Ice fishing tip: Catch more walleyes by ringing the dinner bell with call baits

Great selection of call baits used by the author. photo by Jason Revermann

We all know the ice season rule to locate and stay on active fish by remaining mobile, but what about when you’re in a wheel house or frigid temps make it hard to move? Develop a plan to bring fish to you.

How? Upsize your lures to create more flash and noise in the water to catch the attention of nearby fish. Often when an aggressive jigging approach catches the attention of a walleye, they will approach ready to attack your lure.

The best “call baits” are big, bright, flashy, or noisy and sometimes all of the above. Large, erratically falling spoons vibrate in the water column and also create flash. Add a rattle to the mix and the noise will penetrate even further. In the past I would use these large call baits just to attract fish, then reel up and drop down something a little more likely to get a strike. But having multiple fish attack these large call baits while ripping them has taught me to listen to the fish!

If you are ripping a bait and get a fish to come in, slow down and take a finesse jigging approach to get them to commit. If the fish retreats, be a bit more aggressive. That aggression got them to approach your lure in the first place. If they retreat again, reel up and drop something a bit smaller to see if you can trigger a bite.

Having a set line nearby with a live minnow can be a great second offering that also entices finicky walleyes.

Often times I will hear guys say that walleyes are only biting on minnows, so they quit jigging and just drop set lines. This is a mistake. I want to give the fish more options. Call them in by jigging and let them choose between a minnow or a spoon. You will catch the attention of more fish by always maintaining some jigging action.

Get out there and rip some big lures to contact more fish!

Good luck fishing and stay safe!

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