Area I did fish in
sunday has average depth of 4 – 5 meter deep and this is why I did
catch most of fishes near bottom from this same depth area. I was also
able to find a fish flock from deep pool having max 9 meter depth. Flock was swimming around in
middle water of 4 - 5 meter deep. Area in
which this flock was located was quite small, approximately 15 meters
times 5 meters. This is why it is very easy to miss a fish flock when ice
fishing. I did succesfully catch above the flock and inside the flock for
perch and bream with ice fishing jig & mormyshka. We can also
learn that 2 fishing days are not enough for finding good results in ice fishing if we do not know where fishes are exactly located, what
colors they prefer and what are their biting time`s. It is highly recommended to book 5 to 7 day fishing vacation to have enough time for both getting good fishing results and relaxing.
This part of the
year is still mid-winter. Fish are located relatevaly deep and they
are not biting all the time as they do later in spring. By my experience
this is turning point for spring time ice fishing and it is getting better and
better for now on.
Tuesday 17 March 2020
I used my third
fishing day in small bay area close to our cottage. Once again I got
beautiful & sunny, but windy day for fishing. I walked appr. 700
meters from our cottage in time of little over 10 minutes and reached
my first spot, 4 – 5 meter deep pool and started catching good size
perches immeadiately. I made new holes and followed perch in the area
of this pool until bite was over.
My next target was deeper pool in
which I had big flock of rudds and roach last time. Fish were in very
same area as I left them and they did bite well. I noticed that
there was hunting perches both above and under the flock. I started
catching perches above and when I started getting rudds I did lay my
ice fishing jig close to bottom and cotinued catching perches. When
I had caught enough perches for dinner I walked in to shallow area
with grass to do some ice fishing for pike. Once again sunny weather,
bright ice and shallow water was a bad combination, I did not catch
any. Time was also wrong for catching pikes because I had reached
12.00. Morning and evening are defianately the best for catching
pikes, but also perches. Most of perch flocks as well as big perches
were still in deep water of 5 to 10 meter or more. Most likely they will arrive
to shallow water in time of 2-3 weeks from now and I will be there waiting for them.
Fishing report of
week 26 – 30 March 2020
Due warming weather
and ice getting thinner I decited to have 5 day fishing vacation with
my mother in the end of March. I was curious to see if fish had moved
in to shallow the water since my last ice fishing. I was also
expecting to find some bigger perches over 500 gr.
|Spring is coming and fish do eat well. Ice cover thickness was varuing from 15 cm to 25 cm. Average thickness was 20 cm.|
Day 1, Thursday 26
We waked up early to
be able to start fishing at 6.30 am. I did choose deep water area in
distance of appr. 400 meters of our cottage on big bay area for my
first spot and my mother walked in to 4 – 5 meter deep spot in
small bay area, appr 700 meters from our cottage. After all both
spots were good for catching.
|You can catch bigger perches starting from 150 gr when using balanced jigs or softbaits for ice fishing.|
I started drilling
holes in to the area I had been catching fishes one week earlier. My
first 5 holes were emprty of fish so I did move little bit more
shallow and found them. I caught 3.5 kg of perches in time of little
over 3 hour period. Bite was good, but I was forced to use various
tricks to make fish bite. I used both vertical ice fishing jigs &
softbaits for catching. Traditional icefishing jig with mormyshka is
the best for catching by number of fish caught, but if you are
looking for bigger perches, balanced icefishing jigs and softbaits
will offer that. None of perches caught by softbait weighted less
than 100 gr. My biggest perches of the day weighted close to 200 gr.
|Total weight of these fish in picture is 1.5 kg.|
My mother caught 1.5
kg of perches from her spot. Perches caught from my spot were bigger
in size, but we were not able to reach trophy size fishes. After 3
hour fishing we had total 5 kg of perches for cooking. We prepared
bigger ones for fillets and removed skin of smaller ones. This method
for handling small fish is fast and much more effective than scaling
them. Years ago my grandmother teached it both to my mother and me.
Fish handling tooked almost 1.5 hours for 2 persons to do. We fried
fillets on a pan and prepared smashed potatoes with them, easy and
tasty meal for 2 hungry fisherman. Smaller perches were used for
finnish traditional fish food, kalakukko.
