BlogJanuary 2022

3 Tips for Finding Ice Fishing Spots by Species

3 Tips for Finding Ice Fishing Spots by Species

By Andy Whitcomb

Jan 10, 2022

Locating a particular species through the ice can be a challenge but here are some tips that will help get you “warm.”

1. Plan Ahead


One of the best ways to locate some ice fishing spots by species is to learn as much as you can before the lid goes on the lake. Although fish will move seasonally and even daily, information such as fish presence, structure location, and substrate type can serve as a valuable jumping off spot. Which reminds me; make sure that ice is safe first before venturing out.

2. Getting Warmer

Although discovering how to find a good ice fishing spot can be tricky, research reveals some generalizations that can help when selecting ice fishing spots by species. For example, although sometimes fish can be caught shallow, ice fishing hot spots traditionally are deeper areas. If investigating where to find perch ice fishing, it is widely known that yellow perch are “roamers,” often moving long distances under ice along relatively flat areas. Walleye anglers on the other hand, look for a more irregular bottom contour. If seeking where to find trout ice fishing, keep in mind that these are more of an open water fish and although may feed shallow, these areas will be near deep water drop-offs. For crappie, start near structure like submerged brush piles but pay close attention to the depth as they usually suspend at particular levels in the water column. Bluegill like vegetation edges, rocks, and stumps. Catch enough of anything while around vegetation and you may gain the attention of bass and pike in the area.

3. Go Ice Fishing

There are so many factors regarding how to find a good ice fishing spot that at some point, you’ll just have to bundle up and get out on the ice to start gaining some experience, especially if you are trying to select ice fishing spots by species. Some examples of variables from lake to lake that influence angler success include: depth, bottom substrate, angler activity, lure action, bait type, patience, or lack thereof. Sometimes anglers need to drill many holes to find the fish; other times, it can be a matter of quietly waiting for the fish to come to you.

Unless you are equipped with electronics and perhaps an underwater camera, locating ice fishing spots by species can be a bit of a guessing game, like mining for gold. Success typically requires a fair amount of drilling, patience, and gained experience. However, once you do find fish, any species, you may have struck it rich because most tend to be grouped together under hard water.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to 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.