Inside The WildSide - Seasonal Solutions

Catch The Pre-Ice Bite!

Don’t pack away your open-water tackle just yet. Winter’s impending arrival means it’s time to take advantage of a unique and highly productive fishing pattern I like to call the “pre-ice bite.”

13 Fishing One3 Creed X Reel

Make no mistake, the lengthy feeding periods, extended strike windows and aggressive behavior of mid-fall are history once water temperatures dip into the lower 40-degree range. So the pre-ice bite doesn’t produce daylong action on active presentations like casting and trolling.

Early Fall Lure Selection

Instead, you have concentrated bursts of fish activity during prime times such as the last hour or so before and after sunset—with fish congregated in very predictable places. In most cases, you’ll find them in the same areas you will at first ice.

In the case of walleyes, look for classic structure like hard-bottom humps or transition zones at the ends of points going into the basin of the lake. Panfish may school over deep holes or soft-bottom basins, depending what the lake has to offer.

Early Fall Lure Selection:
(L-R) Northland Whistler Jigs, Thumper Jigs, Jigging Raps, Puppet Minnows, LIVETARGET Golden Shiner Rattle Bait

When you locate the fish, hover over them and subtly work vertical presentations like rattlebaits, jigging spoons & minnows, plus swimming and ball-head jigs tipped with a minnow, plastic or combination thereof. Gentle jig strokes interspersed with pauses that give the fish a chance to take the bait are generally your best cadence.

Late Fall Lure Selection:
(L-R) Northland Tackle Buck-Shot Casting Spoons w/single hooks, Assorted Ice Spoons (BuckShot, Macho-Minnows and Whistling Buckshot), Current Cutter Jigs, Gami-Jigs, LIVETARGET Golden Shiner Rattlebait, Northland Puppet Minnows

While the pre-ice bite is different that the patterns we enjoyed earlier in the fall, it offers anglers a great chance to get out and enjoy a few more short but productive open-water trips before winter locks down the lakes for the season.

Upcoming Events


November 30 | Fargo, ND

National Walleye Tour stage/TV Host and the face of Fishing the WildSide, Chip Leer will be the guest speakers at the FM Walleyes Unlimited, Inc., meeting Thursday, November 30th at the Ramada in Fargo, ND.  Chip will share  ips, tactics and strategies on how to catch more and bigger fish.


December 1-3 | St. Paul, MN

Shop more than 190 exhibits dedicated to die-hard ice fishing! View all new ice fishing products, including fish houses, augers, underwater cameras, digital fish finders, rods and reels, tackle, accessories, apparel and much more! Visit with Chip at the Northland Tackle, StrikeMaster Ice Augers, MarCum Technologies, 13 Fishing, Otter Outdoors booths.


December 9-10 | Rogers, MN

See what’s hot, and save big, for the upcoming ice fishing season at Cabela’s in Rogers, MN Dec 9-10. Catch seminars on new ice fishing technology, tackle, augers. Portable shelters, gear and more! Visit with Chip both days of this event.

Sign Up for our YouTube Page
and Win This Shirt!

Visit and subscribe to the Fishing The WildSide YouTube page for the hottest fishing techniques and products to help you catch more fish! Plus check out some of the awesome giveaways!

See what you missed and sign up today!



Check Out What's New

Marcum Lithium Shuttle

MarCum® Lithium Shuttle offers up to 40 hours of power

Strikemaster Lithium Ice Auger

StrikeMaster® Lithium 40V Ice Auger drills 100 holes in a single charge

Evinrude E-TEC G2 Winterizing

Easy as 1-2-3 to Winterize Your Evinrude E-TEC

13 Fishing College Bass Program

13 Fishing College Bass Season Highlights

Check Out What's Hot

13 Fishing

BIONIC Ice Braid

IMPULSE Plastics

Cabela's National Walleye Tour




Glo-Shot Spoon


For more tactics and techniques visit:

Based in Walker, Minnesota, noted fishing authority and outdoor communicator Chip Leer operates Fishing the WildSide, an outdoor sports marketing and communications company. For more information look to