Contributed by Chris Carlisle, Adventure on the Water team member and Livingston Lure pro staff

It’s been a long cold winter and the ice is finally breaking to show open water. It’s time to dust off the kayak and get ready for some fishing. Here are a few tips to make your first trips out safe and successful.

With water temperatures still low and the possibility of ice around the shore it is really important to stay warm and dry. Picking the right gear is crucial. Starting at the bottom with your feet you should wear boots or shoes that are water proof and warm. Try to get a pair that goes as high as possible incase you break through the ice trying to launch. I personally use insulated rubber wadding boots that go just below the knee with thick socks. Your pants should be waterproof and warm as well. Never use hip or chest waders as they can fill up with water and pull you down. I personally use my ice armor bibs to keep me warm and dry as they don’t trap water like waders do. Get yourself a good jacket gloves and hat as well and dress in layers. It’s easier to remove clothes if you get too warm than it is to add something. Ideally speaking a dry suit is the way to go but for some of us they are expensive and out of our budget.

inreachse_m01When your all packed and ready to go don’t forget to tell someone where you are going. I always tell my wife or someone where I will be fishing incase there is trouble and I don’t come home. It makes a rescue possible if they know where to look. Having something like the Delorme inreach satellite communicator can mean the difference between coming home or being lost. With a satellite communicator you can tell your loved ones not to worry even without cellphone signal. They also can call for help with a touch of a button when your in need of help and with the gps it makes it that much easier to find you. In this cold water minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Now that we are warm, dry, and safe let’s go kayak fishing. Knowing your fish habits will help you out greatly. With water temps rising most fish will move to their pre spawn feeding areas. Do a little research on the fish you will be targeting to find out there habits year round. Remember a lot of their natural weed cover is gone due to the ice and snow blocking the sun so they won’t be found in the same spots as in the summer. Look for schooling bait fish or perhaps crawfish in the shallow this will help you pick the right lures and colors for the food the fish are eating.

Now that you have found what the fish are eating be patient and fish slow. Fish in this cold water will still be lazy and more opportunistic feeders rather than hunters. Don’t start off ripping crank baits or spinner baits fast as the fish are less likely to chase them. You will want to start off with things like jerk baits or jigs with plastic trailers that you can fish slow. I personally like to use Kalins grubs with a jig head or Livingston lures stick master to get the job done. These kind of baits give the fish more time to attack on the pauses. I find changing how long I pause rather than changing baits can help put those fish in the boat too. When fishing with a jig and grub the bottom is your friend. Bounce the jig slowly back to you off the bottom remembering to pause in between bounces. Don’t forget to allow the bait to come all the way back to you and try vertical jigging before you recast. I have found many times if I reel my bait in too early a pike or walleye will be sitting right below the kayak following my bait and if it isn’t on the bottom they get spooked and run when they see you.

Following these few tip will make your first trips after the ice is off a safe and successful one. Remember to always wear your pfd and bring a spare change of cloths just in case.


Back to top
HTML Snippets Powered By :