As we head into the midsection of our winter angling, things have changed dramatically, especially in regard to ice conditions.

Now anglers are driving vehicles around most central Minnesota lakes, and because of this activity, the walleyes as well as crappies have adjusted their patterns. Noise is counter-productive when it comes to winter angling. Here are some thoughts.

1. Travel Areas

On most of our central Minnesota lakes, there are now dedicated travel areas where most of the vehicles head straight to a community spot that is always active. Those travel lanes unfortunately cross many good walleye spots, but are now worthless because of the vehicle traffic. Best to avoid any well-used travel area.

2. Strike Out On Your Own

I always, and I mean always, strike out for fishing spots on my own. I do everything I can to avoid any fish house clusters or any area that has anglers coming and going throughout the day. Nothing spooks gamefish more than the hum of ATVs, roar of snowmobiles and the vibration caused by motor vehicles. Even reliable summertime spots can be rendered useless in the winter by human activity.

3. Augers

I started using electric augers about five years ago, and I can honestly say they make a huge difference. With the advent of the lithium battery, you can now drill 25 to 30 holes on one charge. 

The biggest factor is the noise issue. Electric augers are quiet and stealthy. The old-fashioned gas auger has a tendency to blow out an entire area with the noise and vibration. A gas auger 300 yards away is very annoying on the ice – just think of the noise below the ice!  

For best success, strike out and find those out-of-the-way spots on your own and make it happen on your terms.

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