By Montana Grant

Posted: January 30, 2020


Ice fishermen need to know how deep you are fishing. You can determine this with electronics or doing it old school. Understanding the depth is critical to finding structure, thermoclines, or fish holding areas.

Using lake maps can help you identify channels, underwater lumps, or fish attracting areas. This is so important if you plan on catching. Maps may have depth numbers on them, but these numbers change seasonally. Generally, water levels are shallower in the winter when the lakes are iced up. You may need to look for patterns of depths to identify these areas.

You don’t have to cut a ton of holes. Clear an area of snow down to the ice surface. Now add some water to an area and place the transducer on the wet spot. You will not be able to mark fish, but you will get a depth reading. You can get a dedicated unit, about the size of a flashlight, to do this, or use whatever other electronics you have.

Old school meant using a weight and marked cord. We kept the cord wrapped on a board and marked the string every foot. At 10-foot intervals, we used a different color marker. Once the cord was on the bottom, you had an accurate reading. When fishing at depth, and hooking up, we would mark our fishing line at the exact same depth for every cast. I marked my line where it met the large stripper guide. When the mark and guide were aligned, I was at the same exact depth every drop.

In some lakes, fish are in specific locations, or depths. If you aren’t, you’re not on the fish. If you are marking fish at depth, then you can also measure your line exactly to get to that depth. When fish are more dormant, bites come slow. They may see the bait for minutes before slowing sipping it in. Not all fish finders are created equally. Different waters show fish differently. You may not see your rig on the screen.

Marking fish, and depth will determine if you are fishing or catching!

Montana Grant

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