Ice Fishing Tips

Here are some ice fishing tips from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Ice Fishing Tips from Your Biologists

1. Don’t be afraid to fish close to shore where you may have better luck and can get out of the wind. For brook trout, jig with a Swedish Pimple and worm.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Kevin Dunham, Penobscot Region
  1. Find a fresh spot on a lake or pond. Anglers who explore and fish new shores that have not been fished yet usually have good consistent fishing and may find larger fish.
    – Fisheries Resource Supervisor Gregory Burr, Grand Lake Region


  1. Pay attention to bait size. If specifically targeting lake trout and other large predators, use large bait as that does work best. However, for all other species, try small to medium sized baitfish. Salmon, brook trout, and warmwater fish species (bass, perch, crappie, etc.) won’t usually pass up a 2-3-inch snack. Larger (4-5-inch) baitfish are usually less desirable.

– Fisheries Resource Supervisor David Howatt, Rangeley Lakes Region


  1. Learn to jig! 

– Fisheries Resource Supervisor James Pellerin, Sebago Lake Region


  1. If you are fishing for brook trout, fish shallow (in one to five feet of water), use small bait, and fish over gravelly or rocky bottom.
    – Fisheries Resource Supervisor Jason Seiders, Belgrade Lakes Region


  1. If you are fishing for lake trout (togue), try fishing around points of land that extend into deeper water.Focus on water depths of 15-40 feet off these landmarks and use large smelt for bait. Large togue cruise these areas searching for food and can often be caught close to the surface as well as near bottom.


  1. The most important component of a good early season ice fishing trip is safe ice. 
    – Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey, Moosehead Region
George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.