Top ice tips from the region’s angling experts

El Niño is defined as prolonged warming in the Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures when compared with the average value. Winters during the El Niño effect are warmer and drier than average in the Northwest, northern Midwest, and upper Northeastern United States. But it’s been a curse to those who want to hit their favorite fishing holes on frozen water. Ice anglers are cursing a lot these days, but there will be ice.

When ice arrives, fishing will be outstanding. This is because there has been no pressure from other anglers on all those productive locations, and this means higher numbers of unmolested fish in the spots that will be hot during the mid-winter periods.

For those wishing to get primed up for the ice when it arrives check out Across the Ice Belt television and load up on some real good fishing tips before drilling some holes this year.

Jiggy Andersen hosts the program and travels the ice belt in search of great fishing. His prowess on the ice along with Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer Dave Genz and many other Ice Team members will wet your appetite for some of what is to come once the water hardens.

Another great viewing option is Ice Fishing Today hosted by Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer Tom Zenanko – a web-based program that has some exciting moments with big fish and provides loads of tips on catching them.

One of my favorite guys on the ice is Jason Mitchell. His broadcasts are extremely entertaining. Check out his website for show times or watch them online. What I like about Mitchell, Genz, Zenanko, and Andersen is these guys are hardcore to the bone and I actually get pretty motivated to punch some holes and commence vertical jigging after watching one of their programs.

Once fishable ice arrives, I’ll be tempted to head right out to my first-ice spots and punch holes. Will I resist this temptation based on the information I have gleaned from these top pros telling me to head straight to my mid-winter spots? Heck no. I have never resisted the temptation to fish the memories I have had of spots that produced well for me. Even though I will likely catch no fish at all at those early-ice locations I will go there and drill and fish because I cannot resist.

From the information I have read, I should be heading straight out to the deeper holes for crappies and work the deeper mid-lake rubble, cobblestone and rock for walleyes during low-light periods. I should chase bluegills on the deep edges of vegetation and set up tip-downs for pike in those same spots. I promise to do just that after I have proven to myself that the pro anglers are always a lot smarter than me, and if I wasn’t so doggone stubborn I would catch more fish by listening to their recommendations!

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