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Author Topic: Finding Fish  (Read 1105 times)

Offline jcboyer

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Finding Fish
« on: Jan 15, 2022, 12:07 AM »
Does anyone have tips on finding good ice fishing locations? From what Ive read, fishing flat areas with steep drop offs seems to be a common suggestion. And figuring out what depth to fish also seems like an important factor. Ive started using Navionics to look at water body topo maps, but are there any other tools youd recommend? This is also my first post to get access to the Montana Ice Conditions board, so sorry for the broad question.

Offline Doeslayer

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Re: Finding Fish
« Reply #1 on: Jan 15, 2022, 01:01 AM »
Well to start.... What kinds of fish are you looking to catch... That will help decide what locations to start with
Catch and release, into the grease!
"gotta be somebody needs some killin" ~ Major Payne

Offline missoulafish

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Re: Finding Fish
« Reply #2 on: Jan 15, 2022, 06:51 AM »

So you're saying you're actually putting effort into finding some fish instead of jumping on here or Facebook and demanding to be told where someone caught a fish or begging for everyone else's work while using some kind of manipulative angle?? That's very O.G of you 🤘.
Bathymetric maps are a great start. So is satelite imagery. Look for weed beds, color changes, under water humps and depressions. Points  and bays are great too, anything that looks out of the ordinary and concentrate fish for some reason. If there is no helpful satelite imagery of bathymetric maps, drilling lots of holes can't be beat. Depth species prefer vary between water bodies. You might catch a bunch of fish in 6' of water and then drive to another lake to  fish the same  species and they are all hanging out in 28' of water. You can start to make generalizations as you drill more holes and cover ground. Start shallow and drill lots, working out to deep water and hole  hop. Few minutes at each hole until you start seeing fish and adjust from there when you start seeing marks. The more you move the more you will learn. Experience is tough to beat and you don't get a lot of it sitting in one spot hoping fish will come to you. Plus,  putting in effort is satisfying.

Offline R-K

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Re: Finding Fish
« Reply #3 on: Jan 15, 2022, 01:17 PM »
Varies between species and body of water. But basically, fish are after the best food, security, and water temps.

Transition lines give you the option of hitting two features at once- like a sand-gravel, rock-mud, weed-sand, etc. Dropoffs offer a place for predators to slide up onto feeding flats from deeper security, or to corral baitfish that don't want to go above a "depth ceiling". The what/when/where is constantly changing, even to the hour of the day, but you can piece some general rules together- crappies love deep basins outside of spawning bays, perch love deep flats with bloodworms/crawfish, bluegill like weeds, etc. Basically- drill lots of holes in likely areas, then hop around to find fish (less effective in shallow water, where walking will spook fish). Fish finder is a huge advantage here.

Love the fact that you're not trying to look for everybody's honey hole. Good luck!
Trying to stay on the right side of the ground, and the ice.

Offline doublehaul

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Re: Finding Fish
« Reply #4 on: Jan 18, 2022, 09:26 PM »
Great suggestions and props for truly doing a little research before your next trip! Good luck.
So many fish, so little time.

Offline sra61

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Re: Finding Fish
« Reply #5 on: Jan 20, 2022, 10:53 AM »
In this day and age another limitless source of information is Youtube. There are videos on everything. Not necessarily specific locations but for sure tons of information detailing what kinds of structure to look for with different species, and pretty detailed lure and presentation options for nearly every kind of fish.

Offline GrizzFire

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Re: Finding Fish
« Reply #6 on: Jan 20, 2022, 08:33 PM »
Welcome to the forum! I would second maps of all varieties, YouTube, and the other tips said before, but also doing some biology research on the exact species is a great way to learn as well. See if there is any articles written specifically on that body of water or even as broad as the same state/region from an academic perspective, say a thesis paper by a college grad student on the diet of your target species. Read up on their seasonal behavior and then test it on the water. This has been monumental in helping with my catch ratio on new water. Also, calling a local biologist for the area and asking specific questions is another great idea. Good luck!


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