Ice Fishing Over the Horizon
Inside the Outdoors, December 19
, 2014

As we near the end of the year, two things come to mind. First and foremost, much colder temperatures will set in, and second, ice will begin forming on the surrounding lakes. That could only mean one thing. Many anglers will pack their vehicles with ice fishing shanties, sleds and augers in search of the many game fish that school below the surfaces in search of food.
There are two types of bait sportsmen and women will use primarily, live bait and imitation-live-type-lures.
Longtime favorite-type live baits have been the waxworms, maggots and minnows. The second to fishing these creatures, as in everything else, is natural presentation. Over-powering the line with too many sinkers or using too big a hook may prove to be negative factors in catching fish.

Yes, one needs to get the bait down where the fish are, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of weight, for example, particularly when fishing area lakes that may only average 10 to 14 feet deep. Even by crimping on a small split shot on one’s line, it, along with the weight of the hook, will carry that morsel down to the desired depths where fish will be search for a meal.

The one thing about winter fishing is that many bait shops close for this season and reopen in the spring when trout fishing gets underway. Thus, it is harder to stop in at various retail outlets to procure favorite live baits. That’s why imitation lures really have paved the way to easier accessibility.

Heading the charts with outstanding ice fishing lures is Northland Fishing Tackle. This Bemidji, Minnesota, company has proved its worth as it has manufactured hosts of ice fishing lures that have caught trophy fish below the surfaces of many national waters.

Their Impulse Reactionary Bait, for example, has proven to be 143% more effective because of the incorporated superior scent technology that make imitation plastics so appealing to aquatic life, such as trout, perch and crappie.

According to its website,, where, by the way, one can find new releases and articles about their products, they are said to be “molded in with the softest plastic and most detailed natural baitfish shape and blended with a superior attractant.”

The company manufactures 32 such baits, from flies, worms to perch eyes. This unique plastic attraction “designed to life-like specification, with an extra-soft tissue sclera.” It is said to have “within the highly reflective Attractor-Pupil.”

No wonder Northland Tackle Company continues to succeed as their new spoons are so life-like that, if presented properly, fish will gobble them up in no time flat. They are the Macho Minnow, Forage and Whistler Spoons. Available in anywhere from five to eight colors each, the colors and scale replicas of small fish will surely be the ticket for some fine fishing.

By the way, Northland Tackle has a plastic clip-on rod holder that should be in everyone’s tackle box particularly if one totes to the lake a five-gallon bucket in which to put his fish. Just clip it on, slide one’s rod in and presto, one has a place to elevate one’s rod above the ground. What a neat idea.


When it comes to ice fishing, one can’t beat Latrobe’s Frank Moff’s Bobber-With-A-Brain. The setup, with a multi-looped line, is so sensitive that one will easily detect any fish’s contact of one’s bait. In as much as the state now permits no limit as to how many hooks one can have on a line, ice fishing using this tool ought to be fantastic, to say the least.

One can get this product from me by stopping in at the Cooperstown Event Center, 2541 Thomas Street, Latrobe, on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and visiting my booth.


Want to encourage a friend or relative to go fishing during the upcoming year. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) recommends one buy a friend or relative a fishing license for the year.
This gift may work out in others’ favor in as much as the recipient may take the giver fishing every once in a while, if not often. It’s a good way to senior citizens introduced to the great outdoors.


Finally, trapping season is on until next year for mink, muskrat, coyotes, foxes, opossums, raccoons, strip skunks and weasels. While covering one of the hunters’ training courses, I saw a video on traps and was educated on the new mechanisms. They will hold an animal in place and released, if necessary, unharmed. That’s a far cry from what the traps used to be.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.