How to Hook a Minnow for Ice Fishing

How to Hook a Minnow for Ice Fishing
In winter, when lakes, ponds and coves freeze solid, ice anglers take to the hard water in search of their favorite fish species. With very few exceptions, the freshwater fish throughout the colder regions of North America will gobble down a minnow presented to them under the ice. Hooking the minnow through the back will allow it to both swim and remain alive for a long time. Hooking the minnow so it appears natural and remains on the line is not difficult, once you learn the correct technique.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ice fishing tackle
  • Minnows
  • Bait net
Step 1
Scoop a minnow from the bait bucket using a small bait net. Grasp the struggling minnow with your off hand. Hold the minnow with its head facing away from your dominant hand. Do not squeeze the minnow too tightly, to avoid injuring the fish or causing it to die.
Step 2
Grasp the hook on your tip-up line or ice fishing jigging rod by the upper half of the shaft near its eye. Hold the hook between your thumb and index finger tightly so that it will not move back and forth during the hooking process. Bring your middle finger down under the thumb and index finger to help you keep the hook steady.
Step 3
Locate a spot directly behind the upper, or dorsal, fin on the minnow's back. Place the sharp point of the hook between 1/3 inch and 1/2 inch, depending on the girth of the minnow, below that spot. By selecting this point on the minnow, you will avoid severing its spine with the hook and hitting any vital organs, which will allow it to continue swimming once you hook it and lower it into the water.
Step 4
Tighten your grip on the body of the minnow, but again, not so tight that you injure the fish. Push the hook into the minnow with enough force to pierce the skin initially and then drive the hook through the minnow's back, turning your wrist slightly clockwise as you do so. Bring the sharp point of the hook through the side that's opposite where it first entered.
Step 5
Slide the minnow up the shaft of the hook to make sure that you have gone through both sides with the hook's point. Slide it back down the hook so that the minnow, now impaled on the bend of the hook, has the shaft coming down from the eye of the hook on one side and the sharp point of the hook on the other side. Lower the minnow down through the ice into the water.

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