Recently, the question came up, “Can you ice fish at night?” Ice fishing at night is certainly a possibility, as long as you take all of the necessary ice fishing safety precautions, plus a few more. Here are a few reasons why you might want to give this a try.
Less fishing pressure
Most anglers are active during the day, so fishing at night will mean fewer anglers hovering over that hot brush pile or creek channel. The reduced the number of anglers crunching across the ice and the potential fish disturbance won’t hurt either. One of the tips for ice fishing at night is that fish may be shallower than you think. But this leads me to an important safety aspect regarding how to ice fish at night: never fish alone. If anything goes wrong with this scenario, hypothermia is nothing to sneeze at.
Several fish species are known to be more actively feeding at night such as catfish, walleye, and burbot. Ice fishing for crappie at night could mean an increase in action too and traditional methods of night fishing can be used where a special light is lowered into the water to attract bait fish, which in turn, attracts crappie. Enough crappie or yellow perch activity might mean you could now be ice fishing for pike at night, so keep some wire leaders on hand.
It seems the level of fun increases whenever a flashlight is involved. Consider investing in a head lamp or clip on type so that you can keep hands free, even if just to shove deep into your pockets. Every noise seems larger at night too and what could be lurking below, a little more mysterious.
Ice fishing at night might not even be planned. The days are short and you may be sitting in a dark shanty, and with the fish still biting, discover the hour later than you thought. Ice fishing tackle often includes glow in the dark lures. With a snow covered lid of ice, most fish are caught in darkness anyway so the biggest issue regarding how to ice fish at night is the extra attention to safety details such as “the buddy system,” lights, and a cell phone.
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.