Even though we've had an arctic blast in our area, ice fishing is something that should be done with caution.

If you think you have a pond or a spot on an area lake that you'd like to try your luck with this type of fishing, we've got some information that may help.

A reminder that safety precautions are in order, and anglers will need to adjust tackle and techniques for the best chance for success. Bluegill and crappie are popular catches. It’s not unusual for an ice angler to catch a channel catfish or a largemouth bass.

So if you want to try this new opportunity, you'll need to adjust your techniques. What works in summer won’t be the best approach through ice. Work them slowly, alternate stillness and slow movements.

One of the differences is bait in the winter. Most feeding by fish in a pond is done from the mud where insects are hatching and emerging. They also feed on other tiny organisms so you're best bet is to use small baits and lures.

According to Tory Mason, Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologist and veteran ice fisherman, he prefers small 1/64 ounce jigs tipped with waxworms.

Waxworms are quarter-inch long white worms that have a scent, size, and color fish like. He makes sure to cover the hooks or hooks completely with the worms.

Your best best bet is to fish with short, light rods and reels spooled with 4-pound test line made especially for ice fishing.

For more info on ice fishing go to the MDC Online Newsroom.

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