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How To Catch Catfish Through The Ice

Dec 14, 2007
Ice fishing is a fun way to spend the winter, especially up in the frozen northern states and Canada. Ice fishing for catfish is an especially big challenge for a hearty cat-fisherman. Those cats are still there, way down under the ice, and they still need to eat! Most ice fishers find that when they score, they score big. You have a good chance of catching a huge blue cat who's hanging around at the bottom waiting for the ice to thaw.

There are several challenges to ice fishing for cats. First off, catfish are less active in the winter time. This means you really have to find out where they are, and get your bait right in front of them. This is one reason why many ice fishers like to go for catfish in farmed ponds. In the winter time, you have to know exactly the deepest spot in the lake, and with a man-made pond stocked with cats, it's easy to find out.

For a regular lake, you'll need to probably take some samples unless you know the lake inside and out. With ice fishing, it's not as simple as just picking up and moving to another spot if they aren't biting. You need to know that it's a good spot before you start fishing. One way to do this is to drill a few holes and use a depth finder to find the deepest spot. The very bottom is where the big cats will be lurking.

For bait, you can always go with whatever you use during the warmer seasons. During the winter, catfish are mostly eating grub worms, so if you really want to increase your chances of catching a fat cat, go with something like that.

The main thing is to put your hook right on the lake floor, and leave it there. Don't move it too much, just let it sit, and when he bites, the fight begins!

Good Catfish Ice Fishing Gear

Because we're dealing with the depths here, it's always good to have a rod with an extra sensitive tip. It will be really tough to tell when you've got a bite, especially for first time ice fishers. You also want a rod that has some serious backbone. You're liable to catch a big one, and he's not going to want to come out of that hole in the ice!

You'll also need things to keep warm. Don't try to be a tough guy. Get some hand warmers, a nice bucket to sit on, a good heavy coat, and keep in mind that you're going to be spending some time out in the cold. Also take an ice auger, ice picks and a sled if you are going way out on the lake. The ice auger is needed to cut through the ice. Ice picks come in handy for a variety of things, and the sled can be used to haul stuff out onto the lake and back.

If you really want to go all out, invest in an ice shelter. You can get your own ice fishing house, complete with a propane heating stove, that you can flip up and take back down when you're finished. The disadvantage of an ice shelter is that it's tough to move around, and it can be a pain if you want to try a different spot. On the other hand, it can keep you toasty warm and maybe keep you out on the ice longer. Tell your wife it's for your own safety, and I'm sure she'll go along with it!
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best catfish fishing information possible. Get more information on ice fishing for catfish here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com
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