Early Ice Fishing Tips for Pan Fish Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

December 18, 2015 1:36 pm0 commentsViews: 98

Now you have it, now you don’t seems to this year’s ice situation. But we can be pretty sure that global warming or not, there will be ice sooner or later and that means it will soon be panfishing time again. We have gathered some useful articles for you to ponder while waiting for safe ice to form. The first come from the Globe Gazette in Iowa…ice fishing

First there’s ice, then there isn’t. I promise, ice is on the way. When it gets here, if you keep the following reminders in mind, you’ll catch more fish through the ice.

On early ice, it’s very important to keep quiet, and also to keep movement to a minimum. Early ice will be thin, it will be clear, and there probably won’t be much snow on it. This is especially important when fishing in shallow water. You’re fishing straight down, so the fish will be within just a few feet of you.

Fish in shallow water don’t like movement from above, and they don’t like noise. Get to your spot, drill a few holes, and hunker down.

Read more early ice fishing tips here


Now where should be fish?  If you’re in Wisconsin, you may want to check out the suggestions from Wisconsin’s Post Crescent.


The area around Madison is full of good early lakes and sloughs that can freeze early and by early I mean the first or second week of December. But, this will not be the case this year. The big lake, Lake Mendota rarely freezes before Christmas and lately the mild winters have delayed that till January. One of the first places to fish in the general Madison area is the “Triangle”: area on Madison’s Isthmus. This is the area around Brittingham Park andMonona Bay and is good for both early crappies and bluegills though they can run small and require some sorting for a good meal.

See more Wisconsin spots here: 



Need a little inspiration? Here’s a video from someone who loves the idea of being on a hot spot when the gills are biting.

Published on Dec 10, 2015

Hot panfish bite on a small lake near Bemidji, MN. We were out on December 2, 2015 on about three inches of ice. Filmed on my GoPro. All of these fish were caught within an hour and then I stopped filming.

Iowegians may want to check out the Okobojis… Here is a recap of last years spots as reported in the Dickenson County News.

For years there has been very little ice fishing done on East Okoboji. Sure, there was a little bit out off of Parks Marina for walleyes, but that was about it. Then came late last winter. The last month of the season the west half of East Okoboji was dotted with towns of portable shelters. Most of the fish taken were yellow bass, but there were days where lots of perch and crappies were taken. Tiny ice jigs tipped with plastic, silver wigglers or wax worms will work well as will a smaller Puppet Minnow, Kastmaster and Shuck’s Jigger Minnow. Clam’s new Rattlin’ Blade Spoon could be a hot bait.

Read more about East and West Okoboji here:

The Occasional Fisher was developed for the average Joe or Jill, who wishes he or she could get out fishing more than they do.




Leave a Reply