Day 2, Friday 27
Once again we did
start fishing early, litte over 6 am. With high hopes we headed our
trip in to the same area I had been catching day earlier. Beginning
of fishing was very difficult, there seemed to be only few fishes in
the area present. Once again I started drilling and finding. I moved
both from deep to shallow and deep to mainland directions forming a
grid. After 30 – 40 holes I did find a flock of perches in distance
of 40 meters from Thursdays hot spot. During time of hour we did
catch appr. 2 kg perches for cooking. There was also big roaches up
to 25 cm long available, but we decited to release them. When bite
ended, we decited to walk back to deep area and explore it. We
learned that perch flocks were moving very fast from deep water area
to shallower area near mainland. When I did loate a flock of fish
under me, I had hardly time to drop my icefishing jig and catch one
or two fishes before flock had moved forward. We decited to walk back
to our cottage and continue searching next day.
|In this picture you can see small flock of perches.|
Midday was rainy and
windy, even little bit too rainy and windy for trying to catch pikes
in shallow water, so we waited for evening time to come. I had hig
expectitions for evening time pike fishing in shallow water, but it
was total flop. We had fishing from 2 hours before sunset until sun
did go down to catch absolutely nothing. There seemed to be no pikes
at all in shallow water.
|We caught big roaches up to 25 cm long.|
Day 3, Saturday 28
Saturday morning was
sunny and beautiful. We walked to the spot which had been giving us
perches yesterday only to learn they had moved. My mother headed to deep
water spots and I did continue drilling and finding fish with my
fishfinder in to the direction of mainland and more shallow water. I
needed 10 – 15 holes to find them in water depth area of 6 to 7
meter deep. Perches had formed a bigger flock in this area and bite
was great again. This time we decited to select bigger species of 80
gr to 200 gr for cooking and release the rest. In time of little over
1 hour we had almost 2 kg of fish for cooking and we decited to walk
longer in deep water area to explore flat bottom type area n which we
have 8 to 10 meter deep water. During mid-winter period this kind of
places are good for catching big perches, but not this time. Once
again we were not able to find any fish figures in screen of my
|In this picture you can see big flock of perches.|
Day 4, Sunday 29
Sunday morning was
both sunny and windy. Wind had turned to north, but it did not seem
to have effect on bite. We started our fishing event from my
yesterday spot and did well. Fishes did bite well for an hour and
half. In this point we decited to walk exploring familiar spots in
small bay area. In our first spot where my mother had been catching
couple of day ago was nothing. We moved longer in to the deep pool I
had been catching rudds and found some small flocks of fish. Bite was
pretty bad and we decited to move forward to direction of shallow end
of the bay. We did find small flock of biting perches in water depth
area of 6 to 7 meter deep, but none in more shallow areas.
|Monday morning 6.30 am. There was a lonely swan walking on ice when we started our final fishing morning.|
Day 5, Monday 30
Monday morning was
sunny but cold. We had -7 degrees of celsius in morning 6.30 am. We
walked in to same spot I had discovered 2 days earlier and used only
2 holes in distance of 1.5 meter of eac other. Bite was wild when we
used vertical ice fishing jig with mormyshka, but softbaits or
balanced jigs did not work. I caught only 2 fish when using them. We
did fishing from 6.30 to 10.30 am. Result was 2 kg of fillet size
perches and appr. 6 kg of released smaller fishes. A lot of action
and great morning to end our fishing 5 day fishing holiday. Biggest
perch of the morning weighted appr 200 gr, we did not reach trophy
fishes but had great time and a lot of action.
|In this picture you can see 2 kg of fillet size perches.|
Fishing report of Easter 10 – 12 March 2020!
During Easter week we had cold nights of - 10 degrees. That did extend our ice fishing season until 12th of April. We had got some new snow on ice as well and my swan friends were waiting for me on ice.
I had couple enjoyable warm & fish rich days in big bay area. Once again morning bite was the best and fish had located same area as they were one week earlier. I did visit in shallow water area of small lake, but big ones were not arrived that area yet.
|Swans on ice of Lake Saimaa, April 2020.|
As usul, Lake Saimaa was free of ice before 1st of May. From 13th April until 1st of May I did not do any fishing due fragile ice. My next event was softbait spinning 1st May 2020. I discovered small bay area and caught perches from 300 gr up to 500 gr as well as some nice pikes.
|Perch 500 gr|
|Pike 3 kg caught 1st of May 2020.|
Tips for winter time pike
fishing on Lake Saimaa!
