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This article will cover the top 25 ice fishing tips and techniques while using tip ups. Knowledge is power and this article will give you the power to make the most of your tip ups. We recently wrote an article about the 5 best Ice fishing tip ups, so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.
#1 Before You Go: Tip Up Pregame
Check your equipment before you head out. Get your tip up in tip top shape by using a fresh line. Check your flag and its mechanics to make sure it’s all in working order. Nothing is worse than putting in all the work on the ice to realize your tip ups not functioning. Also, make sure you have all your other gear, dress warm and know the weather conditions.
#2 Day or Night: Best Time To Tip Up Ice Fish
Are you a morning person or night person? Either way these ice fishing tips give you options. The murky waters are often best during dusk and dawn and will put you on trout. But, the low light hours are a hit for most fish. Clear water fishing after dark can be the most productive. Panfish and perch are a good targets for the afternoon lines. Walleyes and crappies are on the move at night.
#3 Get Ready: Setting Up The Tip Up
In a clockwise direction wrap your line around the spool. And, make sure you do this wrap evenly. Use a braided or monofilament line with a 30 or 40 lb test. Braided lines are great because they do not break easily and provide high knot strength. Attach the swivel, leader, snap and hook.
#4 Spread Out: Best Way To Utilize Your Tip Up While Ice Fishing
Spread tip ups apart by 20 yards or more. But, make sure they all remain in your line of sight. Be aware of others who are fishing the area, be courteous and don’t drill to close. Because the same tip up could be used by another anglers in the area, make sure you mark it with your name to avoid any confusion.
#5 Playing By The Rules: Ice Fishing Tip Up Laws
Learn your local fishing laws / regulations. Laws limiting how many tip up devices used per person varies greatly depending on where you ice fish. So, know before you go. In addition, there may be regulations regarding the distance you can be away from your tip up devices.
#6 Be Aggressive: Using Multiple Tip Ups When Ice Fishing
Tip ups allow you to fish multiple ice holes at once. So, don’t be shy, use a few tip ups simultaneously. Set your tip ups at various depths, locations, and with different baits. This opens your ice fishing experience to more varieties of fish and tight lines. But, remember to put them close enough together so you can keep an eye on your flags.
#7 Check Often: Tips Ups Will Need Your Attention
One of the best ice fishing tips is don’t put to much faith in the tip ups when you walk away. Small fish may steal your bait without tripping the flag. And, there is always a possibility of freezing over depending on which tip up you are using. Make your rounds and check your tip ups often to make sure they are still good to go.
#8 Where To Place Tip Ups: Finding The Ice Fishing Sweet Spot
Keep an eye out for weeds, docks, rocks and structures. Setting your tipups where bait fish hide will lead you to the fish who hunt them. And, figure out the direction of the current and fish upstream.
#9 Stagger Your Depths: Technique For Ice Fishing With Tip Ups
When using multiple tip ups be sure to stagger the depths. Drill holes and set your tip up lines ranging from shallow to 15 feet deep depending on the body of water and the fish you are targeting. Use a fish finder for guidance. Now, find the thermocline (steep temperature gradient) and this will help you figure out where the fish are feeding..
#10 SHHHHHH: Silence Is Golden When Ice Fishing Using Tip Ups
Spooked fish are the fish not caught. Fish sense movement on the ice and feel the vibrations. When you make noise or move around the vibrations travel long distances under water. So, they will mark you as prey and take off.
#11 Bait: Best Ice Fishing Tip Up Baits
To get that flag to tip we recommend using live bait. Fresh water fish are drawn to the movements of live bait. Great options include wax worms, shiners, sucker minnows and spikes. Which bait you use is dependent on the fish you want to catch. Live bait needs to be stored properly, are stinky and more of a hassle. But, compared to lures for ice fishing with tip ups they are worth the effort. Since your tip ups stand stagnant you want your bait moving.
#12 Dead Bait: Technique For Ice Fishing With A Tip Up
Pike is an example of a fish that will bite well on dead bait. Some popular dead baits for pike are herring, eel and whitefish. Cut a line down both sides of the bait fish before dropping it into the water. This will allow for the smell and juices to spread through the water. Dead bait is easier to store and work with however being stationary may not attract as many bites.
#13 Line: Best Ice Fishing Lines To Use With Tip Ups
Some great options for ice fishing line while using tip up are the Woodstock braided nylon and the Trilene XT. Everyone has their favorites but these two work great for most ice fishing anglers. The main objective is to make sure you choice a line that will not freeze, is strong and is low-stretch.
