Ice fishing rods come in many forms but all have one thing in common. They are short in length as no casting is required. Most shops will sell the rods with small plastic reels attached which are also often pre-loaded with the nylon required. It is possible to find ice fishing rods and reels which are more sophisticated and can also be more pleasurable to use.
Ice fishing with jigs can amount for huge catches of Perch all over Scandinavia. Small simple lures are also available for Whitefish in most fishing tackle shops.
The jigging technique is a simple affair with the lure being lowered into the hole and worked typically just off the bottom by twitching the rod up and down. It will pay also to try in different depths of water as quite often fish will be higher up in the water column.
As with normal jigging the fish will very often take the lure on the fall rather than the rise. You should aim to keep in contact with the lure at all times by avoiding slack line and striking if you notice the line not falling back through the water as it normally does as the chances are something has grabbed it.
The technique used for bottom fishing is similar to the technique used when ledger fishing in open water. One benefit of course is that you can feed your free offerings such as maggots with far greater accuracy as you are literally sitting on top of the fish. The bite is indicated by watching the rod tip in the same way you would watch a quiver tip. Bites can be quite savage as you are in close proximity to the fish and length of line is much shorter than when bank fishing.
Ice fishing for Pike can be practised using either lures or with live and dead baits. The addition of a wire trace is a must. Note, it you are fishing two or more holes as is common when Pike fishing, be sure to check on a frequent basis that the holes have not refrozen oven.
Pop-up indicators that use a flag attached to a short arm that is under tension with a spring can be a useful aid when ice fishing for Pike. They provide an early indication that something has taken the bait and will allow you to react quickly and prevent deep hooking of the Pike.
When ice fishing for Pike it is a good idea to create multiple holes in different spots and rest these before you start fishing. As in any form of fishing, noise and disturbance will spook the fish. This period of rest will enable them to regain their confidence and feed without fear.
Locating the fish under the ice can seem like a daunting task and can be if you do not have any knowledge of the water and it's features. The fishes behaviour and favourite habitats do not really change other than the shallow homes will become inaccessible to them due to the ice. The same concepts of fish liking to hang around structures and shelter also applies to fish under the ice. Areas of depth variation, rocky bottoms and underwater islands are all worth visiting.
There is no need to search for the deepest water as quite often the best areas can be where the water is 3-10 meters deep. Depth sounders with a portable battery can help with finding features or shoals of fish and have started to become more commonly seen in recent years out on the ice.
Ice fishermen will always leave visible traces where they have been fishing. As long as there is no fresh snow fall, an ice fishing hole will remain visible long after it has refrozen. There is no better way to find good fishing spots than local knowledge. Numerous open or frozen over holes can be a sign that the area is worth fishing. It can also pay to reuse someone else hole after they have left. Not only does it save you a little time and effort but if the previous occupants has tipped the remains of his bait tin into the hole it will also help attract any fish in the vicinity.
Going out on to any ice can be dangerous and lead to loss of life. There are people every year in Scandinavia that fall through ice and lose their life. It happens not only to the inexperience but also seasoned anglers. Ice can be especially dangerous at the back end of the year in the spring when the sun has weakened it. If the ice is under 10 cm thick you would be better off avoiding it as you could be asking for trouble. If in doubt the best approach is to avoid it.
Always take a set of hand held ice-picks with you when ice fishing. These can be bought in most fishing tackle shops and are designed to be hung around the neck so that they are instantly available to grip the ice so you can pull yourself out should the unfortunate happen.
The novice ice fishing angler or those just wanting to experience ice-fishing would be wise seeking out an ice-fishing guide for a days tuition. Not only will the guide be able to show you the ropes & best locations but more importantly they will keep you safe.
Coarse Fishing is a term that is strictly speaking used to define fishing for non-game fish (Salmon, Trout, Char, etc). Whilst coarse fishing does include predatory fish such as Pike & Zander, I will cover here fishing for the non-predatory species including Roach, Rudd, Bream & Carp.
Coarse Fishing is very popular in the UK and many central European countries but less so in Finland. This is probably due to the fishing culture where most anglers like to eat what they catch and species such as Roach don’t make good eating.
Coarse Fish are found through-out the country with large catches of Roach & Bream possible from many rivers and lakes and the Baltic Sea. Some of the southern rivers hold Chub with Carp and Tench present in many lakes in the south Finland region albeit not in huge quantities. Crucian Carp can be found as far north as the Oulu region and can provide a welcome addition to the days fishing with some fantastic specimens possible.
Ice fishing in Scandinavia is a very popular pastime once the winter sets in and waters freeze over. It can be practised on the Baltic Sea, lakes and rivers throughout the region. Depending on the weather, the ice fishing season typically runs from December to April. There are not really any limits on the type of fish that can be caught but some species are definitely easier than other. There are many Perch caught by young and old anglers alike on very simple tackle that does not break the bank. There are no heavy costs needed to equip yourself with the ice fishing gear used in Scandinavia making it easy for young anglers to get started in fishing.
The techniques and tackle used for ice fishing can vary from very simple outfits available for a few Euro's to the more specialized gear for those who prefer to have top quality rods, reels & lures. The most expensive item that you are likely to require is the ice drill itself. A recent import to the ice fishing scene in Scandinavia has been the motorised ice drill but unless you plan to become a serious full time ice fisherman the standard manual ice drill is more than sufficient.
The best time for ice fishing can be early winter and early spring. Early spring can be especially good as you tend to have more day light hours and many days when the temperature will be just above freezing point which of course stops the ice hole and tackle freezing over.
Once you have created the hole, a ladle will be required to remove the broken ice and slush and keep it free throughout the day.
The terminal tackle use for ice fishing is determined by the type of fishing you want to do. The most common form is jigging with small lures either with a bare hook or baited with a worm or maggots.
Ice fishing jigging lures are freely available in fishing tackle and other shops throughout Scandinavia. There are many forms, colours and sizes available. Lure are available that can be fished in a horizontal manner with the eye on top of the lures back or vertical lures where the eye is at the top.
Bottom fishing with a simple weight on the line and baited hook can also be a very effective method. The bait can be anything that you would normally use for open water fishing including worm, maggots, bread, corn, fish, etc. Ground-bait can also be used as an attractant if required. Using ground-bait & feeding free offerings of maggots in the late spring can result in some surprisingly good catches of Roach & Bream.
A tackle box that double-up as as seat is a useful investment. You should be aware of sitting in thawed out surface water on the warmer days as it often gets colder later in the day. You may find yourself with a struggle on your hands trying to free anything that has become frozen into the ice including straps on bags or the bottom of the tackle box.
The first pre-requisite for ice fishing is access to the water below the ice. For this an ice fishing drill is used. Ice fishing drills can be found in any fishing tackle and many other general shops in Scandinavia during winter time. The standard drill has a replaceable drill bit with a diameter between 110mm – 200mm. For small species such as Perch and Roach the best option is a small diameter drill as it is easier to create the hole in the ice which can be around 1 meter thick towards the end of the winter and as hard as concrete. The larger drills are required for bigger species but also require more effort to create the hole. During the course of a day you may need to create several holes to stay on the fish.
Ice picks are designed to be worn around the neck so they are always available when needed. Make sure you do not go out on to the ice without a set
Ice fishing lures are available in many forms, sizes and colours
Ice fishing rods can be bought as kits with the reel, line and often some lures included
The ice ladle is an essential piece of equipment to remove the broken ice and slush from the hole
The standard ice fishing drill can create the hole in a few seconds. Later in the year as the ice thickens and hardens this can extend to several minutes with the larger diameter drills used for Pike or Bream fishing