The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Friday, March 9, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - ice fishing tip up markers

As I get a fair bit fishing related questions and inquiries, I've decided to write weekly "Fishing tip of the week: blog posts. I plan to have them relate to current fishing issues for a the given period of the year, and hopefully, I'll be able to keep cranking out a steady flow of short, but useful tips.

This week's tip relates to ice fishing with traditional flag style tip ups. Various models exist, most of the tip ups I use are HT big game "polar therm" models, pictured below.

While they are visible from afar when there isn't much snow cover on the ice's surface, as soon as you get a few inches of snow, you start to lose visibility of the tip up as long as the flag hasn't been tripped by a fish.

Why does this matter? Well, for a couple of good reasons.

1) As we are allowed the use of multiple lines in winter in many provinces and states, you can get a pretty good spread on the lines. Around Montreal, the use of 10 lines per person, spread at say 40 feet between each line, would result in a potential spread of 400 feet, assuming you were alone. At that distance, there is no way to know exactly where you tip up is set if the snow cover is more than 4 inches or so.

2) Just as you may not know where you row of lines begins or ends, others travelling the lake by truck, snowmobile, ATV or even windsurfing, may not be able to see you're lines until they've run them over.

To negate this issue, I like to mark off where my ice fishing tip up lines begin and end by using something larger, and more visible. In particular, I have bright yellow 5 gallon buckets that I use to store and transport my Big Game tip ups in. When the tip ups are deployed, these empty buckets serve the purposes quite well, as you can see in the zoomed in picture below:

Furthermore, I often decide to use a good numbers of lines away from where I'm actually fishing, in order to target multiple species. Thc classic example is setting up baited lines shallow for pike, and then moving a bit deeper to jig for perch, walleye or trout. By having a visual markers at the extreme ends of my pike lines, when I periodically shift my focus from jigging to looking for tripped flags, I don't have to start guessing or straining to figure out where to look, as my markers are clearly visible from a lot further than I venture away.

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