HOOKED. It was a solid weekend of ice fishing for many as conditions aligned for great trips on the hardwater. Those temps and light winds will stick around for another couple of days before a front sweeps over the region, plunging us into the deep freeze at least for a spell. Snow models for the state keep backing down however. We talk about minnows and how to hook ‘em in today’s Three Things, so you’re ready for your next ice outing.
(Featured Photo: What’s the Scoop? A startled school of minnows swims wildly in a bait bucket. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Mon 1/8 – Still temperate. Hi 33, Lo 20, Winds L&V.
Tomorrow: Tue 1/9 – Nice day, then dicey. Hi 30, Lo 20, Winds S@6.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 8:26AM Sunset: 5:13PM
Moonrise: 12:16AM Moonset 12:27PM
Overhead: 6:27AM Underfoot: 6:50PM
Moon Phase: Last Quarter @ 4:25PM
EDGE HOUR: 12:00 – 1:00PM. Catch the lunch bite with moonset and calm conditions in today’s Edge Hour.
HEADS UP. Hooking a full minnow through the lips or head gives the illusion of a baitfish nibbling at a piece of food, and allows you to impart action to the body and tail. Typically done with horizontal jigs or the treble hook of an ice spoon, the body of the minnow dances when an angler imparts motion on the lure. The further back on the head you go, the more damage you do. A skull-hooked minnow stays on better, but is dead pretty quick.
BACK TO IT. Rigging a minnow with back-hooking typically occurs under a slip float setup on the ice. Make sure the lightly run the hook through the meaty area at the top of the back near the dorsal fin to avoid deep hooking or striking the spine. When done properly, the minnow will move freely and have life-like action. Obviously the smaller the hook (think size 6 or 8) the less impact on the bait, but match your tackle to the fish you’re pursuing, as predators might require larger size 4 or 2 hooks for a solid connection.
TAIL END. Tail-hooking a minnow is one of the least-used methods of offering live bait, but it can have an unusual effect on predators as it is something different. A tail-hooked minnow tends to struggle more as that is where the fish gets most of its propulsion. This struggle can mimic an injured or dying baitfish and help convert neutral and even negative predators that see a “must-eat” easy meal before them. When all else fails, try something different!