fishing on hardwater tips !
1) Gather as much info on the lake as you can. The fish and Game home page has a lot of maps of the stocked lakes in the area.
Talk to the Fish & Game folks, they have great info and they spend all summer test fishing the area lakes. Do NOT listen to the
people you talk to on the lakes. Many will be area private landowners who will try to discourage you from fishing in "their" lake.
2) Once on the lake, 80% of the time you will be fishing within 30 yards of the shore line. Look for points and edges where there
may be underwater structure or a drop off in water depth. If you can locate underwater springs which are often clearly visible by
different (and often thin!) ice conditions, try there. All are ice fishing hotspots.
3) Take the extra time to walk away from the public access. The fishing ALWAYS seems to be better away from the public
access. I will almost guarantee that if you have similar habit but one is closer to the public access, it will have less fish because it
gets fished harder.
4) When all else fails, look for holes where there are signs that other people have caught fish. Not necessarily the best way since
they may have been pulling up 8 inchers instead of 18 inchers but a good place to start.
5) Be prepared with the right gear to stay WARM! Nothing makes for a miserable day like being cold! Remember, COTTON
KILLS!!!! Layers of polypro underwear with layers of polar fleece and wool. Good wind protection is a must. Another trick I
learned is to wear neoprene chest waders over polar fleece sweat pants. You can sit on the ice and the neoprene keeps you dry
with good insulation from the cold wind.
LINE: Unless you are fishing Big Lake Char, Lake Trout, or Pike, 8 pound test is like cable. I prefer 4 pound test when I know
the fish have been hit hard and the biggest fish I will catch is in the 16 inch class. Iíll step up to 6 or 8 pound test when the fish
approach the20 inch plus class. While the degree of difference may be subtle, from experience, light line always outfished thick
line. Now can you land it? Thatís the challenge! But you gotta get the bite first.
Rods: For bait fishing I prefer using the normal ultralight rods I use in open water. It allows me to use the rod with or without the
bobber. Also the extra length allows to me to fish bait within reach while still allowing me enough distance to jig using a shorter
jigging rod. For the shorter traditional ice fishing rods, I use stouter rods than most. I really like to have enough backbone to set
the hook, Especially if you fish in over 10 feet of water. Also buy rods that have oversized eyes. They are much less prone to
Reels: If you plan on catching anything over 18 inches you will need a reel with good drag. My favorite reel on my jigging stick
is my trout fly reels. Simple, nothing to really freeze up, good drag, and light. Baitcasters work great since itís easy to dispense
line. Really anything will work, just make sure itís winterized so it doesnít freeze up.
Hooks and other: I use nothing but the sharpest hooks ice fishing. Sometimes the fish just mouth the lures and they have solid
mouths. There is good reason they call the saltwater version of rainbows "steelheads"! I use gamakatsu hooks for my baitfishing
and I swap out all my trebles to gamakatsu. If you donít like gamakatuís carry a hook sharpener or try the other premium brands
like Owner or VMC. This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give. It will DOUBLE your hook up rate.
Bait and Lures: Weíll discuss those later. But at MINIMUM take single eggs, shrimp (cooked or raw), and one or two different
sizes of small krockadiles or Swedish pimples. Add a small swivel, small split shot, and a float. This will cover 90% of the trout
fishing baits. Lately I have been using a smaller herring dodger ( a big attractor spoon often used during trolling). It not only
seems to attract the fish, but once in the area I feel the fish hit more aggressively due to the fact that they perceive there is a
competing fish for the bait. So far it has worked out great!
7) FINALLYÖEXPERIMENT! In late 2001, I started using a small (size 000 or 00) herring dodger placed about 8 to 12 inches
on top of my lure of choice. It worked out great! I recalled fishing with a similar set up many years ago when the fish seemed
attracted by the spoon but only would hit bait. I used a large pixie spoon and below it I had a small glob of roe. This new
experiment definitely helped me catch more fish.
The time to experiment is when the fishing is good. Then you can better judge which lures are getting more hits. Most of the time
we tend to experiment when the fish arenít hitting. If the old faithful lures arenít working, the chances are nothing else will work
either. Fishing is usually not black and white (i.e. one lure catches 100 fish and the other catches zero). Usually itís the better lure
catches 100 fish and the other lure catches 75 fish. If one lure is catching zero, the chances are the other one will not catch fish
Try new ideasÖas long as they are legal. One example I might try this year is hooking up my portable air compressor for flat tires
onto a air stone(like for fish tanks) and with extended tubing drop it to the bottom. Iím sure the bubbles and extra oxygen will not
only attract fish, but will also energize them. It sounds too good of tactic to be legal..I better check. One idea along these lines
that seemed ridiculous, but has worked for me, is as follows. It seemed like a lot of the time we caught fish as soon as cleaned
out the hole. Maybe the noise actually attracts them or the burst of oxygen when the auger blades mix the open air into the water
around the hole. But when it gets slow, I will drop the auger in and thrash it around a bit or if I am using the gas auger, put it
down the hole and full throttle. Watch out because itíll spit out water, but many times I have caught fish right after that.
Another form of experimenting comes in trying new areas. In the Mat-su and Kenai area, you can try 3 or 4 lakes in a day. I
couldnít believe the quality and quantity of fish that we are pulling up on the area lakes. While I want to keep my friends so the
fishing logs remain anonymous for the small streams and lakes, all the lakes I fish on can be found in fish and gameís book on
the area stocked lakes. Can you believe the 20 plus inch rainbows you see in our logs are coming out of a stocked lake?!?! Yup,
and if you look at F&Gís list of stocked lakes, youíll find hundreds!
Theres a stock and spawn small deep pond behind the long lake and kepler bradley system, fished it back in 2010 and past years, its got very large fish in it, Reckon if theres no winter kill in it or not but its a lake to give it a try, a good hike back in there but its very rewarding if theres any fish left in there, 20-30 inch trout in there or some larger. It mite be fenced in by now not sure.
make sure you check the regs on the lakes as some have some restrections on them like C&R only no bait an stuff like that