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Lake Michigan Ice Fishing

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Ice Fishing for Northern Pike with Tip-ups and Live Bait

     Friday, April 10, 2020
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Ice Fishing for Northern Pike with Live Bait
Ice fishing for Northern Pike is popular in many of the bays, harbors and marinas on Lake Michigan. During the year the pike disappear into the depths of the lake feeding on Lake Perch and other forage fish. Each fall some of the pike migrate into the protected waters of the bays, harbors and marinas. They will utilize the available structure in the area. Harbor and marina pike will locate near weed beds, rock walls, and under piers. Tip ups are set near each structure area. Fluorocarbon leader material from 20 to 50 pound test (30 inches long) is used to attach a single size 6 octopus hook. A medium sized live Golden RoachIce Fishing Northern Pike with tip-ups or large shiner bait fish is hooked below the rear of the dorsal fin. The bait fish is lowered into the water and kept 1 to 2 feet above the weed bed. If fishing near rock walls, the bait is placed in mid water. If fishing under or next to piers the bait fish is placed mid water. The tip up flag is set and the wait begins. When a flag pops, we approach the tip up to see if the shaft is turning (fish taking out fishing line). If turning we set the hook immediately. If the shaft is not turning, (fish not taking out line) then we slowly pickup the tip up and tighten the line to determine if a pike still has the bait in its mouth. If you feel the weight of a fish, the line is set immediately. This helps not hook the fish too deeply, for releasing the fish. We do rarely experience some bite offs, but will hook many more fish with fluorocarbon leader than using wire leader material. Check the leader material after each fish is caught for nicks or scrapes.
Northern Pike caught using live bait and a tip-up in a Lake Michigan Harbor

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