Ice Fishing Tightlining

Tightlining, also known as line watching, is an ice fishing technique where you watch the line for movement. Learn how an when to use this technique, advantages, disadvantages and more information.

Ice Fishing Tightlining Basics

Some ice anglers were introduced to ice fishing with tightlining fishing. Ice fishing tightlining is a technique in which the angler merely drops the lure in the water, then watches the line for movement. When the line becomes "tight" you know you have something on it.

The trick to tightlining fishing, and the part that makes ice fishing tightlining more challenging than it looks, is in choosing a lure heavy enough to allow your line to drop straight down to your desired depth, but not so heavy that it causes a tight line tackle issue where the lure is too heavy and therefore creates too tight of a line to see it move when a strike occurs. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof formula. Trial and error to find the correct lure is a routine part of ice fishing tightlining.

Some folks also add a spring bobber to their line to help with strike indication. A spring bobber is a piece of metal or wire that extends off the rod tip. Any movement in the line will cause the spring bobber to move alerting the angler of a bite.

Learn about other ice fishing techniques in our next section.