Is Ice Fishing Good At Night?

Night Ice Fishing
Is Ice Fishing Good At Night?

Fishing is a truly unique hobby that brings a lot of excitement and joy.

It’s probably the relaxing ambiance in combination with building anticipation that draws many to the activity. That being said, there was once a time when fishing was one of the few viable means of feeding your family.

Heck, this is still somewhat true in today’s time when you consider commercial fishing. Another great thing about the hobby is the versatility of it. Anglers can fish for bluegill and catfish in pay lakes, they can seek out marlin in the deep ocean waters, or they can simply visit the local lakes and hunt for perch.

Out of all the fishing options available it is the ice fishing that has grown in popularity over the years. Ice fishing is truly unique and provides an entirely different environment than what you would experience with deep sea fishing or even fly fishing.

If you want to even take your ice fishing experience to the next level, you should consider doing it at night. Not only is night ice fishing different from anything that you have ever done before, but it can be more lucrative than ever because fish roam at night.

So when you ask, is ice fishing good at night?

Yes, ice fishing is very good at night. you can catch a lot of crappie and walleye as they are very active at night. Other species such as smelt, catfish and trout can be found in some conditions as well. 

The Key Species Available At Night

Night Ice Fishing Species

Fishing at night might be one of the most lucrative ventures for fisherman, but it should be noted that not all fish hunt for food during the night hours. In fact, the crappies and the walleyes are the two key species that like to hunt at night.

It really is the microscopic plants and animals that the fish are feeding on, but if they find something a little bigger they will more than likely indulge. This is why it is imperative to use the right bait when you are ice fishing at night. If not, your prey won’t be able to see your bait for long distances.

This is especially true when it comes to walleye. This species of fish has a low-light vision over their prey. This is one of the reasons that this species hunt in the last minutes of light and after dark.

The Key Night Fishing Spots

Night Ice Fishing Spots

Walleyes and crappies might choose the late night of the hours to do their hunting, but this doesn’t mean that catching them is going to be as simple as throwing a baited line in the water. As you learned above, you need to use the right bait. Well, using the right bait is not the only thing that will ensure your success.

You also need to make sure that you are choosing prime locations. It would probably be virtually impossible to list all the after-dark location that fish might visit in the ice realm, but there are some guidelines that you can stick to. Sticking to these guidelines will only enhance your efforts.

Some of the best spots are right at the very tips, ends, or major points. If you can find a prime location right at the end of a major point, you are going to be able to clean up during the late hours of the night. Another ideal location would be right at the top of a break line or drop off.

This is especially true if the area is filled with a bunch of healthy, green weeds. Fish the place where the weeds stop growing and you will more than likely walk away with the biggest catches of the year. The top of sunken islands also known as humps is great night ice fishing locations.

When you are out there it is also important to look for ice houses. Ice houses are pretty known as areas where fish feed and you won’t be doing yourself any favors if you don’t jump of these prime fishing spots.

Other Species Available At Night

It can be easy to get bored if you are catching crappies and walleyes on right after another. Well, the good news is that the walleye and crappies are not the only nighttime star of the ice fishing world. There are other species out there is certain locations.

Take the catfish and trout for example. Depending on certain conditions, you might be able to find both of these species perusing the cold waters during the wee hours of the night. Bass, pikes, and muskies have also been known to take the bait if the opportunity presents itself.

Bluegills and perch might be extremely rare in the night fishing world, but it should be noted that it does happen. These species are probably more apt to take the bait if it is glowing. That being said, there is one thing that is for sure. You simply won’t catch any fish if you don’t get out there and try.

The Benefits Of Night Ice Fishing

Night Ice Fishing Benefits

In some areas, it may be difficult to ice fish at night. The temperatures may make it unbearable. However, there are some benefits of night ice fishing. As long as the temperatures aren’t too low, you will definitely benefit from trying your luck at night.

Below, you will discover the major perks of ice fishing at night.

Less Competition

When you go ice fishing, there is a pretty good chance that your buddies want to tag along. This means that you’re going to be competing against these individuals for fish. Those buddies are decreasing your chances of landing a big one.

If you go late at night, you’ll probably end up alone. That solitude might be scary for some. For others, it ensures that they’ll have the first pick of the fattest fish.

Less Wind

Wind tends to blow harder during the day. This can make the water rough and increase the difficulty of landing a fish. At night, you’ll be able to avoid such problems.

After all, the wind will be gentler and the water will remain still. This can give you an advantage over the fish. Plus, the decreased wind of the speed will make it easier to tolerate the cold.

More Time

Another great thing about ice fishing at night is the time. During the day or evening, you probably have to worry about rushing home and getting ready for bed. After all, you cannot afford to miss work.

When you fish at night, you’ll have the entire night to yourself. Just make sure you fish on the weekends or days when you’re going to be off work.

Otherwise, getting up in the morning will be nearly impossible.

Better Odds

Finally, you should know that ice fishing at night is going to force the odds to swing into your favor. This is exactly what you want. During the winter months, certain fish tend to be more active at night.

This includes crappies. This is probably the best time to catch walleyes too. With a little bit of luck, you’ll also be able to find smelt, trout, and catfish.

Either way, ice fishing at night can indeed be effective. Just remember that you’ll need to dress warmly to ensure you’re able to make it through the night.

Cons Of Ice Fishing At Night

As you’ve already found out, there are plenty of great reasons to ice fish at night. Nevertheless, this isn’t the perfect solution.

There are some cons associated with night ice fishing and you’ll want to learn about them before you head to the lake.

Fewer Species

One thing to note is that some fish species prefer to remain dormant at night. This means that you won’t be able to catch them.

In return, the number of species that you’ll be able to catch at night will decrease.


It is tougher to fish at night. There is no question about it. When you fish at night, you’re going to have a rough time trying to see. In return, you may get yourself into a dangerous situation.

You can reduce the risks by using proper lighting. Still, it is safer to fish during the day.

Night Ice Fishing Equipment

While the gear utilized for ice fishing is similar for both day and night, ice fishing after dark will require additional equipment. Common ice fishing equipment includes an ice auger, shovel, spud bar, sieve, rod and reel, tackle box, lures and tip-ups.

A portable stool or seat should also be included in your arsenal. The seat should be lightweight but durable, so you can utilize it for balance and stabilization.

A lantern, flashlight or some type of lighting will be required when going out on the ice at night. Night vision goggles or binoculars can also come in handy but these devices are optional.

Use Vibrations To Call In More Fish

If you want to be truly successful at underwater night ice fishing, you need to learn to work with vibrations. Of course, choosing the right spot and bait are going to factor in as well, but vibrations will attract the fish even if your bait cannot be seen.

The key to this is to rapidly yet subtly twist your wrist so that it moves no more than 1/8th an inch. This should cause your jig to vibrate. When you are performing this motion it will be key to raise and lower your rod a couple of feet in slow and smooth motions.

This virtually gives the impression that your jig is moving, dancing, or riding a bull. The key to this to make sure that the hook end is kicking higher than the head.


Ultimately, it is entirely possible to ice fish at night. In fact, it might be to your advantage to fish at night. Still, there are some minor cons. If you’re going to partake in night ice fishing, you need to prepare thoroughly to ensure everything goes smoothly.


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