Ice fishing during midwinter slowdown - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ice fishing during midwinter slowdown

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Wildlife experts say, in the middle of winter, ice fishing can be hit or miss.  Usually, fish settle into a more dormant state after ice forms on the water.

The chief of Iowa's Department of Natural Resources' fisheries bureau said all it takes to get a bite, is a little more strategy.

"There really isn't a bad time to fish, even in the dog days of winter," said Joe Larscheid, "but the most productive times during midwinter are the first light and then last light of the day. Fish will bite all day, but you're going to catch the most fish in those 'low light' hours."

He also recommended finding deeper water with some structure nearby.

"Look for water depths of about two-thirds, maybe three-fourths of the maximum depth of the lake as a starting point. This deeper water during the midwinter is usually holding fish. Once you're out there, look around to see where other anglers are going, then make any changes in strategy depending on your results," said Larscheid.

The structure might be the outside of a creek channel, or even deep brush, pallets or stake beds.  Larscheid said your should look for water that is a degree or two warmer than it is closer to the ice.

One more hint - size matters.

"Smaller is always better. Use the smallest hooks, lightest lines; then wax worms, maggots, that sort of thing.  Use the smallest you can find to get the job done," Larscheid added.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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