Fish smell! Not just in a fishy way but they use their sense of smell to locate prey, companions, or food. Salmon, that return years after being born, can smell the exact watershed that they were spawned in. If fish can smell water, they can surely smell something to eat in it.
Try adding a scent-based attractor to your tackle box. This new twist will help catch more fish. The metabolism of fish is already slowed down due to freezing cold water. Energy is at a minimum. The effort to move must match the reward.
Fish will not move toward an area unless they sense a food source. This means they stay suspended until something happens. Other senses will be stimulated when light appears, sound is heard, or they see a shining reflection. Each attractor is important, but a Scent will seal the deal.
Use a scent that matches the fish you are after. It may be an egg smell, cheese, corn, minnow, or a general mineral oil-based scent. Gel scents work best. These scents seem to last longer. They also form small globs in your ice hole. Simply move your line to a glob and it will sink down your line. Adding some scent to the hole also helps to re-scent your rig and keep ice from forming.
Add scent to your jig, bait, and hole. As the scent dissipates, it will form a cone of scent beneath the ice. The fish that enter the cone will move toward tour rig. If there is a current beneath the ice, your scent area will be even larger. Scents also mask any human odor that may discourage a bite.
Glow gels add light to the smell. You need every edge when ice fishing. Adding glow gel to a worm, maggot, or minnow works great. Most of western Montana allows only dead minnows. A little glow and smell will kick the dead minnow up a notch for walleyes.
The great thing about fishing and catching is that it is not just about one thing. Common sense tells us that fish have more than one sense, so addressing all their senses will help you catch more fish.
Sniff, sniff, fishy!
For more Montana Grant, smell him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.