish directly. Always aim to switch jigs, use different sizes of jigs and rods after there has been no activity within a few minutes. A small rod is perfect equipment for ice fishing as they are short and you can easily use it to move around the hole. You can keep your jig and rod at the same hight but changing movement, hight, and rotation from time to time will help you get the fish that are near the surface.

The most popular location for ice fishing in Asia are South Korea (notably the Pyeongchang Trout Festival in the town of Jinbu-myeon), China (at the annual ice fishing festival in Jilin province) and Japan (Okkaido). 

Dress appropriately, bring a comfortable chair, and always aim to get the top-notch equipment so that you can get the most out of this fantastic sport. 

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

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