Ice Fishing – Vertical Jigging Flats



Run-and-gun vertical jigging, using a one-two punch of flashy spoons and subtle float rigs, is a great way to catch winter walleyes that are scattered across feeding flats. I use a ¼-ounce Lindy Flyer Jigging Spoon as an attractor; a size 4 to 6 Aberdeen or Tru-Turn style hook, tipped with a 2-inch Berkley Gulp! Minnow Grub and smashed minnow, serves as the follow-up presentation for walleyes that don’t crush the spoon.

Total Solutions Technique

When the fish are on a big flat, my goal is to cover as much water as possible—I’m not interested in subtleties. It’s better to mow the lawn than trim the hedges. So I drill a series of holes across a prime area of the flat (or use existing holes other anglers have abandoned) and move from one hole to the next, “speed spooning” to locate active fish.

First, I drop the spoon almost to the bottom. Then I jig it aggressively from six inches to two feet off bottom. If this doesn’t quickly draw in a fish, I tap the spoon on bottom for 10 to 20 seconds to raise clouds of sediment, then rip it violently in five-foot, whipping lifts and finish up by holding it about a foot off bottom. If nothing comes in, I’m on to the next hole. Often, a walleyes does come in. Sometimes it will smack the spoon and that’s that. But if the fish hesitates, I drop the grub and smashed minnow combo right in front of its nose and subtly jig it upward. Usually, that does the trick.

Total Solutions Equipment

Standard gear for this technique includes Berkley’s 28-inch, medium-action Lightning Rod Spinning Ice Rod LR28MS, coupled with an ultralight Abu Garcia Cardinal SX spinning reel. I prefer 4/1 Berkley FireLine Cystal Micro Ice line. Normally I tie direct, but if your spoon is spinning, add a small barrel swivel and 2-foot leader of 6-pound Vanish Fluorocarbon. I use a Pearl White or Pumpkinseed Gulp! Minnow Grub in clear water and bright sun, switching to Chartreuse or Fluorescent Orange in stained or overcast conditions.


Berkley® Lightning Rod® Spinning Ice Rod

Berkley® FireLine Crystal™ Micro Ice®
Image result for Abu Garcia® Cardinal® SX Spinning
Abu Garcia® Cardinal® SX

Berkley® Vanish®

Berkley® 2″ GULP!® Minnow Grub