Bigger gear for bigger fish.
When you’re out on the ice in search of larger predatory fish such as lake trout, northern pike, salmon, steelhead, or even larger walleye, it’s a good idea to step up your gear. These larger fish wreak havoc due to their heavier weight and punishing fights. Here are some items I recommend:
A great affordable heavier-duty ice-fishing rod is the Laker Pro XL 38” Medium Heavy Action rod from HT Enterprises. This ice rod is designed to take on larger fish. It feartures a comfortable EVA foam grip married to a durable fiberglass rod with the extra power and strength needed to haul in trophy-sized fish. $20; htice.com.
Having quality lures and tackle are also necessary components when targeting large predatory fish. When jigging, I use Stingnose Jigging Spoons from Thundermist Fishing Lures. These high-quality lures are available in a variety of sizes from the tiny 11/16” for small panfish to the behemoth .5” used for enticing monsters. They feature a realistic shape that simulates an injured baitfish, and are available in either chrome finish or gold finish. $7; thundermistlures.com.
You can maximize your chances of hooking up with a monster by setting up several tip ups and waiting for flags to fly indicating a biting fish. The PTE-200 Extreme Polar Therm Tip Up from HT fits the bill nicely. This style of tip up is beefy enough for large fish. Its round shape covers the fishing hole completely creating a windproof barrier to help to eliminate it from freezing. Its clever design fits perfectly inside a five-gallon bucket for easy transfer and storage, and also includes a small tacklebox for added convenience. $25; htice.com.
When setting up tip ups, I prefer either live or dead bait depending on the species I’m targeting. I also like to keep things easy so I use the T-Turn Bait Rig from Thundermist. These pre-tied fluorocarbon bait rigs are packaged ready-to-use, and feature two premium 360° T-Turn three-way swivels, two quality Mustad hooks, and a strong duo-lock sinker snap. This rig is designed to minimize line twists and tangles, and are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate any type of fishing. $4; thundermistlures.com.