White Ice and Whitefish

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A common species in many of Ontario lakes the Whitefish is one of the most popular fish during the hard water season. Active on a year round basis the Whitefish maintains its feeding and behavioural habits during the winter freeze. A staple in the Northern Pikes’ diet the Whitefish in mature sizes offers up some of the best ice fishing action in Ontario.

Generally, where you find one Whitefish you will find another as they commonly travel in schools. Many anglers report that they have the best success during the early hours of the morning and at dawn. By the noon hour the feeding habits of the Whitefish change and the bite will gradually lessen as the sun moves high in the sky. Fishing overcast days tend to be the most productive as the Whitefish will feed most of the day.

Living the majority of their lives in the depths the Whitefish are primarily bottom feeders. The Whitefish diet consists of baitfish, small invertebrates and different varieties of plankton. Fishing for Whitefish can be exciting and rewarding if you use the correct bait. Worm jigs are the most commonly used baits throughout the province and are quite productive. Due to the overall size of the Whitefish it’s best to use a little larger rod and braided line. Spoons, jigs and minnow baits are also proven Whitefish  lures. Experimenting with different jig sizes and colours is essential and will narrow down exactly what they are hungry for. 

Set up shop in an area with a hard lake bottom and preferably an adjacent drop off. Use a patterned method when drilling your holes and drill 6-8  of them about 20-30 feet apart. Try one hole for 15-20 minutes. Move to the next hole if you are unsuccessful at the first and so on. Repeat this process until you get some action. Once a hole produces a couple of good fish now is the time to drill a few more holes in the general vicinity. Most anglers like to keep their bait about a foot from the bottom but you can also vary your depths throughout your hole patterns trying a different depth at each hole. If you are fortunate enough to have multiple rods in the water you can vary your rod depths at each hole and cycle through the hole patterns.

Using a few of these Whitefish techniques will increase the area that you’re fishing and overall coverage as well as increase your overall success rate. 


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips .

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