CONTINUED FROM PART 1
CHOICE OF BAIT
Now that we know what we are fishing for and where we are going, we now have to figure out what we are going to use. Now every ice fisherman of this lake is going to tell you something different, or has their own “go to “ jig. Honestly that is what makes the lake so great. Several items will work and in time you will develop your own “go to” bait. But for now, let's focus on the basics and some general items that will get you going quickly.
I am a big proponent of tube jigs. Tube jigs are effective for several reasons in my book. First they have great action in the water. The skirt action can resemble a crawdad or even a small wounded fish depending on the eyes of the predator. Second, they are easier to detect in murky waters. Third they are cost efficient and depending on brand name can get several in a pack.
During early ice I generally prefer 2-2 ½ inch tube jigs in length along with a 1/32 oz jig head. The reason I choose the smaller jig head is that it is very common for trout of all sizes to hit these jigs from the size of the jig and not always the rear where the “skirt” action is. It’s just an easier way to avoid missed hook sets. Fresh Water has an excellent selection and can be found in several sporting good stores. As the season continues and fish are slowing down, they don’t want to work as hard to capture their prey. Smaller crappie jigs in tube skirts are effective during this time. Effective colors consist of white tubes in various colored flakes and even white by itself, pumpkin seed, olive green, pink & white, Rainbow plain and with painted eyes.
Other lures such as paddle bugs, flashing lures such as Kastmasters, spoons, Swedish Pimples are fantastic choices to use in murky waters. Additionally they are very effective when tipped with wax worms or meal worms. Larger spoons and Kastmasters are often effective for northern pike
while Swedish Pimples, small tube jigs, smaller reflecting lures tipped with wax worms and meal worms can be very effective for kokanee salmon. Going back to trout, micro jigs such as ratsos, shrimpos, small sinking flies, rat finkees, are excellent choices to have tipped with either wax worms or meal worms. These jigs are often considered “Dead Stick” baits that will give trout an alternative bait to hit on while possibly either missing a tube jig or not having interest in an alternative bait in the water.
Water dogs and dead suckers
, or cut sucker meat are fantastic choices at Eleven Mile
for pike. These are often used with “tip ups” but do count as a rod being used so be careful in making sure you are aware. Other newer jigs that have been effective have been the HD trout series by Dynamic Lures
. These lures can be effective for almost all species at Eleven Mile. Rainbow and pink have worked for me but as mentioned earlier, everybody has their own specialty lures to rely on. The general rule of thumb is this… during early ice, go with your aggressive baits and as the season progresses and the ice thickens… slower, smaller yet still flashy are very effective.
Certain scented baits such as Gulp Alive minnows and “smelly jelly” baits can also be decent attractants. Even good old fashion power bait on ice has been known to produce activity just as it would in open water. Scented baits are also highly effective in murky waters where visibility of action baits are low. They can work with each other also. Having a trout rig sitting behind you while jigging a tube jig has even been known to work! The biggest thing is don’t be afraid to change it up. General rule of thumb… If it’s not working, change it!
ROD SET UP AND PRESENTATION TECHNIQUES
Now it is where the fun starts… You versus me… man versus fish! Presentation is very important when ice fishing Eleven Mile. Not all the times you will have the most desired bait, but a good presentation can entice a large rainbow
enough to take the bait!
First… Start your holes… I like drilling 2 holes roughly 2 ½ - 3 feet apart. This gives plenty of visibility, wont scare fish with too many jigs sitting together, and and will prevent one line getting snagged with another line while a fish is on. Next drop your tube jig at the bottom to where it sits on the ground, reel it roughly 1 foot off the bottom Simply use your wrist and pop it. The popping motion will give plenty of action. Many people want to use their hole arm, and by doing so you will lose leverage during a hook strike.
When a fish comes in don’t go crazy with multiple jigging action. Trout will circle around your jig often. Flashing lures should have more of a rapid action and be further off the bottom. Northern pike will often sit and stare are your lure. Simply flutter the skirt of the jig where it causes tail action. This is a technique myself and many call a “dancing motion” . I have lost my fair share of trout simply by over setting a hook. A one/two hook set technique will help ensure 1) you set the hook and 2) you are getting a solid hook set where the barb is secure.
Dead sticks will work well generally 3-5 feet above the ground. In the event a hook set is missed, go to your dead stick and again twitch slowly as a back-up. Whatever the case may be, focus on the bottom to begin with. Pike tend to slowly cruise about five feet above the bottom, depending on coverage.. They will often slowly glide into your holes with a dead stare at your bait. Often they are more curious then hungry and will slowly glide away.To prevent twisting on your line, simply add a double barrel swivel to the end of the line and tie a leader about three feet with your choice of bait/lure.
PATIENCEEleven Mile Reservoir
has its days of being stubborn, there is no doubt about that. But it simply requires persistence and patience to be successful. Following the previous 4 ABSOLUTES will put you in the best position to see fish. But don’t be over anxious. Wait for your hook sets. Don’t give up on baits so easily. Most of all, when your jig is down that hole… think it's just a matter of minutes before the big one comes and keep your eyes always open. Most frustration comes with folks who want a fish every 10 minutes. This lake is simply not built that way. But with its challenges, it has its rewards.
Be safe on the ice. Tight lines to all!