LOCATE the FISH
Where is the right place to auger an ice hole? You have an entire lake available to fish, so where is the best place to fish? Obviously, the best place is where the fish are located. The problem is that fish move.
The first step is to use binoculars. Look for birds on the ice. Herons, ravens, eagles, and other birds will be on the ice where other fishermen have had success. Bait, fish parts, and trash will attract them to a specific spot.
If you don’t see any birds, look for landmarks. Islands, points, and changing shorelines that will identify additional Honey Holes. Fish tend to cruise the shorelines, in search for food. They wait near structure, ledges, and edges that may consolidate food. Points act as choke points for fish. Some lakes offer structure from submerged Christmas trees or other artificial reefs. These also offer good areas to explore.
Try drilling a line of holes from the shore out a hundred yards. Auger a hole every 10 yards or so. Clean out each hole and begin looking for fish and depths with your electronics. Now fish each hole and see which one pays off. At some point, you will locate structure, fish, or depth needed to target fish. Now concentrate on this area.
Many ice fishermen auger too few holes. They are either lazy, uncomfortable with the auger, or just would rather fish than catch. A power auger is worth every dollar. Hand augers will wear you out. The newer battery drill augers are amazing, light, and safe to use. No more cords, fuel, and muscle required.
Once you are into the fish, remember the spot using your GPS technology. Old school marking was done with a branch shoved down the hole. Ice does move but at least you will be near the Glory Hole for a few days. You can also locate hot spots when boating during open water. Use your boat electronics to identify potential lumps, structure, channels, and ledges.
For more Montana Grant, catch him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.