One of the greatest fisheries in the Midwest and especially Northeastern Wisconsin is Green Bay. With 1,626 squares miles of water to fish it is a huge and sometimes intimidating body of water to tackle. Green Bay is well known for its trophy walleye, musky, and smallmouth bass. One of the more recent fish to lurk the waters of Green Bay is the white fish. Whitefish have been in Lake Michigan forever but with changing food sources and spawning rituals the whitefish is now booming all over Green Bay. Fishing for these slippery beasts through the ice is the most fun and action packed fishing one can do on Green Bay in the winter!
Guiding day in and day out on Green Bay I have learned a ton about whitefish behavior and what a whitefish wants. Everything from your rod and line to your jigging technique and lure color can affect a bad day on the Bay to a great day. I like to use a medium light rod with 4lb mono or braid. I also always run a "slider" hook, either a small jig or treble hook above my swivel. Then typically I run 20 inches of line from the swivel down to the main lure.
Technique and lure selection is very important to catching whitefish. The primary food source for them is the goby. This is important to keep in mind when selecting lure color and presentation. Gold and copper is probably the number one color on Green Bay. Those two colors are very close in appearance to a goby. A gold Swedish Pimple loaded with wax worms has claimed more whitefish lives than any other lure out there. But there are many other lures that will out fish a spoon. What a shock!
With so many anglers chasing the whitefish they become more difficult to catch just like any other fish when they become pressured. When it gets pressured and the whitefish become finicky I change my tactics from spoons to other lures. Rattle baits and blade baits really come in handy when the fish spread out and aren't schooled up. The Rapala Rippin Rap and Salmo Chubby Darter are a couple of my favorite rattle baits. These baits can ring in fish from all over the lake and bring them to your hole. Although the rattle will bring them in, sometimes the aggressiveness of the rattle bait will spook them away. A technique I have found extremely productive is blade baits. The Vibrations Tackle Echo Tail really is perfect for being aggressive and being finesse at the same time. Ripping the Echo Tail and getting the vibration out there will bring the whitefish in, and then with the small plastic tail on the back of the Echo Tail you can make small finesse bluegill style motions to get the fish to bite. Dynamite combination!
Whitefish is just a fun fish to catch and makes a great time on the ice for the whole family. If you are looking for something to do this winter, definitely check out the Green Bay whitefish. You won't be disappointed!
Also make sure you have up to date fishing reports and safe ice reports by contacting local bait and tackle shops like Smokey's on the Bay, Green Bay WI, 920-436-0600!