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I would personally target weedlines or large holes in the weeds to start. Bass can be found shallower than you might think in the middle of winter. I saw some big ones pulled out by people fishing in 3 feet of water last winter. A lot of the same logic from open water still applies in the winter. Bass will find spots where they can easily ambush prey without using much effort. Finding cover is often key. Bass also usually relate to the bottom in the winter a lot and fishing just off the bottom (usually 6" to a couple feet) above the bottom or the tops of weeds can be the ticket. If you are using tip-ups shiners do well. I don't know what the baitfish regulations are like in Minnesota but guys around here use BIG pond shiners and BIG suckers (8+ inches) to target the big girls. But many bass can be had on small or medium regular shiners you might get at a bait shop. Some guys also use perch and pumpkinseeds (again, check your baitfish regulations) as well. If you are looking to jig for bass stuff like a Lindy Darter can be effective. I might be mistaken but Minnesota has a pretty good population of Pike does it not? 

Part of me likes ice fishing even more than open water fishing (notice profile pic). There's nothing like seeing the flag go up on the tip up you put the BIG bait on and running 200 feet to get it, and then getting to the hole and seeing your spool screaming out to one direction. Then you turn around and 2 more flags are up and you've got yourself 5-10 straight minutes of frantic fun ahead, and you pull up one line with the possibilities lurking in your head of what's on the others behind you as you pull in a fish. 

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 No matter where you ice fish, if your new to it?,....Just be careful out there on the ice please,..Ice fishing can be alot of fun. The guys I used to ice fish with? We had a blast, no shelters, but a gas grill,a coleman stove, a huge cooler with plenty of food and drink were staples. It was like a cookout on the ice with a radio, a frisbee, and so on. Hot off the grill steak tips, chicken wings, burgers, hot dogs, etc, are a welcome fare when its cold out there,..Like I said alot of fun, but that was on "safe" ice, at least 8 to 10 inches of ice.

  One day I was out fishing alone, on thinner than that Ice, But being alone all i needed was like 4 to 6 inches of ice to be safe, and If I recall it was slightly thicker, and as I headed home I unknowingly walked over the spring, and ended up swimming instead of treading "safe ice"., And yeah, even though Ive been icefishing for years? It was truely a rookie mistake.. Nonetheless,...Ive since given up on ice fishing. So, please ,...be careful out there.

 

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8 hours ago, MassYak85 said:

I would personally target weedlines or large holes in the weeds to start. Bass can be found shallower than you might think in the middle of winter. I saw some big ones pulled out by people fishing in 3 feet of water last winter. A lot of the same logic from open water still applies in the winter. Bass will find spots where they can easily ambush prey without using much effort. Finding cover is often key. Bass also usually relate to the bottom in the winter a lot and fishing just off the bottom (usually 6" to a couple feet) above the bottom or the tops of weeds can be the ticket. If you are using tip-ups shiners do well. I don't know what the baitfish regulations are like in Minnesota but guys around here use BIG pond shiners and BIG suckers (8+ inches) to target the big girls. But many bass can be had on small or medium regular shiners you might get at a bait shop. Some guys also use perch and pumpkinseeds (again, check your baitfish regulations) as well. If you are looking to jig for bass stuff like a Lindy Darter can be effective. I might be mistaken but Minnesota has a pretty good population of Pike does it not? 

Part of me likes ice fishing even more than open water fishing (notice profile pic). There's nothing like seeing the flag go up on the tip up you put the BIG bait on and running 200 feet to get it, and then getting to the hole and seeing your spool screaming out to one direction. Then you turn around and 2 more flags are up and you've got yourself 5-10 straight minutes of frantic fun ahead, and you pull up one line with the possibilities lurking in your head of what's on the others behind you as you pull in a fish. 

MassYak85 is correct about how shallow you can catch them in winter - we used marabou jigs and beetles on ultra lights and caught them in 3' - 4' it was a blast - don't get that kind of winters much around here any more.

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6 hours ago, "hamma" said:

 No matter where you ice fish, if your new to it?,....Just be careful out there on the ice please,..Ice fishing can be alot of fun. The guys I used to ice fish with? We had a blast, no shelters, but a gas grill,a coleman stove, a huge cooler with plenty of food and drink were staples. It was like a cookout on the ice with a radio, a frisbee, and so on. Hot off the grill steak tips, chicken wings, burgers, hot dogs, etc, are a welcome fare when its cold out there,..Like I said alot of fun, but that was on "safe" ice, at least 8 to 10 inches of ice.

  One day I was out fishing alone, on thinner than that Ice, But being alone all i needed was like 4 to 6 inches of ice to be safe, and If I recall it was slightly thicker, and as I headed home I unknowingly walked over the spring, and ended up swimming instead of treading "safe ice"., And yeah, even though Ive been icefishing for years? It was truely a rookie mistake.. Nonetheless,...Ive since given up on ice fishing. So, please ,...be careful out there.

