Tips, Tactics and Tuesdays with Wally Banfi

by Free Speech on February 10, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

by Wally Banfi, Pro fishing guide

This has been a good year for ice-fishing on our area lakes. The extreme cold temperatures we’ve had has provided us with good thick ice this year on most area waters.

Bluegills are one of the most sought after fish during the winter. Why? Because they usually are aggressive biters and can be found in most lakes..and they are “tasty” and make for a great Friday night fish fry! During the early 1st-ice period of the season, we usually target the shallow bays of the lake; we are fishing in 6’ of water or less. The bluegills we find at this time on “early ice” usually co-operate very well.

Now that we are in the middle of winter, and the ice is from 10”-20” thick. We have better luck in 6’-20’ of water. It makes sense because as the ice gets thicker there is less water underneath for bluegills to feed and roam around. Using good electronics while ice-fishing, in the winter will help you locate fish and tell you not only what depth the fish are at, but what kind of “bite” is going on. We use and recommend a flasher type fish locator.

The 'gills have moved to slightly deeper water as the ice has thickened. Try 6 to 20 foot depths.

The 'gills have moved to slightly deeper water as the ice has thickened. Try 6 to 20 foot depths.

Flasher units display in “real-time” and we can see our jig and split-shot as we raise and lower it down to the fish exactly as it is happening. We like the “Lowrance” portable units and we also have had good luck with the “Vexicar” ice units. New this year is the “Humminbird” ice-fishing units and with their increased power they have incredible target separation especially on zoom.

Lately we have been enjoying good success catching bluegills on glowing jigs. We use a small flashlight and hold it up to the jig for a few seconds. It seems that bluegills can find your bait quicker, especially in stained or deeper water. Adding a good quality fish scent to your presentation will also help you ice some more fish, especially when it’s a tough bite! Berkley offers a line of power bait scents that can be applied to your bait and new on the market recently is the Gulp Spray on liquid attractant.

Have fun and be safe on the ice this winter, and don’t forget to take a kid fishing! Also don’t miss our 28th annual spring fishing clinic, which will be held at the Ace Sauk Prairie/ Wilderness Fish & Game store March 21st, 2009  9AM.  This years speakers are fishing pros Rob Manthei on “Muskies” and Tom Neustrom on “Walleyes”..see you there!!

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