#14 Leader Lines Tip: Best Leaders For Tip Up Ice Fishing
The Woodstock braided nylon line works great when attached to a fluorocarbon leader. This combo will help you land the northerns and walleyes. The Berkley Trilene XT is a nice match with the Berkley Steelon leaders for catching pike.
#15 Snap Connection: Wont Twist While Ice Fishing Using Tip Ups
Use a snap and attach it to a barrel swivel. Because it rotates, the snap barrel combo helps prevent your leader/line from twisting. Snap swivels will also reduce line breakage. Two snaps good for ice fishing include fast and duo. It is a matter of preference but lean towards smaller sizes to avoid distraction to the fish.
#16 Planning Ahead: Best Way To Keep Your Tip Ups Active While Ice Fishing
Before you head out, tie some barrel swivels to a variety of back up leaders at home. Now, you can make a quick change of your leaders to target a different fish. These ice fishing tips will allow you fish longer by not wasting valuable ice time. Another advantage is that your hands will enjoy the additional glove time.
#17 Hook: Best Ice Fishing Tip Up Hooks
What fish are you looking to catch? Hooks depend on your answer. Bluegills and crappies use a longer aberdeen hook. Great for minnow bait and they flex preventing breakage when fishing bush water. Octopus Hooks size 4 or 6 will do the trick for the walleyes and northerns. And, use a 6 or 8 for trout.
#18 Attaching The Bait: Hook Technique For Tip Up Ice Fishing
The best method for hooking your minnow is to go lightly through the back skin. Hook it so the minnow is horizontal in the water. When you periodically check your lines if the minnow has died replace it. Another technique is to hook them right above the tail. Both methods allow the minnow to attempt swimming attracting fish towards their natural movements.
#19 Fish Finder: Best Tool To Use With Tip Ups
Where are the fish? A fish finder can show you. They compliment your tip up by guiding you where to set up. Using sonar, these clever tools will help you determine the depth, quantity and location of fish. In addition, some models can detect underwater structures, vegetation and have a flasher. Because there is a huge variety of fish finders on the market we recommend you shop around. They are an investment worth making.
#20 Time Matters Tip: Best Way To Keep Your Tip Up Flag Flying
If you find that your tip up isn’t producing any bites then after 30 minutes move. And, this is where your fish finder comes in handy. Fish school, get spooked, and react to changing weather conditions so be prepared to try a different hole. Tip ups that are flagging will give you an indication to which direction the fish are moving. Be flexible and stay on the move if need be.
#21 Setting The Hook: Patience is a Virtue
When your flag raises there is no need to rush. One of the biggest mistakes tip up users make is being to anxious. Wait until the spool stops. Let the fish stop running and don’t be fooled by their stop & go. Make sure the spool has stopped spinning for approximately 20 seconds. Once the spool stops and you can feel the tension jerk your line to set the hook. To avoid re-spooling, don’t pull to hard.
#22 Split Shot Sinker: Best Sinker To Use With Tip Ups
When using live bait you want to add a splint shot sinker. This helps to keep your bait weighted down to the depth you choose. The best types of sinkers for tip up ice fishing are the walking and cone sinker. The cone sinker is better for weedy areas.
#23 After Your Catch: Technique for handling your Ice Fishing Catch
After the hook is set, pick up the tip up and place it on the side of the hole. Begin to pull your line up, go slow and steady. Try to avoid hitting the fish against the hole and try to bring it out head first. For catch and release don’t lay the fish on the ice or it will freeze. Remove the hook and gingerly lower the fish back into the water. Holding on to the tail, use back and forth motions until the fish kicks on its own. Set your tip up again for the next bite.
#24 Wrapping It Up: Taking Care Of Your Tip Up For Your Next Adventure
Most anglers use a 5 gallon bucket to store and transport their tip ups. Once you are home lay the tip up out a towel to air dry. Air drying helps to keep the mechanics working with out rusting until next time. And to avoid tangling your line use rubber bands or velcro straps.
#25 Knowledge Is Power: Ice Fishing Tips Of Advice
Make sure to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available to you. If you are a novice then ask an experienced angler for their ice fishing tips and techniques. Don’t be shy, most will be happy to help and will tell you some amazing fishing stories along the way.