Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 22

Use a fish finder
It can be an investment, but fish finders work,
Amadio said. They not only alert you to where fish
are but also at what depth they're feeding.
Fish finders can pick up your jig, lure or bait,
which means you see where you're fishing compared to where the fish are. Walleye and perch, for
example, will eat on the bottom, but trout are often

suspended and actively eating. Fish finders help you
to identify both.
Many ice anglers use units commonly referred to
as flashers. These units operate on a similar principle
as the traditional fish finder, but they create a smaller
more sensitive cone of sound.

Do some research
Call a local fisheries biologist, warden or marina
to find out more information about a new lake or
reservoir before you step onto the ice, Kittel said.
Not only will biologists tell you what they're seeing in creel surveys and netting operations, they'll
also tell you places to watch for.
" Some of our lakes have tendencies to form poor
ice or pockets to avoid because of currents or hot
springs, " Kittel said.
Wardens, park rangers, biologists or local fishing
shops can alert you to those weak areas, though still
be alert and cautious anytime you're on ice and never
drive a vehicle onto the ice.

Use a map
Just as hunters spend hours poring over maps
looking for the best habitat for elk, deer or pronghorn, anglers should consider looking at maps to
John Walrath, Wyoming Game and Fish Department fisheries biologist, demonstrates how a fish
finder can help increase catch rates. (Photo by Chris Martin/WGFD)

Gear up for the ice
At its most basic, ice fishing doesn't require much more
than a way to drill holes, rod and reel and some bait.
But sometimes adding a few more items can increase
your enjoyment. Kittel, Flores and Amadio recommend
the following:
Fish finder: They vary by cost. Research the best one
for you.
Shelter: Given Wyoming's wind, consider buying or making
a hut to protect you from the elements. Many break down
and fit into sleds, offering a secondary use as a gear hauler.
Layers: Like any Wyoming winter activity, plan to wear
plenty of layers and stay away from cotton. When wet -
even with sweat - cotton pulls heat from your skin and
can lead to hypothermia.
Tip-ups: On lakes and reservoirs that allow more than two
lines, tip-ups increase your chances of success. Look into
ones that span the width of the hole with an insulated cover
to prevent water from freezing around the line.
Lures, jigs and bait: Check regulations for restrictions

22 | January 2021	

on bait and the use of live
baitfish.
Decent poles and reels:
Remember, cheaper reels
tend to freeze up in really
cold weather.
Portable heater: These are
most useful in huts, but are
also useful to warm hands
after handling fish or setting
lines.
After arriving at a new spot on
Augers: Hand augers work
the ice, two anglers discuss which
fine, but if you plan to drill
fishing method they'll use.
a lot of holes you may want
(Photo by Chris Martin/WGFD)
to stick with an electric or
gas-powered auger.
Extra blades or sharpening tool: Whether sand is lay- Snacks and warm drinks: Ice fishing may be cold,
ered in between ice or you accidentally hit a rock with but it should also be fun. Bring plenty of food and warm
the auger, bring along a way to keep your blades sharp drinks to make the day more enjoyable and so you can
to keep fishing.
stay out there longer.



Wyoming Wildlife magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wyoming Wildlife magazine

Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 1
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