We have all heard the saying “spot on the spot” when it comes to finding and catching fish, but does it really matter?
Yes, it does, so much so, especially in the winter, that when placing either my portable or permanent house I spend extra time using both my depth finder and my hand-held GPS to get my location to be spot on.
Some will say that you can drill a bunch of holes and hop up and down the break or structure trying to locate or follow a school of fish. This technique works, but in cold harsh conditions, not so much.
So, what is the spot on the spot? In many cases it may be as simple as some green weeds, a lone boulder on a gravel bar, or an inside turn on a mid-lake point. Brush piles, underwater cribs or pilings, even transition areas from mud or soft bottom to hard bottom can be considered the spot on the spot, so it is critically important to make sure your ice fishing location includes one or more of these underwater type features.
So how do you find one of these spots on the spot areas that will be productive in the winter? That process really starts during the open water season. One of the techniques I like to do is to try and use the same type of depth-finding electronics and the same type of GPS navigation unit with the same lake chip and make notes and drop weigh-points which look like they are going to be a good winter location.
One of the biggest fish-holding attractants I look for are solid green weeds. This is easily done with today’s modern electronics like graphs and flashers. If this green weed area is adjacent to another structure change like a mid-lake point, inside turn or a transition area, you may have a location which may be a real productive winter location.
Again, I want to stress, using the same GPS navigation system and depth-finding electronics in the winter as you do in the summer allows you to really key in on structure quickly and accurately. Differing systems will have different contours and features which will not put you in the fishing location you desire.
When locating my ice fishing destination on any outing, I really depend on the two key pieces of electronics which we used during the summer months. I will use my GPS unit to navigate to the general area which I intend to fish. I have great confidence in the unit that I use, and I believe it gets me to within a few feet of my intended location.
Once arrived, I will punch a few holes to make sure I am in the desired depth, have green weeds and a good hard bottom. If all of these criteria are met, including marking some fish activity, I set up either my portable or permanent fish-house to enjoy a day on the ice.
Modern ice fishing isn’t about going out and drilling some holes by all the other houses and fishing. There is technology and equipment out there that will allow any hard-water angler to be as sophisticated and mobile as you are during the open water season. Taking your time and understanding the equipment which is available will open up new hard-water adventures and put more fish on the ice.