Devils Lake Ice Fishing Tips – Fish Aggressive
Winter can be a grind in the Midwest. Cold. Wind. And the lack of sunlight can really bring a person down. ’Run and gun’ ice fishing is one of the most exciting ways to catch fish during the hard water season. The bite is usually hard, the fight is intense, and the fish are often big! Here are some Devils Lake ice fishing tips that will get you fishing more aggressive.
Do you have a hard time sitting still? Are you commonly searching for something better? Are you constantly wanting to move and find a better bite, if so, ‘run and gun’ fishing is for you. I know I am sure hooked on it, perhaps it has to do with my short attention span or maybe it’s just that I am rarely satisfied. If you are at all like this, then without a doubt, ‘run and gun’ is at least worth a try this winter!
Devils Lake, ND is home to some of finest ice fishing for walleye, perch, and pike around. The ‘run and gun’ approach can be deadly for all three species in Devils Lake as well. There has certainly been a lot of ‘buzz’ in the fishing world about aggressive lures such as jigging raps and spoons. Go bigger, louder, and faster can often produce!
What does ‘run and gun’ fishing look like?
Often is requires drilling a lot of holes (10-60 is the norm). As the phrase states ‘run and gun’, you will be moving and fishing and moving and fishing until you find a pocket.
Remember, when you fish ‘run and gun’ style, you are going after active fish. You want to use large, aggressive, and often loud lures. This is not a finesse deal, you are looking for the dominant fish below, you are entering their home and you want to get their attention. If no one is home, you simply move and repeat the process.
Aggressive lures that have produced well on Devils Lake, ND…
Northland’s Buckshot and Forage Minnows.
Custom Jig’s and Spins Slender Spoons.
Custom Jigs and Spins RPM5’s and RPM3’s.
Northland’s jigging rap.
Lindy Rattln’ Flyer
Salmo Chubby Darter and Zipper.
Nils Master Jigger
Northland Puppet Minnow
(1/8-1/4 oz. are common sizes for the jigging spoons)
(1/8-5/8 oz. are common sizes for the swimming lures)
Devils Lake Ice Fishing Tips for success…
Fish aggressively. Drill lots of holes and don’t spend a lot of time in them if no one is home. (2-5 minutes per hole).
I am a big believer in creating some action and commotion down below. Thump your jig off the bottom, stir up the bottom, make some noise.
Do not be afraid to bring your lure up off the bottom. Remember, you are trying to attract fish. Call them in. I will often bring my jig all the way up to the bottom of the ice and drop it back down. Even in shallow water (3-8 ft).
Make sure your rod has some backbone. I prefer to use a 28-32 inch medium heavy rod. I will often run a braided line (6-10 pound), with a snap swivel so I can change lures quickly. If you are fishing outside a lot I recommend a longer rod (30-32 inch), if you are inside of a ice house more often, then a shorter one (26-28).
I prefer to tip my lures with a minnow head; however, there are times when you can catch fish just as well without bait.
There are days that rattle is good and there are days it is not. Play around with this and adjust to the fish.
Color is an interesting topic. There are days it matters as well. So to be safe have an assortment from bright to plain, shiny to dull.
A common presentation that I will use when fishing a new hole is to drop my lure down to the bottom, stir it up, and then aggressively jig off the bottom (usually about 2 feet off the bottom). I will use do 6-8 jigs up off the bottom and then let my lure sit about one foot off the bottom. I will let it sit there for about half a minute to a minute. Then I will repeat the process.
Create a rhythm…
Even though this is aggressive fishing, I will often slow down my lure when fish come in. In fact, there are days where once I mark a fish I will no longer jig at all. I just let the lure sit in front of their nose, maybe 3-6 inches above them. There are other days when I do not even mark the fish because they come in so fast and just smack it. Again, create a rhythm and go from there. Also, you may not find one hot hole, rather it may just be a fish or two in each hole and you need to just keep moving. At the end of the day you have a pretty respectable bucket if you have drilled enough holes and caught one or two from each hole. Lastly, there are days when I will call fish in and they will not hit. Don’t be afraid to drop a more subtle presentation down there. Some days that is what they want, I smaller profile. Therefore, you are using your aggressive presentation to call fish in and you downsize once they’re down there to seal the deal.
As a fishing guide that is getting paid to provide a positive experience for his clients, I admit that I feel a little bit of pressure to find fish. I have a hard time sitting in one spot (unless we are doing well catching fish), therefore, I find myself moving often looking for the next pocket of active fish. When I am moving I am looking to find fish, I am fishing aggressively, and I am moving quickly trying to eliminate water. Without a doubt, ‘run and run’ fishing is the best way to find and locate active schools of fish that I know of. It’s one of my most commonly used Devils Lake ice fishing tips.