 

Yes PLEASE be careful. The ice is never 100% safe. I don't care if there is 2 feet of it. You don't know where those underground springs are or where a group of geese decided to rest up. There was one pond last year that got to over a foot thick but guess what....there was about a thousand foot swath that NEVER froze because about 20 swans decided that's where they wanted to spend the winter. The type of ice is also important. Clear black ice while it may look the sketchiest, is going to be the strongest. I would recommend buying an ice pick so you can "test" the ice as you walk out. Go with another person if you can, or fish in reasonable distance of others if you are alone. 

 

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Your personal best is over 15lbs huh... not in in Minnesota if so ! Ha-ha. if its true I think you're the one that should be giving some pointers on this site. 

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On 10/31/2016 at 1:57 PM, Yeajray231 said:

Your personal best is over 15lbs huh... not in in Minnesota if so ! Ha-ha. if its true I think you're the one that should be giving some pointers on this site. 

lol i didn't notice that

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All I can add is for you to watch out for flying pucks and crazy defensemen as they skate around you.

Growing up in south Louisiana makes it impossible for me to comprehend fishing on ice.

Have fun and be sure to duck.

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On 10/31/2016 at 1:57 PM, Yeajray231 said:

Your personal best is over 15lbs huh... not in in Minnesota if so ! Ha-ha. if its true I think you're the one that should be giving some pointers on this site. 

Maybe the OP means Striped Bass?:wacko:

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Doesn't look like he is going to respond... maybe he's talking about his biggest fish ever regardless of species. 

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heres my trick! shallow pond. 10 feet deep or so. fish near cover. the love trees and stumps. shiner on tip ups 
but ive also caught them jiggin before 

i catch a lot of bass through the ice!

ice slob.jpg

bucketmouth jig.jpg

3lbser.jpg

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I fish for bass through the ice pretty often. First ice is usually the best action. January is good as well. February can be tough. Warm march day can be fantastic. I like to use the biggest shiners I can find. It can be very fast action. I target green weeds most of the time. Another tactic I have had good luck with is targeting the middle of a spawning cove 2-5 ft off of bottom. You can have some excellent days through the ice and catch some very large bass, the largest I have got through the ice is 6 lbs 8 oz. The action can be insane, 50 fish days are possible. We are allowed 5 lines in ME, 6 in NH, 8 in VT and 15 on Lake Champlain. The past couple years I have been actively jigging for them use a vexilar flasher. t is far more exciting then waiting for flags if the fishing is slow.

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I have always heard "shallow in early and late season and deeper during mid-season but since I generally only ice fish smaller bodies of water, I haven't really practiced this and can't verify its truth.  Weedy flats in around 5 to 7 feet of water always seem to work best for me.  If there is a submerged brush pile or other cover, all the better.

Tip ups using live bait is somewhat of a numbers game where you spread out "lots" of tip ups (check your state regulations to see how many are allowed).  The other method is to use a flasher to "pin point" a good spot (or spots).  Some people do both tip ups and using a flasher.  I prefer the latter (only) as I'm not very good at multi tasking and, really, I don't stay on a hole very long if it's not producing anyway.  I was apprehensive about buying a flasher as the cost seemed prohibitive but it really does provide"real time" information about what is happening under the ice and if the location is worth bothering with at all.  AND it it easy to see where your lure/bait/jig is in relation to the bottom and in relation to the fish.

Once thing I've noticed is that if you are marking and/or catching smaller fish (such as sunfish or crappie) and it suddenly "dries up", don't move right away as sometimes a larger predator fish (such as a bass, catfish, or pike) has moved into the area and has frightened off the smaller fish.  It isn't always the case but I've seen it enough to know not to leave immediately. 

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i normally fish shallow ponds usually small. one pond i fish frquently i catch bass up along the shoreline trees but there  is a good dropoff along this side. another pond i normall fish bass can be anywhere from 4 feet deep along the shore to the middle in 8 feet.    another pond we fished the middle in about 6-10 feet of water and smoked em 

so experiment, try along shore and out towards the middle! youll get em 

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Here's the best advice I can give you about ice drinking: don't go.  You can't fall through the ice if you just stay off of it.

If you must go, wait for at least a foot of ice and bring a lot of beer because that's what 99% of its all about.  Don't risk your life on thin ice for a few dinky panfish.

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24 minutes ago, gimruis said:

Here's the best advice I can give you about ice drinking: don't go.  You can't fall through the ice if you just stay off of it.

If you must go, wait for at least a foot of ice and bring a lot of beer because that's what 99% of its all about.  Don't risk your life on thin ice for a few dinky panfish.

Ice drinking and ice fishing are completely different sports.

No ice is 100 % safe but 4 inches of black ice and I will be out there.

Some of the best fishing is first ice. If you wait for a foot ice  you missed the first ice bite.

 

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yes 4 inches of ice in my minimum thats for a small amount of people.  at first ice i tie a rope around my waist  and tie that off to a tree. then i walk out with my spud,( heavy ice chisel).  i also have spikes around my neck. 

ive fallen through the ice TWICE!! 

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12 hours ago, gimruis said:

Here's the best advice I can give you about ice drinking: don't go.  You can't fall through the ice if you just stay off of it.

