3 reasons to try ice fishing at night

Recently the question arose: “Can you ice-fish at night?” Ice fishing at night is certainly a possibility, as long as you take all the necessary ice fishing safety precautions, plus a few more. Here are a few reasons you might want to try this out.

Less fishing pressure

Most anglers are active during the day. So if you fish at night, fewer anglers hover over the hot brush pile or the creek canal. This will reduce the number of anglers crunching on the ice, and it won’t harm the potential fish disturbance either. One of the tips for night ice fishing is that fish may be shallower than you think. However, this leads me to an important safety aspect when ice fishing at night: never fish alone. If something goes wrong with this scenario, hypothermia is not a cause for sneezing.

Fish activity

It is known that some species of fish eat more actively at night, such as catfish, pikeperch and burbot. Night-time ice fishing for crappie could also add to the action, and traditional night-fishing methods can be used when a special light is lowered into the water to attract baitfish, which in turn will attract crappie. Enough crappie or yellowfish activity could mean you can now ice fish for pike at night. So have some wire leaders ready.

New experience

It seems that the fun always increases when a flashlight is involved. Consider investing in a headlamp or clip so that you can keep your hands free, even if you are just digging deep in your pockets. Every sound seems to be bigger even at night and what might be lurking underneath it seems a bit more mysterious.

Ice fishing at night may not even be planned. The days are short and you may be sitting in a dark hut discovering the hour later than you thought while the fish is still biting. Ice fishing equipment often contains lures that glow in the dark. With a snow-covered ice cover, most fish are caught in the dark anyway. The biggest problem with night ice fishing is therefore paying special attention to safety details such as the buddy system, lights and a mobile phone.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After graduating from OSU with a degree in zoology, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and Michigan.


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