Non-fishermen go crazy when we say we need more ice fishing rods, and especially more walleye ice fishing rods. They think we’re just making up one reason to build more ice fishing gear. The truth is, we need different types of hard water fishing rods that are suitable for our purpose. Likewise, we need different knives or pans for cooking, or a set of clubs when we play golf. The rule of thumb is to determine what type of fish you are targeting, what method you are using when aiming, and which rod is best for that type of fishing.
1. Where to find walleye
Pikeperch can be found a few meters from the ground. They like edges and waste as well as points, beams and piles of stones. In the early and late season they will be in shallower water and in the middle of the season they will be deep. It is best to have two different ice fishing rods for pikeperch, one with a backbone for fishing around structure and depth and a second rod with sensitivity for shallower water finesse.
2. Ice fishing bait for pikeperch
Jigging is the most effective method, and you need sensitivity in thin water so that you don’t pull your jig out of the strike zone or out of a fish’s mouth. Try lightning spoons for vertical jigging and swimming aggressive fish. The best lightning spoons are Al’s Goldfish, Swedish Pimples, or Kastmasters, while popular swim lures include a # 7 Jigging Rapala or a # 2 Nils Master Jigger.
3. Determine the type of member
Pikeperch can be aggressive or they can be a finesse fish. You want a rod that is soft enough that you can feel the jig float, but firm enough to provide the lifting force. Super stiff rods offer great strength with reduced sensitivity. Soft actions give great sensitivity but less force. A moderate to moderate action works best as it offers a good mix of sensitivity and strength.
4. Fishing inside or outside a hut?
When fishing in a shanty, you break tips with a shorter rod 24 to 28 inches less in length. If you’re fishing outdoors, a longer rod, 30-36 inches, is nice. Check out the new 48-inch legend Black Ice from St. Croix. While it seems super long to ice fishing, it’s great for flip-and-dip fishing in shallow water and provides shock absorption when fighting large pikeperch.
The ice is perfect, so get a new rod and off you go!
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.