If you must go, wait for at least a foot of ice and bring a lot of beer because that's what 99% of its all about.  Don't risk your life on thin ice for a few dinky panfish.

Sounds like personal experience to me. Being from Michigan ice fishing is a part of life for alot of folks there. And I've seen HUGE pike, musky , crappie , perch, walleye , and damm near everything in between get pulled up through the ice. And I'm talking HUGE for all of those species. So some remark about ice fishing not worth it "for some dinky panfish" truly shows your lack of knowledge on the subject. 

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17 hours ago, gimruis said:

Here's the best advice I can give you about ice drinking: don't go.  You can't fall through the ice if you just stay off of it.

If you must go, wait for at least a foot of ice and bring a lot of beer because that's what 99% of its all about.  Don't risk your life on thin ice for a few dinky panfish.

Again with the ice thickness thing....there are times where 3-4 inches of pure solid black ice will hold people for ice fishing, and there are times you will have poor quality white ice a foot thick and it won't hold. You have to personally determine the ice safety EVERY TIME you go out. Just because other people are out there doesn't make it safe. Just because you saw an ice thickness safety chart and it "should" be good doesn't make it safe. Just because it was good yesterday doesn't make it safe. 

 

6 hours ago, swamp hawgs said:

yes 4 inches of ice in my minimum thats for a small amount of people.  at first ice i tie a rope around my waist  and tie that off to a tree. then i walk out with my spud,( heavy ice chisel).  i also have spikes around my neck. 

 

This is some good advise, spies and a chisel are a must.

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6 hours ago, swamp hawgs said:

yes 4 inches of ice in my minimum thats for a small amount of people.  at first ice i tie a rope around my waist  and tie that off to a tree. then i walk out with my spud,( heavy ice chisel).  i also have spikes around my neck. 

ive fallen through the ice TWICE!! 

A couple of winters ago I was out fishing on the ice (safe enough for me but was not super thick) when a large group of curious Asian people (clearly students from from the nearby University) came out onto the ice to investigate.  Nothing happened (fortunately) and they were a nice bunch but I did caution them that they needed to be careful as the ice could not support TOO many people standing in one spot.  I don't really know if they understood me or, if they did, they might have thought I was just a "stick in the mud" but the ice is NOT something to treat lightly.

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Nice catches. Ice fishing is on my bucket list of things to do.

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3 minutes ago, soflabasser said:

Nice catches. Ice fishing is on my bucket list of things to do.

Bass fishing in Florida is one of mine ha-ha. I hope we both succeed!! 

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7 minutes ago, Yeajray231 said:

Bass fishing in Florida is one of mine ha-ha. I hope we both succeed!! 

We will,all we have to do is go on vacation.I been wanting to go Ice fishing since I was a child.Might make another trip up north during the next winter for some ice fishing.Let me know in advance when you go to South Florida and I will give you locations for both freshwater/saltwater fishing. 

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2 hours ago, Ratherbfishing said:

A couple of winters ago I was out fishing on the ice (safe enough for me but was not super thick) when a large group of curious Asian people (clearly students from from the nearby University) came out onto the ice to investigate.  Nothing happened (fortunately) and they were a nice bunch but I did caution them that they needed to be careful as the ice could not support TOO many people standing in one spot.  I don't really know if they understood me or, if they did, they might have thought I was just a "stick in the mud" but the ice is NOT something to treat lightly.

Last year wasn't that great for ice fishing due to the unseasonably warm weather in MA, so we had a very late first ice. I watch the temps pretty close when it starts getting time for ice fishing so the first weekend after a week of 30's or below I went out with a buddy to test it out and do a little fishing. We get to the pond and I walk about 10-20 feet from shore to test it. My spud bar has water coming up through in one solid hit. Now it was pretty sharp and I can do that to about 5 inches of ice so I decided to drill a test hole. It's about 3 inches thick. I would have been comfortable had it been solid pure black ice but it wasn't perfect so i was a little nervous. I decided to put one trap out and then we decided it was too sketchy to venture from shore, we left all our gear on shore and put out one more trap very close to see if there was anything shallow but we didn't want to risk anything over our heads should it give. The ice was making sound while I drilled our 2 holes and not just the usual cracking a pond will make. We had a few guys stop and talk to us since many people scout the ponds around first ice to see which ones froze up best. Then this one guy pulls up with a little sled and some gear, asks us how thick it is and I tell him 3 inches but it's pretty sketchy. Without another word this dude takes his gear (albeit light) and walks straight to the center of the pond and starts fishing. Doesn't test the ice at all. I told my friend there was a good chance we might have to rescue this guy or call for help (there was an ice ladder on the shore the town provides). Thankfully he didn't fall in, but he walks back past us about an hour later and says he was fishing on about 2 1/2 inches of ice. 

Don't be that guy. People get eager to go out but make good judgement when you get to the pond or lake. 

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thats ballsy man! wow! way to sketchy for me. 
i had good winter open water fishing in my yak last year! 

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