Eary winter starting
from end of November until mid-January and late spring starting from
mid-March to mid-April is the season for catching pikes in shallow
water of less than 4 meter deep. Active pikes can be found near
shorelines & grass in depth area of appr. 1 meter deep to 4 meter
deep. Pikes are either hiding among grass, by underwater stones or
trees waiting for bait fish to hit or hunting actively in shallow
area. Bottom type such we do have in front of our cottage, gradually
lowering and relatively shallow, is the best for catching pikes.
If there is no even
layer of snow on ice, pikes seem to favor dark, snowy or rainy days
for eating. Both sunrise and sunset are good periods for catching
pikes. If we have thicker layer of snow from 5 to 30 cm thick, pikes
seeem to prefer sunny days better. Thickness of ice and temperature
of water do have big effect on bite. When first ice form, water is
not yet evenly cold in shallow water areas, which do attract fish. As
the winter progresses both ice get thicker and water evenly cold,
having temeperature fro 0 degrees of celsius to 1 degrees of celsius.
During this period of so called mid-winter from mid-January until
mid-March warmest water layers of 3 to 4 degrees are found from pools
or deep water areas having 6 to 15 meter depth. Bait fish flocks are
most often found from the same water depth areea in which the
warmest, 4 degree of celsius water layer is formed, as well as big
predators. We can easily understand that small fishes do escape
predators if present. When whe locate bait fish flock, there must be
bigger predators present in 100 meter radius of the flock waiting for
time to eat. Pikes do prefer cover to lay for smaller fishes.
Inactive pikes are most often found from underwater hill slopes,
deeper rocks or humps and also shorelines located close to deeper
pools, which do give them cover of grass and stones. If inactive
pikes are laying on the bottom, they are reatively difficult to
notice by using sonar. If they are laying little bit above bottom,
you can notice them for sure when using sonar.
In this picture
above you can find an example for finding winter time pikes. You can
start near grass, following natural form of shoreline. Make first
holes in water depth area of 0.5 meter deep to 2 meter deep in
distance of max 5 – 10 meters of each other. Next rows can also be
located 5 – 10 meter from each other. If shallow water fishing in
depth areas of max 4 – 5 meter deep do not give you results, you
can use your local area knowledge of bottom shapes as well as maps or
sonar`s plotter to locate underwater structures that might be
interresting for pikes, such as hill slopes, under water humps or
pools. If you choose to try catching pool, it is good to remember
that pikes are not very often located in deepest part of it. They do
quite often lay for fishes in lowering slopes appr. 2 – 5 meters
higher than the deepest part of pool. This way they can follow or
more specific sense activity of smaller fishes present. Actively
swimming and hunting pikes you can find anywhere.
When finding pikes
during mid-winter period I do first locate flock of bait fish and
finding out if there are predators hunting among this flock by using
my ice fishing sonar. If not, my next step is radially discovering
bottom around this flock and trying to find location of pikes for
active or ismete ice fishing. It is hard work to locate inactive
pikes if you are fishing alone, but if you can co-operate with 2 –
3 other fisherman you will most likely reach better results.
Knowledge of underwater structure do help and it is important to
remember that sometimes only 2 meters move from empty hole can be the
game changer as well as 5 meter move shows you empty bottom.
Best ice fishing
spoons for catching pikes
Most common lure
type for catching pike both summer & winter time is wide body
spoon of 6 to 10 cm long. Most often best spoons as well as jigs for
ice fishing of pike do siply have metal color of silver, copper or
gold with red nose. Very often they do have colored treble hook,
hairy treble hook or treble hook with worm jig replacing normal
treble hook of lure. Many winter time ice fisherman do also use
lightened, so called trolling spoons for pike fishing due their slow
You can use
traditional Finnish pike fishing poons such as Kuusamo Professor and
Rasanen (Rasanen do sink little bit faster than professor), Jak
Original, Bete Utö or Jämtland, Blue Fox Inkoo and Swedish Abu
Carcia Atom for catching.
The most common
color combinations are silver / copper, silver / gold, silver / blue,
silver / red, yellow / black, yellow / red, parrot (green, yellow,
red), red / black, orange / white, orange / black, perch model (gold
/ green / black), cisco model (silver / black) and of course white /
Introduction to preparing small perches for cooking!
|Jari preparing small perches for cooking in the warm storage space of our fishing cottage.|
Remove the back fins.
|As you can see, all skin from the back of the fish is removed with the fins.|
Remove the belly fins. Do not cut the belly open!
Make cuts to both sides of the neck of the fish. Do not cut off the head!
Remove the skin of the fish.