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Where's the big fish?

First, I must say that this is my first year of ice fishing. I love it, but it's not without its' frustrations. :smiley_crazy: I've never been shut out while fishing in open water. However, I've had several days of nothing, since I've been ice fishing. :smiley_confused_vra

I've not caught a fish over 1 lb. in 2 or 3 weeks. :smiley_depressive: I've thrown everything that I've got at them and can't seem to pull out a decent fish. I've fished some smaller waters, like 40 acre ponds, 12 acre ponds...as well as larger lakes with the same results.

I have no fishing electronics. I've used small jigging spoons tipped with spikes or wax worms. Minnows with a small hook and a splitshot about a foot up from the bait. I've fished from the bottom up and from the top down with the same results...small fish, like 2" to 4" long. :smiley_armscrossed: Maybe if I deep fried them...as is, I could...naaaa. Not going there. :smiley_blink:

Is this typical for this time of the year, with ice fishing?
Are larger fish harder to catch through the ice, than with open water?
Will the fishing improve, when it gets closer to ice out?

Your opinions and experiences are appreciated.
Thank you, Bowhunter57


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
I think most of it has to do with the quality of fish that are present in any given body of water. If you're fishing a pond that's got a stunted bluegill population, the chances are going to be pretty slim that you catch anything worth keeping. Have you fished these ponds or lakes during the open water season and caught bigger fish? If yes, you just have to try something different... If not, maybe there aren't any big fish there to be caught. Have you tried using bigger baits? Or soft plastics? There are a lot of times when the smaller fish outnumber the bigger fish significantly, and outcompete the bigger fish when you drop your minnow or waxies down the hole. If you throw something bigger at them, the dinks might be less aggressive toward it, therefore giving the bigguns more of a chance to eat it.

These are just some thoughts. I'm no ice fishing expert either so hopefully some of the other guys can offer some more suggestions.
Well, the "curse" may be broken. My brother and I went out to a local lake and tried some minnows and wax worms. We both caught rainbow trout on both baits. Nice to catch something that's eating size. A 14" and a 16" rainbow.

I think the larger bait was working. We were using 1/16 oz spoons or salmon egg sized hooks with a splitshot about 16" above the bait hook. We were fishing in about 14 fow and catching the rainbows in about 8 to 10 fow.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57


The Crew
Swanton, Ohio
Try putting some of those 2" fish on a circle hook under a tip-up. Other than jigging walleye on Erie all of my res. or big pond fish are normally caught that way.

Big Fred caught this bass using bait we caught on our panfish rods. I caught the pike on a wax worm on a panfish jig, great battle on 2lb.line!!

ice 009.jpgice 007.jpg
badger said:
Hey 57, did those trout have eggs?
I don't know...I didin't ask. :smiley_crocodile: Sorry, I couldn't pass that one up.

Seriously, I couldn't tell you, cause I don't know. I only catch and eat fish and have no idea as to which ones are males or females.

Some fish have "head and tail" disease, so I throw them back. (the head's too close to the tail) Otherwise, they get filleted and baked. :smiley_blink:

Good hunting, Bowhunter57


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
NW Ohio Tundra
I haven't pulled a big bluegill out of my pond yet this winter either, but have caught quite a few piss drivers.......and I know there are plenty of 9" plus gills in there. I have been trying to catch some big gills for eating and it's just not happening. Very frustrating. I have caught several bass and even caught 2 walleyes and a big crappie, but just haven't got the big bluegills located yet.