Tips And Tricks For Catching Catfish In Ice

Finding The Fish

How do you know where they are down there?  There are a few good ways.  Again, the best source of information is fellow anglers.  Since ice fishing is such a social event, most anglers aren’t as secretive about where they find fish.

As a general rule, look for spots catfish like during the warm months.  For instance, if there is an area of weeds where you usually find cats hiding out, that should be the first place you check.  Drill some test holes with your auger.  Most ice fishers prefer an electric auger because it’s so much easier to use.  Make at least six or so holes, and test them to see if you get any bites.  It may take a while to find a good hole, so keep drilling and dropping your lines.

One thing you might want along is a depth finder.  This handy tool shows you where the fish are, where they are moving to, and if they’re biting.  It can save you lots of time in figuring out where to drill your holes.  Many ice fishermen feel like they just wouldn’t get a bite at all without one.

Stalking The Hibernating Catfish

As usual, catfish like to hang out near the bottom, and they’ll be looking there for food.  Put your bait about a foot off the lake floor and leave it there.  If you are fishing a big lake, make it a little higher.  During the winter, catfish are especially hungry and will snap at about anything.  You should still use mostly live bait, and make sure its fresh.

You should decide beforehand if you want to catch a few big cats or a bunch of smaller ones.  Use a heavy line if you are going for big blues or flatheads.  If you’d rather catch a bunch of smaller cats, go with a light and easily maneuverable rod.  It takes a little dexterity to get that fish out of the hole.

It’s always fun to catch catfish, but when you pull it out through that hole in the ice, it gives you a special thrill.  Make sure you get plenty of pictures!

To get the full “Tips And Tricks For Catching Catfish In Ice” article you’ll need to download it here.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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