Let’s Go Ice Fishing!

Grandpa Al Brooks with Adam and Ryan enjoying a day ice fishing on Roses Lake-Jason Brooks

Let’s Go Ice Fishing!

by Jason Brooks

The recent cold temperatures have thickened the ice and a winter pastime is creating memories once again. Ice fishing is going strong in Eastern Washington with the trout bite being consistent on Roses Lake near the tiny town of Manson. Those that prefer to catch a mess of perch are doing really well on Moses Lake and don’t forget Fish Lake near Leavenworth.

Ryan Brooks waits for a bite through the ice-Jason Brooks

The fishing is fairly simple, just chop or auger a hole in the ice and drop your baits down towards the bottom where the water temperatures are a little warmer. Look for areas where other anglers have found previous success, as shown on the ice with places where fish have flopped around and froze, or by watching anglers on the ice.

A rainbow trout coming through the ice-Jason Brooks

Ice fishing is one of those activities that is more of a novelty than a “must catch a limit” fishery. Have fun out on the ice but realize that it is cold, windy, and if you take the kids along they might not want to sit out there for very long. To make it more comfortable I like to take a lawn chair and a piece of carpet. The carpet makes it so you won’t be sliding around all the time and it really helps keep your feet warm.

Just enough freshly frozen trout for dinner-Jason Brooks

For gear, a standard, light action Daiwa trout rod works well, but so do those tiny “ice fishing” rods you find in the mid-west. They are very sensitive as the bite is light with the cold waters. Spool the small reel with 6 pound Platinum Izorline monofilament. When trout fishing it is best to use a leader with the weight tied at the bottom and the hook tied off of the leader between the weight and the swivel. I prefer to use a 1/4 ounce bell weight and size 10 bait holder hooks. Common baits are powerbait, single salmon eggs, or my favorite-salad shrimp cured overnight in Pro-Cure’s “Shrimp and Prawn” cure. For perch, jigging is the way to go, and it also works great for trout fishing too. Use a small jig, like a 1/8 ounce or smaller Mack’s Lure Glo-Getter that is UV enhanced. Tip the jig with a piece of worm, shrimp, or maggots. I also use a lot of scent when ice fishing no matter the type of fish as this attracts the lethargic fish and turns on a bite. Try Anise and Garlic scents as they seem to work really well ice fishing.

Adam Brooks and our Vizsla Lucy use carpet to keep their feet warm on the ice-Jason Brooks

Jason Brooks – Outdoor Line Blogger

2 thoughts on “Let’s Go Ice Fishing!

  1. Hello there! My name is Chuck and I live in Maple
    Valley born and raised in OKC, OK. I’ve lived here in WA for almost 26yrs and I love it here.
    I’ve always wanted to try ice fishing. I listen to the show religiously and I just read this story by Jason Brooks.
    I had a chance to go to Fish Lake a few years back but do to horrible pass conditions, we couldn’t go. I’ve always heard you can catch nice perch and trout through the ice, but how about crappie? And I’m an independent distributor so time is always an issue. Just wondering if this is something I could do for a day trip ? Lots of questions so If someone wouldn’t mind sharing some information that would be great. Thanks 425 941 6942

    • Chuck, to answer your question about Crappie, YES! you can find them in Roses, as well as Antilon Lake (but you will have to hike or snowmobile into it, not very far, as they close the road about 1/4 mile from the lake). I believe there are some in Fish Lake, and of course Moses Lake…I recommend going to WDFW website and looking up lakes by species, as I am sure there are some near Spokane too (anything eastern Washington). HOWEVER…please keep in mind that Crappie live near structure, mostly underwater vegetation which weakens the ice. For Roses, you will find them near the far west end of the lake where there is a small outfall (creek) that flows from Roses to Dry lake, but the ice tends to be thinner here. Also, Dry lake (next to Roses) has Crappie, Bluegill, and Bass, but it is a shallow lake and the ice isn’t very good due to the high milfoil in the lake.

      Keep in mind that this coming week temps are supposed to rise, but check out Fish Lake as it tends to keep it’s ice much better, same with Moses Lake as the winds keep the temps cold!

      Try using a UV enhanced jig, such as a Mack’s Lure Glo-Getter or Yakima Bait Maxi-Jig in 1/8 ounce or even smaller and tip it with a piece of worm…finding the Crappie will be your biggest challenge but at places like Fish Lake and Moses Lake the drive will be worth it as you might get some perch or trout (and walleye in Moses) with that set up.

      Good Luck!
      Jason Brooks

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