WHAT’S THAT WORM? While nightcrawlers are the dominant summer worm bait for fish from sunnies to walleyes, they’re tough to find in the winter and not nearly as effective because the cold water restricts their wiggly action. We talk about three of our on-ice favorites that can be subbed in for the same species in today’s Three Things.
(Photo: Spikes and mousies wiggle around in a crush-proof bait puck. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Mon 1/22 – Calm Continues. Hi 27, Lo 12, Winds L&V
Tomorrow: Tue 1/23 – Above Average Again. Hi 32, Lo 15, Winds NW@9
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 8:17AM Sunset: 5:32PM
Moonrise: 11:10AM Moonset Fol. Day
Overhead: 5:14PM Underfoot: 4:51AM
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent (32% Full)
EDGE HOUR: Your advantage comes at sunset again with moon overhead and calm conditions in the Edge Hour.
WAX ON. Waxworms are perhaps the most commonly-purchased non-minnow ice fishing bait in North Dakota. Available at most tackle and bait shops, these white worms with large orangish-brown heads are the larvae of the wax moth and a favorite among perch and crappie fishermen, especially when the minnow bite is off, or the fish are picky and prefer something smaller. For storing all of these larval baits, keep them refrigerated under 40 degrees, or they will pupate!
SPIKE IT. The spike – which is just some great marketer’s name for maggot – is a smaller insectoid offering that pairs perfectly for bluegill fishing, but also is effective with perch and crappies. Maggots can be colored in a variety of hues, but red is often the most popular. Hooked on small jigs by the fat end and twitched nervously, these baits provide the action and the flavor that ices bull bluegills. If fish are aggressive, or the jig is slightly bigger, try tipping the jig with two spikes for an enticing “kicking” motion.
MOUSE TRAP. Mousies are the larvae of the drone fly, their long “tail” is actually a breathing apparatus, for when their bodies are buried deep in…crap, literally. That appendage gives mousies their appeal, and a number of ice fishing plastics mimic the twitching and waving action of it. Great for bluegills as well, mousies aren’t as readily available across ND but can be purchased through a number of online bait retailers.