It’s no secret that Lake Winnipeg has some of the best ice action for huge walleye fishing in North America. I’m always looking for ways to better my odds on such a big lake.
Lake Winnipeg AKA BIG WINDY can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I remember venturing out on Big Windy crossing a little crack in the morning only to return later in the evening to find it has opened up and we couldn’t cross it. That’s not a good thing at the end of the day now having to find an alternative safe route back to shore. Or spend the night on the ice.
Other days you venture out only to find out that crack has turned into a ice ridge and you can’t cross it because it’s over 6 feet high. So you have no choice but to fish near the ice ridge or find a way around it. At first I would think to myself well at least I’m fishing and that’s better then nothing. But my groups would be setting hooks on walleye all day along the ridge.
It turns out that an ice ridge is a pretty good place to ice fish after all.
If you think about it there’s structure and oxygen and both are bait fish magnets. So now that you have minnows it’s only a matter of time before the walleye move in for the kill. So how do you fish an ice ridge? Well I like to fish deep water on Lake Winnipeg. Lake Winnipeg is a shallow lake so if you can find 16 feet that’s a good thing. So I would try to find an area any where from 13 to 16 feet deep along side of the ridge.
Now that I found the depth I was looking for I drill a lot of holes spread out over a large area. We call this grid fishing. My group would spread out to cover ice. When we have located the walleye we would all move to that area and fish. Grid fishing is a very effective way to find walleye. I use an Ion electric ice auger because it’s light and drills fast. On two battery’s I can drill over 50 holes.
On Big Windy you’re allowed two lines per angler so my 1st line will be what I call the dead stick. It’s an ice fishing rod that sits in a rod holder with a live or frozen minnow on a flasher jig about a foot from the bottom. If your using live minnows hook the minnow through the tail. Then use a Bait Button to hold the minnow on the jig as we fish barbless in Manitoba. I will work my 2nd line with a rattle bait or a flutter spoon. I would tip both with a minnow as well and once again use a Bait Button to hold the minnow on the hook.
I’m going to give you one last tip. When your reeling in a walleye stand up next to the hole. Make sure your line is in the center so you don’t hook the side of the hole. I’ve seen way to many huge walleye lost right at the hole.
So the next time your on fishing hard water, give an ice ridge a shot, you might be happy you did!
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