Late-ice tip-up fishing is an unimaginable quantity of enjoyable!

Few issues about ice fishing heat you up greater than seeing the flag of a tip-up fly after which the spool prime spinning quickly, the certain signal a pike has taken the bait. That scene will make me go from standing nonetheless right into a full-out run about as quick as if I ran right into a rattlesnake within the woods … I’m not a fan of snakes!

late ice pike tip up
Late ice is your greatest shot at a trophy pike via the ice.

Rising up in Ontario’s Sundown Nation, on the shores of Lake of the Woods, the pike develop massive and also you simply by no means know what’s going to be on the tip of the road, it’s at all times thrilling.

The place to Catch Pike Via the Ice

Pike fishing in Northwest Ontario means on the lookout for huge fish. They’re plentiful in lots of waterbodies they usually don’t get fished all that a lot with most anglers targeted on catching walleye and lake trout. Pike will be caught all through the season however if you wish to improve your odds at making contact with the best variety of huge fish, you need to suppose late ice.

Pike spawn shortly after ice-out within the again ends of shallow weed-filled bays. Earlier than the ice departs, they stage in entrance of those spawning areas, feeding and ready.


On most waters, flats between 8 and 12 ft of water—simply out from that first drop-off, are prime places. Earlier within the winter, pike will begin to present up on these identical flats however farther out, in direction of the primary basin and in deeper water. We see these places begin kicking out fish in February however the later a part of March is prime time.

Are You Utilizing Tip-ups?

It’s been effectively documented via In-Fisherman content material over time that one of the best ways to catch trophy pike via the ice is with a tip-up and a quick-strike rig, tipped with an outsized useless bait, often a cisco or sucker minnow. Certain, you may catch fish jigging with lures however you gained’t catch as many, nor the true giants that you just’ll contact with the useless baits.

A disc-style tip-up is right when the climate will get chilly, and they’re comparatively fail proof.
tip-up pike release
A giant northern pike is being launched after taking a trip on a tip-up.

I as soon as interviewed Manitoba angler Aaron Wiebe about ice fishing for pike and he informed me that he wouldn’t sacrifice a single line to jigging, as a substitute opting to make use of tip-ups and meat at any time when he’s chasing pike below the ice.

“We’ve tried and tried to jig them up and also you simply gained’t catch these giants”.

Days and days of ice fishing in March have revealed the identical situation for me. Certain, you may catch pike jigging with lures however if you wish to catch a giant one, hearken to what we’re telling you right here.

i-fish-pro tip-up
The I-Fish-Professional permits the angler to make use of the know-how of a tip-up and a fishing rod on the identical time.
i-Fish-pro catch
The I-Fish-Professional tip-up system works wonders on huge pike.

I desire the disc formed tip-ups that cowl the outlet as a result of they gradual the freezing over course of, they usually’ll maintain blowing snow from piling within the gap. Final 12 months, I bought to make use of an I FISH PRO for the primary time, which permits anglers to make use of a rod and have the identical perform as a tip-up. In case you desire to struggle fish with a rod and reel, this can be a cool answer that labored nice. There’s something about preventing a giant pike on a hand line that’s exhilarating although.

The Enterprise Finish

On a tip-up, I wish to go along with no matter heavy tip-up line I can discover. There isn’t a necessity for finesse with this program. Eighty-pound braid works high-quality as effectively however warning needs to be taken when utilizing braid as a result of it may well reduce your fingers in the event you occur to get the road wrapped round them whereas preventing a giant fish.

ice fishing tip-up pike bait
The “Meat” portion of the tip-up rig.

For years I’ve used the Northland Predator Rig tied on to the tip of my line. It’s a dangling model quick-strike rig, which means one treble hook goes within the head of the bait, the opposite across the dorsal fin and it’ll grasp within the bait in a pure, horizontal place. In-Fisherman editor Doug Stange has lengthy been a proponent of in-line rigs, the place one hook goes within the head, once more, one across the dorsal fin, usually leading to your bait pointing down. I’ve used each they usually each work high-quality.

predator rig
A Predator Rig is right for rigging massive bait for large northern pike.

On journeys the place I’ve run out of Predator Rigs from catching some many pike, we’ve made our personal in-line rigs with 100-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon and No. 4 Gamakatsu treble hooks, which have carried out nice. You’ll undergo rigs as a result of there are occasions when it is advisable to reduce hooks or the leaders simply get chewed up from their tooth and it is advisable to substitute them. I’ve by no means had a Predator Rig truly fail.

Simply Above The Backside

The entire system is fairly easy however there may be one tip it is advisable to know to get your baits to sink. Take a knife and poke a number of holes within the facet of the bait, then squeeze all of the air out of the air bladder. Thawing the baits a minimum of partially prematurely of hitting the ice makes life simpler. Simply retailer them in a small cooler and they are going to be workable.

You possibly can merely add some weight to the baits to get them to sink however I wish to get all of the air out they usually naturally sink at a very good price. If the baits are too heavy they have an inclination to journey the flag, leading to false alarms.

My routine is at all times to let the bait hit the underside, then elevate it a couple of foot. One foot off the underside is the place I at all times set me baits. We have now put Aqua-Vu underwater cameras down to look at the baits up to now and pike at all times simply present up creeping alongside the underside. It’s fascinating once they discover the bait, they’ll stand up near it and watch it from inches away. They’ll do that for a number of minutes, then pounce on the bait with all their energy once they truly chew it.

Seasons shut for pike in some areas previous to the late season prime-time chew however in Northwest Ontario, the season is open year-round, so we get to take pleasure in fishing this glorious time of 12 months. Walleye fishing is at all times actually good in March as effectively.

Come go to us this winter and catch a giant pike.

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