Ice Fishing Report 1-31-22 for the greater Grand Rapids, Minnesota area brought to you by: Tom Neustrom. Tom is a professional fishing guide, and owner of MN Fishing Connections guide service.
Brrrrr. Turn up the heat!! The weather has been hard to predict lately and the many cold fronts that have been moving through have created other options for ice anglers. With all the species that are available in the Grand Rapids area, we never run out of places to fish for them. Tullibee fishing has been an option for decades and it is no wonder. They fight well on light tackle, are most often in schools, and are excellently smoked or pickled. Not every lake supports a good population of tullibees and targeting the best opportunities for success should be looked for at the DNR Fisheries web site. Some of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area that have good populations of tullibees are Trout Lake, Pokegama, Little Bass, Wabana, Big Splithand, Big Winnibigohish, and Bowstring.
When fishing Tullibees there are three things to always keep in mind. Good electronics, Lite tackle, and a good lake map for starters. Most often Tullibees are found suspended over depths of 20-40 feet and are constantly on the move. Drilling lots of holes can help to stay on them as they move through the water column. They feed primarily on larvae so finding these deeper areas with mud or marl bottom can be key locations for finding tullibees. Good electronics will allow you to see the precise depth these schools are and hole hoping with them will help find active schools. Sometimes if you are lucky you can set up a school that moves back and forth through the area you have drilled several holes and you can ambush them when they keep returning to a small area. One nice thing is most often a day bite and low light conditions are not a pre-requisite for getting bit.
Tackle to tangle with tullibees is simple and remains lite. Similar rods and reels that you fish panfish work excellent and fluorocarbon test mono in the four-pound test range is ideal. Baits can be your choice but a few options work better than others. Small spoons baited with a cluster of euro larvae are hard for them to resist. The Buck Shot Rattle spoons from Northland Tackle can also be key. Colors such as Super Glow Goldfish, Gold Shiner, and Silver Shiner will call the most finicky tullibees to the hole. One little trick is to take the treble hook off and attach a dropper line with a small Northland Tungsten Punch Fly can be a presentation that will produce when other baits tullibees will shy away from. For an added incentive attach a wax worm or euro larvae to the tip and it can make a difference at times. Tullibee fishing is just another good angling option for the Grand Rapids area with lots of fun and action.