Tighty Whities

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iliketofish
iliketofish's picture
Tighty Whities

Or may it should be "Tight Lipped Whities".

 

I know this topic was brought up not too long ago, but I'm frustrated...

I took a buddy ice fishing on a lake here in north-central Washington hoping to help him add a lake whitefish to his list.

We got there at about 11:00 and fished till well after dark. Our problem wasn't at all finding the fish. The problem was getting them to bite. All day long there were at least a couple marks on the flasher, and sometimes it looked like there were a dozen or more down there! But we only caught two fish all day. We did miss a couple bites, but not a ton. By and large, they just ignored us. Then they ignored us some more. We threw pretty much the whole tackle box at them. Big jigs, small jigs, various baits, spoons, lures, little buggy lookin things etc. 

The two that we did catch were caught on a dime-size piece of shrimp on a plain hook, and the other on a 1/64th oz jig tipped with a mealworm.

Anybody have any recommendations to get them to bite or seen similar happenings? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Also, we noticed that they all seemed to leave en masse as soon as it got dark. Any ideas on where they go after dark? We were in about 65 FOW off a rocky point near the inlet of the lake if that helps.

 

Here's one of the ones we did manage to convince into biting. My first one through the ice!

 

bryanlikestofish.com

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Dude, whitefish are dicks.

Dude, whitefish are dicks. Two is fairly average day for me -- at least while ice fishing. Late in the season they can be quite aggressive and then you can ice quite a few but mid-winter they're pretty inactive.They have excellent eye sight and are quite line shy. I find my chances are increased when using four lbs fluro leader. White rubbr tail jigs with red or pink head is my go to lure, from 1/16 to 1/4 oz. sometimes they want it big, sometimes small. I find dusk can be a great time to target them but they totally shut down at night.

mike b

FP4LifesDad
FP4LifesDad's picture
Did you guys try going shallow?

I'm not a whitefish guy, and still need some for our lifelists as well. Dino asked for input on whites a couple weeks ago, and Andy  said he catches most of his shallow, like 6 to 9 feet of water shallow.  If they act like splake and some other trout (I'd guess they do) they probably run up shallow during the day in the winter to feed then go back out over deep water for the night.  Maybe you hit them when they had already fed or ones that had that were just hanging out deep to digest whatever food they found up shallow and they were full.  Or they could be like some walleyes I've fished that suddenly developed lockjaw and wouldn't open up for anything lol.  Like I said man I'm not a whitefish guy at all, never caught one, never seen one, I'd certainly be interested in any info on these puppies as I'd like to catch some lifers and smoke them.

Nice fish though man, congrats would love to catch one like that!

iliketofish
iliketofish's picture
thanks guys

LOL Mike, that makes me feel a little better! I was sort of hoping you'd chime in, after seeing all your whitefish over the years.

I'll try lighter floro like you suggested. We were using 6 lb mono, so it wasn't huge line or anything, but that may help.

Interesting about the night-time thing though. People at our lake fish all night long from what I could see. There were people just arriving as we were leaving a couple hours after dark. I can't really speak to how much catching they do all night long, but they definitely fish all night long...  They were setting up way out in the middle of the lake, pretty deep.

I'll probably try to get in a trip later in the winter in a few weeks or so like you suggested.

 

FP4: We didn't really try up shallow at all. We could try that next time. I just have trouble leaving fish to find fish as the old saying goes.  There were lots there, they were just not cooperating. Could be worth a try though like you say.

bryanlikestofish.com

FP4LifesDad
FP4LifesDad's picture
No doubt!

I hear ya there bud, nothing more frustrating then seeing them stacked up and refusing to bite, and trying to decide if you should stay on them when you know they are there or go look for more where they may not be at all.  I'd have been camped out there with ya for the duration lol. Would love to know how you do, like I said we are still on the hunt for them, and I know very very little about them, other then they are great smoked.

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Hi Bryan, I'm glad you feel

Hi Bryan, I'm glad you feel better because I wanted to assure you whitefish fishing can be extremely frustrating. For a couple years recently I was like the Wayne Gretzky of whitefish and succeeded and succeeded a lot most times I tried for them -- winter and summer. The last year or so I've been more a Steve Halko unable to score. I suspect it's because whitefish are pretty canny fish and they get a lot of pressure where I am so they've grown wise. I'll need to up my tactics I imagine. Buuutttt .. They're also just dicks and regularly shut off and become uncatchable. Just the way they are -- a more rewarding challenge to catch one. 

I should qualify: in my experience whitefish stop hitting lures when it gets dark but I have caught them at night with fish eggs or a frozen shiner. I wonder if those people you seeing fishing at night are using bait? I've watched them on camera and it's obvious that their eyesight is extremely important to honing in on food but they can smell too so bait sitting on the bottom does work.

FP4LifesDad is on to something. They can be found in all areas of the water column but whitefish often like very shallow water where they graze the bottom muck for tiny bugs and small minnows. I've had my most success in winter in these areas. Six to 7 feet deep.

mike b