Sliding in to early ice fishing in December

By Ross Hagemeister,

Ice fishing is underway in Otter Tail Lakes Country.  It seems like I was just tying my boat to the dock!  Time flies, especially when we went directly from summer to winter.  So here we are and it’s early December and folks want to get out ice fishing, because it’s “early” ice fishing time!  It’s exciting because the fishing is normally pretty strong, and while I have experienced some strong ice fishing already, I’ve also seem poor fishing.  I thought early ice meant you could do no wrong?  Yes and no.

Most years the ice comes on in mid December, and seasonally, the days have a different value than they do right now.  We are hitting the lakes about 2 weeks earlier.  So are the fish still in a late fall pattern?  Are they even “supposed” to be feeding well?  I’d argue that they really aren’t set up yet.  Panfish and predator fish alike have been giving fishermen the slip in Lakes Country.  For the most part, I’ve been seeing locational issues—the fish just aren’t where they normally are this time of year. I’ve been starting over lately.  Rather than fishing “early” ice spots, I’m actually fishing late fall spots, and it seems to be working.  If you’re not finding fish around your favorite/normal early ice spot, then move and keep drilling holes.  The energy spent drilling holes will pay off.  Eventually, you’ll find some and when you do, they’ll probably bite.

Be careful when you’re moving around.  Keep your eyes open for cracks and breaks in the ice which are common this time of the year;  the ice is still new and the cold air and sunlight make it expand and contract causing heaves and cracking.

Good luck fishing around Lakes Country this week!

Category: Fishing, Play

Check out the new clothing store and get your Otter swag today!