This week’s Grand Rapids Ice Fishing Report is brought to you by Tom Neustrom, a professional fishing representatives, and owner of MN Fishing Connections. Header image of Jeff Johnson, co-owner of Northern Drift Outfitters showing a nice tullibee (white fish).
As we countdown to the last week of angling for walleyes and northern pike, start to think beyond the box to other species that are available. Late ice panfish can be some the best fishing you might experience throughout the winter. Another example of a species that isn’t talked about much is the tullibee. Averaging from about one to two pounds, tullibees are found in many lakes in the Grand Rapids area and can provide great action on ultra lite tackle and can be a terrific source of smoked or pickled fish as well.
Many of the deep clear lakes have good populations of tullibees and once located, the action can be fast. This time of year tullibees are most often located in depths of 30-50 feet and with the use of you electronics san be fairly easy to locate. Scan you Lakemaster chip on your Humminbird graph and seek soft bottom areas off edges of deep water . Tullibees are bug eaters and that is usually their food of choice. In their larvae stage, may fly and other suspending critters attract tullibees seeking an easy meal. In the Grand Rapids area there are key lakes to check for tullibees. Loon, Pokegama, Winnibigoshish, Deer, Trout, Little Bass and Swan lakes are all good choices for tullibees.
Tackle is pretty simple and can be crossed over from pan fishing with the use of 4 pound test monofilament and small pan fish type jigs. Bait can be somewhat optional and there are two general methods that both work equally as well. With the small jig fished just above schooled tullibees, bait with one or two wax worms, or euro larvae and slightly twitch in small jigging motions. Theothermethod is to take a small to medium gold or silver spoon. Remove the treble hook and attach an 8 inch dropper with a small 1/32 nd or 64th ounce bait with a wax worm or two. The flash of the spoon will attract the tullibees in and the small bait will catch them. Both presentations are very functional and successful when chasing tullibbes.
If you prefer not to smoke your own tullibees, S&S Meats in Grand Rapids is a great place to drop off your catch and have them take care of that for you. They do a wonderful job and can have them back to you in a few days.
Thank you for sharing your recent Ice Fishing success stories and pictures with us!