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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if people are having better luck with live minnows or cut bait. I have tried both for pickerel and had decent success with both. I have also used some berkley gulp alive minnows with some success.

Just trying to figure out if live minnows are woth the effort. What you folks think?

Thanks
 

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Hey i don't know what the fish prefer out in NB, but i know what they prefer here in Ontario. Pretty much any species around here(lake trout, brookies, northern pike, walleye, black crappie, yellow perch, splake) prefer live minnows over any other bait bigtime. A guy that keeps live minnows live will out fish a dead minnow fisher 3 to 1 on most days. Northern Pike(look almost the same as Chain Pickeral but bigger, if you are not familiar with the species) can do well on dead baits/cut bait but we find live is definitely more productive day in day out. Sometimes Black Crappie and occasionally brookies will be right onto Dew Worms, which is about the only thing that can compete with small minnows. We've tried many soft scented plastics(powerbait, gulp ect) for many species on the ice, but good old minnows take the prize. In the summer gulp and other plastics catch a TON of fish.(i burned through a 72 piece kit of power worms last year on smallmouth and pike in about 10 hours of fishing last summer)
 

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Live minnnows all the way, for pickerel nothing works better in my opinion, but thats not to say you cant catch a lot of pickerel on cut bait, because you can and will especially smelt. When i use cut smelt i prefer the whole ones with guts still in them, they seem to work way better than the ones already dresseed, all the extra blood in the water adds to the smell...buyt live minnows will outfish smelt anyday of the week., especially on tip-ups, where you wil have constant motion of the minnow moving, where as with smelt you have no motiion, most pickerel io find i catch on tip-ups with cut bait is right when i move it or shortly after, pickerel will sit and watch a still bait for a long time waiting for it to move before hitting...watched it on friends aqua view many times..minnows they charge in and nail it most times, qith smelt you may on,ly be getting 1 or 2 of the hits within a time frame out of the 10 you prbly would with minnows unless you are frequently going around tending your lines...as for the effort most times its worth it others its not, this weeknd for the tourny i made 3 seperate trips to catch minnows, twice my traps where emptied by someone else(bait on the ice none in trap, no minnows either) and the 3rd time i only had a dozen minnows since i only had a couple hours before to catch them...not worth it in this case
 

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for me it`s more a question of live/whole dead fish or cut bait. for pickerel, i would say cut bait works but nowhere near as well as the whole fish, live or dead. and most times, i would say live bait is best, except that i have noticed a real tendancy for them to hit dead baits at least as well the last couple years. the last two pickerel tournies for instance, the first i caught all of my pickerel on the same tip up...and the same dead smelt.. at the tourney last week, the pickerel were more active but over half of my pickerel were caught on dead baits (all whole fish), there was a group of around 15 people just up from me fishing cut bait and i landed more pickerel than all of them combined. they however did land way more yellow perch than i did (i just landed one and he had been chewed on by a pickerel)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I do a TON of pickerel fishing in the spring and summer but I am new to the whole ice fishing thing and I must say that I love it! I appreciate all the advice and I guess I will have to set mt minnow trap and try both the live and dead minnows.

I am planning on going out for a fish this weekend on the Washademoak (pending weather). i don't really want to fish in the rain......but i guess if the fishing is good then i will have to stay out!

Thanks again guys!

Good luck the rest of teh hard water season!
 

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So how do you catch minnows in the winter?
Try a minnow trap with bread inside. You will need a bigger hole than usual, though, and you will have to tie it so as to when pull it up, it'll be pointed towards the hole and not broad-side, so it'll come right up without you having to put your hands in that cold water to fit the trap through the hole.
 

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Does anybody keep live minnows in their house over the winter - like in an aquarium. I was wondering how many you can keep in certain size aquarium and how much feed they need.
 
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