By Mike Frisch
It may not seem like it with the warm weather we had earlier this winter, but the middle of the ice season is approaching. Fish under the ice during mid-season can be a bit on the finicky side. One of the things that will determine whether or not they will bite your bait is color. Following are some thoughts on the importance of color under the ice.
It’s important to keep in mind that color is just one consideration whether you are ice-fishing or open water fishing. If the fish want to eat, they’ll sometimes eat your bait regardless of color. Other times, if they’re being finicky, color becomes much more important.
One of the reasons we hold the color factor in such high esteem is because we can see color. When we go into a store to buy some baits, we see size and color. We don’t see the action of the bait, and we can’t see the sound it makes. Action and sound are two important factors also, but they often don’t get the consideration that color gets because we don’t see them.
It has been said that color doesn’t catch fish, it catches fishermen, and that may be true to some point. However, a color that doesn’t catch fish isn’t going to be in a lure manufacturer’s line-up very long. Some companies spend a lot of time experimenting and tweaking to get a lure’s color exactly right.
Under the ice, light penetration is much less. The ice and the snow on top of the ice prevent light from penetrating. Also, the sun’s angle is more extreme, so that light penetration is lessened also. It’s harder for fish to see stuff under the ice much of the time. That’s why baits that make noise/create a disturbance and baits that glow can be so much better under the ice. I’ve seen many times when baits that glow caught most of the fish. This winter a couple of new baits from Clam that have both those characteristics have been dynamite fish-catchers. These baits are the Tikka Flash and Rattlin’ PT Spoon. Not only are they top fish-catchers, but they also work for various species of fish.
Another color consideration for the end of ice-fishing season: Small bugs are starting to make an appearance at the bottom of the lake at season’s end. Some very savvy ice-anglers like to match the hatch of these little bugs, and the color that best matches them is black. These anglers usually start with black late in the ice season. However, if black isn’t doing the trick, they won’t hesitate to switch to another color in hopes that it will. And, when it comes to fishing, that’s the best thing to keep in mind: If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something else. If you keep this one rule in mind, you’ll catch more fish more often. As always, consider including a youngster in your next outdoor adventure!