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Ice Fishing activities for Lake Michigan and most of the other the Great Lakes are limited to the many bays, harbors, and marinas located along the shoreline. The northernmost harbors and marinas are the first each year to freeze with safe ice. The Bays along the northern rim of the lakes are the next areas to freeze each year. As winter progresses marinas and harbors further south begin to freeze. The main lake basins generally do not freeze solid enough to permit Ice fishing or safe travel. Shelf ice does form along the shoreline on most years. The shelf ice is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

Ice Fishing the Great Lakes in the early hours before dawn on a cold winter's morning is a true adventure. Setting lines before dawn in the brisk cold can be a daunting task. As dawn first breaks, you welcome the day Boulders in 20 feet of water with a spectacular sunrise. That early morning bite can be legendary. The hour before and after sunrise, many days provides the majority of the fishing activity for the day. As the sun rises, light penetration thru the ice and holes in the ice can make the fish more wary. Mid day ice fishing requires the use of a variety of more stealthy tactics. The water clarity of the Great Lakes has changed dramatically in the past decade. Twenty years ago you could stand in the water on the beach ankle deep and barely see your toes. Now water visibility is up to 20-30 feet deep. This increase in water clarity has increased weed beds and created more available structure and cover for many species of fish.

The different types of fishing tips, articles and techniques related to Ice fishing are logically separated into several major topic categories:
  • General information, safety and equipment.
  • Species tactics, tips and techniques

Specific techniques and tips related to each type of fishing can be found in the different categories. Salmon, trout, steelhead, northern pike, bass, perch, walleye and other species of fish fishing articles are also included.

General information, safety and equipment:
  • Ice Fishing Safety Ice fishing can be an extremely dangerous activity if you ignore warning signs and do not use good judgment.
  • Drilling holes thru the Ice Several different types of augers are available for drilling holes thru the ice for ice fishing.
  • Ice fishing hole size recommendations. Fishing for different species of fish will require varying hole sizes.
  • Clearing holes of ice Using an ice scoop to clear ice shavings and chips from ice fishing holes.
  • Ice Fishing Gaffs Ice fishing gaffs are used to land large fish when ice fishing.
  • Ice Fishing Tip-Ups Ice fishing tip ups are used to set multiple fishing lines.
  • Electronic Flasher and Depth Finders Using electronic flashers and depth finders when ice fishing gives the angler an advantage of knowing exactly where his lure and the fish are located.
  • Fishing First Ice Ice starts early with fishing first ice. Most first ice fishing on the Great Lakes is limmited to fishing from the piers located in harbors and marinas.
  • Luhr Jensen Technical Reports: (requires Adobe reader)
    • Click to download the Adobe Reader
    • Ice Fishing A technical article with information on safety, equipment, fishing techniques and lures for Ice fishing.
    Species Tactics, Tips and Techniques:
    Trout: Rainbow, Lake, Brown, and Steelhead
    Northern Pike:
    Panfish: Perch, Crappie, Bluegills

    Great Lakes Salmon, Steelhead, Trout and other species Fishing tips, tactics, articles, techniques, and information