Best Time Of Day For Ice Fishing (For Each Species)

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Does the time of day really matter when it comes to ice fishing? A lot of people think it doesn’t really matter because the water is normally the same temperature all day but in this post, I’m going to be talking about why the time of day actually matters.

What is the best time of day for ice fishing? As a general rule, ice fishing is best in the morning and late afternoon. You’ll get the most action from sunrise until about 11 am. Fishing will normally slow down in the early afternoon from 11 until 2 and then after 2, it’ll pick back up again.

I’ve heard from a lot of people (and it seems to be true) is that ice fishing is best during the first and last month. The first month the ice is on and the month it comes off is usually the best. It’s also a good idea to drill your hole in a spot with snow. I haven’t had as much success in spots where there’s no snow because there isn’t as much shade.

I’ve caught fish at a bunch of different times and locations so I’m not saying you can’t fish at certain times/spots. I’m just saying that this is what’s worked best for me and what’s given me the most action.

So to sum things up, ice fishing is best during the first and last months. You’ll get the most action in the morning and in the late afternoon. Then all you have to do is drill your hole where there’s snow and you’ll be good to go. See our favorite ice fishing gear here.


Best Time Of Day To Ice Fish For Trout & Kokanee

Best time: Morning and late afternoon.

When I’ve been fishing for trout or kokanee I’ve had the best results in the morning (dawn until about 11 am) and the late afternoon (2 pm until 6 pm). I’ve caught them at other times but this seems to be the best time.

Trout are much more active in the winter months compared to most fish and they’ll normally be found in the shallows. They are carnivores so make sure you’re using something that’s rich in protein.

Kokanee tends to stay in groups in deeper water so they’ll be harder to catch. If you can find where they’re hanging out and the time of day is right you should have no problem catching your limit.

Best Time Of Day To Ice Fish For Walleye

Best time: In the evening.

Walleye like to feed when there’s low light. They’ll start to rise when there’s less light and look for their next meal. This is when you’ll probably want to be out because it’ll increase your chance of catching one.

Somewhere around an hour and a half before sunset seems to be really good and the best place to get them is in the shallows near a point. You can catch them at other times but the majority of walleye fishers I know will start mid-afternoon and fish into the evening.

It’s normally a good idea to have a few holes drilled at different depths to catch them as they come in but you’ll want to make sure your hole is drilled in a spot that is covered in snow (if you can). Any sort of light seems to spook them off and the snow will help block out some of that light.

Best Time Of Day To Ice Fish For Perch & Crappie

Best time: Early morning and late-night.

These fish can be caught at pretty much anytime but they tend to deed at low light. This means they’ll become most active early on in the morning and late at night. Some people will even start fishing at midnight for them.

Best Time Of Day To Ice Fish For Perch

They tend to stick to areas that have a lot of cover because most of the predatory fish will eat them. Normally, areas in pretty shallow water are best from what I’ve found.

Best Time Of Day To Ice Fish For Pike

Best time: During the day.

Pike is pretty much opposite to most fish because they feed at high light. They don’t have the best sight so they don’t tend to hunt much at first or last light. That’s why early afternoon is best if you’re looking to catch pike.

If the sun is out, the best place to look for pike is around places that have a lot of cover (weed beds and stuff like that). Most of the baitfish will be less active during the day and will be hiding out. This is what the pike are looking for so it’s probably where you’ll want to be.

Best Time Of Day To Ice Fish For Pike

If you can find a spot that has some sort of weed bed or vegetation and fish along the edge (where the water depth drops off) you should have no troubles at all landing a nice pike.

Happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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