What Time Of Day Is Best For Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing can be some of the best fishing lakes have to offer, but if you don’t know the right time of day, it can be some of the worst fishing you do. Since you are already out in the snow and ice, getting wet and cold from the winter weather, it only makes sense that you want to catch as much fish as possible.

So what time of day is best for ice fishing? Generally, transition periods in the day have shown to be best for catching fish when ice fishing. The transition from dark to dawn, and also the transition from dusk light to dusk are the best times of day for catching fish on the ice, especially for trout. There are some places in the US where fishing for other species than trout are done best at night, or very early morning, so plan your day on what type of fish you actually want to catch, so you are not just sitting out in the cold waiting for a nibble.

Does Each State Have A Better Time

Typically it will not matter what state you are in for the best time of day, but keep in mind that in different parts of the US, there is a time change that will occur, so you will have to adjust your fishing schedule for early morning sun rise, and dusk to sun down for the best fishing. Some states get a lot colder than others as well, so you will want to adjust your clothing to stay warm enough. Ice fishing in California can be a lot different than ice fishing in Minnesota, so be prepared!

Do Different Lures And Bait Set A Better Time

In the normal fishing season, you would adjust your baits or flies to the time of day you are fishing. So early morning you might use one bait, and later in the afternoon you might adjust to another bait or top water lure. When ice fishing, you are confined to a smaller space to put your bait, and there is no top water (because of the ice), so you will generally have luck using any bait.

There might be different baits that people like to use at each lake you go to, but that is at the discretion of the anglers in that area. It is always good to listen to these people because they fish the lakes often and can tell you what does the best job.

What Happens If My Hole Freezes Over

When you are out ice fishing for more than one day, you might run across your ice fishing hole getting frozen over after going in for the night. When this happens there are a few things you can do to keep fishing. The first is to bring a “breaker bar”, or some other instrument that you can use to carefully break through the ice.

catched fish during ice fishing

You need to be careful though that you open the hole back up slowly, so you do not crack the ice and make it unsafe for you to fish. The second, if you are a veteran ice angler, you might have a gas powered auger that drills the holes in a snap. If you do, you can fire that up and just drill right through the new ice.

Typically, there will not be that much ice that has formed overnight so it should be rather quick to open your hole back up, but it also depends on what part of the US you are in, and how cold it gets at night.

Can Fish Sense Movement Above The Ice

Fish have great vision and can sense predators coming from a far distance. If the ice is clear, or thin enough, they will see your movements and most likely swim away from you. Fish will eventually come back if you stop making sudden movements, so it is a good idea to get all of your ice fishing gear setup quickly and them make an effort to move as little as possible, so you do not scare the fish away for good.

Can Fish Hear Through The Ice

Fish do not have ears like humans and animals, but they do have ear “parts” inside of their heads that do help them hear. If you are stomping around on the ice, fish can hear it and will most likely get spooked and think you are predator, which will make them swim away in fear.

Fish can also feel the vibrations of movement in the water, so drill or cut your holes first thing so that you can give the fish time to settle down and come back. Try to make as little noise as possible and try not to play loud music that fish can hear.

Is It Safe To Spend The Night On A Frozen Lake

Yes, Camping on a frozen lake is very safe, and extremely popular in parts of the US where it stays very cold during the winter. The most important thing you can do is to check the weather before you go to make sure that it is safe to get out to your fishing hut, and to make sure that the ice is thick enough for you to feel safe.

frozen lake

Here is a short this of things you can do to make sure that you are safe and have a good time camping while ice fishing

  • Check the weather.
  • Make sure you have clear access to your ice fishing hut.
  • Make sure that in case of emergency at night you can get to your vehicle safely.
  • Bring plenty of warm blankets in case you get snowed in.
  • Watch for extremely high winds and plan for cold temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Ice fishing has always been a very popular thing to do for both survival and sport, and has been getting even more popular with the harsh winters we have had in the last several years. Transitional periods in the day seem to be the best for landing fish, so always try to plan around that. Once you get to your spot, set your location up quickly, and as quietly as possible so you disturb the fish for only a short period of time.

That will give you some time to get settled in and let the fish come back after scaring them off. If you are going to spend the night on the lake, make sure you have checked the weather and have made sure the ice is thick enough, and you are in a warm enough shelter to be out on the cold lake where the winds will pick up and make it feel even colder. Do this and you are in for a great catch at the lake.

Related Topics

What Size Hook Should I Use For Trout Ice Fishing

The best sized hook to use for trout fishing through ice are size 6 or 8 hooks depending on your bait. When fishing for trout, the most common baits to use with these hooks are night crawlers, salmon eggs, and powerbait. If you are going to use braided line with your setup, always run at least 10-20 yards of mono or fluorocarbon leader line on the end of it, so you don’t scare the fish.