5 Tips for Ice Fishing in Utah
Article by Grant Olsen -- Back to Fishing Utah
The Utah ice fishing season will soon be in full swing. Whether targeting cutthroats at Strawberry, pike at Yuba, or crappie at Pineview, winter can provide some of the hottest fishing around.
Of course, ice fishing brings with it certain dangers. Check out this recent article for some safety tips before you step out on the ice. And here are five tips to help you make the most of your next fishing trip.
1. Keep Things Moving
Ice fishing is a vertical game and the fish can be anywhere from the bottom of the lake to just below the ice. Once you find the fish, the results can be great. But getting there often requires you to try different depths.
To expedite the process, you can simply bring a fish finder. Once you’ve drilled your first hole, let the device lock in the best fishing depth for you.
2. Don’t Move Too Fast
You probably move a bit slower when you’re cold. Fish are no different. So while a fast presentation may entice an occasional bite, it’s likely that other fish will pass it up to conserve their energy. Try different methods for presenting your lure or bait, but err on the side of efficiency.
Just as fish move a little slower in the cold, they also lose some of their aggression. Be on the lookout for subtle movements and don’t hold out for a major strike.
3. Cut Some Test Holes
First off, a test hole will allow you to determine the thickness of the ice. Don’t make assumptions. Each year, anglers find themselves in dangerous situations because they’ve ventured out onto unstable ice.
Also, a test hole will help get an idea of the depth you’re fishing. Depending on the species you’re targeting, you may want to stay in the shallows or move out into deeper water.
4. Bring An Auger
This may sound basic, but you’d be surprised by how many people try to get through the ice without an auger. I was at Strawberry once and watched from a distance as a man hacked at the ice with a hatchet for about an hour. Finally, I trekked over to him with my auger so he could save his sanity and his arm.
Even if you have an amazing ax and have a proven technique for chopping holes in the ice, you’re likely to get wet as you splash down into the deep ice. This can present real problems if the temperature drops and you’re out on the ice with wet clothing.
5. Try The Twist
Jigging is by far the most popular method for ice fishing. But there are other options that may elicit a strike from stubborn fish. Try twisting the line between your thumb and index finger. Your lure will stay at the same depth, revolving in a way that even the most veteran fish rarely sees.
Another option is to move your line slowly around the perimeter of the hole. Again, keep the lure at a constant depth. This circular pattern can sometimes jumpstart a slow day on the ice.
Ice fishing is one of the best times of year to fish in our opinion. With the right gear, the right tools, and some respect for the ice, fishing during this time of year is a fun exciting outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy. I hope you enjoy this season. Be safe, have fun, and I hope to see you on the ice!