New Year’s Ice Fishing For Walleye

I finally got to spend some quality time on the ice over the New Year’s holiday.  We spent the weekend at my friends cabin on Lake Ida near Alexandria, MN.  We were targeting Walleyes through the ice over the weekend, and had some pretty good success, but the flurries each morning and night were fast, but short lived.  We spent a couple hours in the ice house each morning and evening around sunrise and sunset.

Our first night out we we had Eric’s wheel house in about 24 feet of water, and I set up my portable in about 22 feet of water.  We didn’t nail a big one that night, but we ended up with 3-4 walleyes (can’t remember).  The first night the walleyes seemed pretty mixed hitting both our set lines and our jigs.  I do know that the one fish I got the first night came on a red Northland Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon.

The next morning we got on the ice at about 6:30 and started fishing right away.  Things were slow until about 8:00, and then we had a small flurry of action.  I got my biggest fish of the weekend that morning, and we also managed 4 others during the morning bite.  The fish were really aggressive in the morning, and all of our fish came on our jigging lines.  Eric got one on a Chartreuse Glow Lindy Darter, and the rest came on Lindy Rattl’n Flyers in both red and gold.  If only the flurry could have kept up for a bit longer.  Man, that was fun.

A beautiful Lake Ida Walleye caught through the ice.

Friday night was slow for us.  The bit turned off and we couldn’t get a thing to hit our jigging lines.  We ended up getting one more nice fish and a couple little ones, but they all came on set lines.  We had several fish check out our jigs, but nothing would commit.

Ice FishingSaturday morning we set up two portables along with the wheel house in about 28 feet of water to try something a bit different.  We managed a couple more small walleyes, but that was about it.  I had one in my house, and Eric had a couple in his house, but the rest of the guys were pretty quiet.  Mine came on a gold Lindy Rattly’n Flyer, and I believe Eric got one jigging and one on a set line.  Oh, our set lines were all about 4-8 inches off the bottom.  We found that the lower ones typically did better.

Saturday night things were looking up a bit.  Like the other mornings and evenings we had ice fishing, a flurry came through, but we had a couple prior to it and a couple hit after as well.  Our luck wasn’t as good Saturday night though.  Blake and Briz both had really nice fish on, but we couldn’t get them through the hole.  We didn’t see Blakes, but it looked like it had some weight to it.  Briz lost his right at the hole, and our guess is that it was about 26-27 inches.  Would have been nice to get a picture of that one!  The big one hit on a set line with a small blue jig and a fathead.  It was the only fish we had hit a fathead, the rest were all on Shiners.  We managed to land a half dozen fish during the flurry, but three were pretty small.  The wind was screaming Saturday night, so Eric and I had to make a run out to the houses and pull down the portables, we were worried they might not be there in the morning if we didn’t, and I’m glad we did.  Things were really whipping out there.

Ice fishing for walleyeSunday was our last full day to catch a mess of fish.  The morning was more of the same.  We managed few fish, but all but one were pretty small.  Again, jigging seemed to be the ticket, but the occasional set line would go down as well.  The evening was a bit crowded in the wheel house because we didn’t have any portables out due to the weather.  We had a better school of fish go through and managed to get another 4-5 fish, I think three between 14-17 inches, the other couple were small, and we missed a few more.

Monday morning was our last time on the ice.  Eric and I were the only two headed out in the morning and it was still really whipping out there and the temperatures dropped quite a bit.  We managed to get three really nice walleyes between 16-18 inches and also released a couple smaller ones.  Everything came jigging on Monday morning.  The walleyes were much more aggressive and really hit an aggressive presentation.  I don’t think our set lines even moved.  We were jigging and a big red mark would just fly onto the Vexilar and wham!  Fish on!

Lake Ida Ice Fishing Walleye

For those of you headed out to the lakes around Alexandria, be careful out there.  On Lake Ida, the ice was pretty good where we were fishing, but I heard a house sunk in a bay not too far from us.  We were on 9-11 inches of really good ice most of the time, but I did see a spot that was just shy of 8 inches of ice.  There was a pretty big pressure ridge about 200 yards from us, and a smaller one about 50 feet from us.  We wandered over to the close one and there was no open water, but the bigger one was much bigger sticking up about 2 feet.  I’m not young and invincible anymore, so I kept my distance from that one.

I’m not going to get back onto the water for a couple weeks, but I’m already looking forward to it.  Eric, Blake and I are going to be meeting up for 2-3 days of solid fishing, so we’ll be trying all kinds of stuff and chasing the walleyes all over the lake, not just a morning and evening thing.  Can’t wait to get out there and can’t wait to tell you about it.

Have you made it out on the ice recently?  How did it go?  I’d love you hear your stories as well.

Tight lines!


11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pierre Masson on January 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Great fishing report! I’ll be on the ice for the first time this Saturday. Can’t wait!


  2. Great to hear. Where are you going to be fishing? Be safe out there.


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