Tip-Up Tips: Increase Your Chances for Greater Ice Fishing Catches

November 14, 2017

Tip-Up Tips on Lake Erie

Through my decades of ice fishing, I’ve observed most fishermen drill a couple holes and get busy jigging or dropping bait down. There are times we all enjoy when the bite is fast and furious, but much of the time it takes persistence and patience to fill a bucket. It’s at these times that an arsenal including tip-ups can increase your catch rate and enjoyment on the ice.

Here in Pennsylvania, we are allowed any combination of five fishing devices that can include rods, hand lines or tip-ups. Regulations will vary state to state or province to province.

With tip-ups, you can fish for the same species you are targeting with your ice rods or try for different fish altogether.

When targeting perch or crappie, to tip the odds in my favor, I’ve set out tip-ups baited with small minnows. I’ll work a jig or bait with my hand line while keeping a watchful eye for a flag to pop on my tip-up. More often, I’ll pick up a half dozen large minnows or chubs at the bait store to try for pike or bass while I work my holes for panfish.

Most tip-ups have adjustable triggers to set the tension for the bait you are using and the species you are targeting.

Another tactic is to set out the maximum number of tip-ups and watch for a flag from the comfort of your hut or car. It is very exciting to suddenly have a flag pop up. Then the mad dash is on to the active tip-up to see what manner of beast tripped the trigger.

Consider these advantages to using tip-ups:

Cover more water. Assuming you are jigging at a fixed location, set your tip-ups in your line of sight at reasonable distances. Find weed lines, drop-offs or structure and try different depths. If fishing is slow, move periodically and strategically. Needless to say, if one location gets repeated hits, close in on that spot and get to work.

Set at different depths to locate fish. The default depth for ice fisherman is within a foot of bottom. Cameras and electronics have proven that fish may be found at any depth on a given day. Setting your tip-ups at different depths in the water column is a great way to find where the fish are roaming. Once a pattern is established, set all your tip-ups at the same depth.

Try different baits. What is on the menu today? Live minnows, salted minnows, wax worms or grubs. Chubs, suckers or smelt. Berkley PowerBait is available in a seemingly endless variety of colors, configurations and sizes. Try the basics or experiment with something new. Equipping tip-ups with these will enable you to try multiple bait combinations effectively, all at one time.

Tip-Ups are affordable. You can get started for a mere $4.99 for a basic HT Enterprises Hardwater Wood Tip-Up. Simply add line, split shot and a hook - you are ready. FishUSA stocks over two dozen models from different manufacturers at multiple price points.

Whether tip-up ice fishing becomes a core part of your ice fishing strategy, or you use tip-ups for exploring and bonus catches, suddenly seeing an orange flag against the white ice will add a new and exciting dimension to your ice fishing season.

Related Products

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Beaver Dam Original Tip-Ups feature quality, made in the U.S.A. construction, using only the best components available. Beaver Dam Tip-Ups are designed, tested and proven to meet the ever-increasing demand for higher-quality ice fishing equipment. These premium tip-ups are freezeproof, windproof and ready for a lifetime of use. Features a 150 ft. line capacity. Base measures 23" long by 3 1/8" wide. Flag rod measures approximately 17 1/2" base to tip.
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The Berkley Tip-Up, Model BITU, is a great all around tip-up for small to medium sized fish, from bluegill and perch to trout walleye. This tip-up features smooth operation and will work perfectly even in the coldest conditions. The multiple trip settings allow for use with different sized baits for multiple species. Features of these tip-ups include a freeze-proof lubrication and design, a heavy plastic frame with built-in ruler, a spring-loaded flag mechanism and a smooth trip mechanism with m...
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Clam Arctic Warrior Tip-Up
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The Clam Arctic Warrior Tip-Up works by tipping down when a fish tugs and then the flag goes up. With the Clam Artic Warrior Tip-Up, all you have the do is grab the rod and reel, set the hook and fight the fish. This Clam tip-up works excellent as a secondary line for walleyes, northern pike, lake trout and jumbo perch.
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Clam Blue Ice Tip-Up
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The Frabill Arctic Fire Tip-Up is a heavy duty, multi-species plastic tip-up. This tip-up has a 200 ft. capacity spool and is 19 inches in length. Its features include extra durable molded profile base neon green color for visibility, dual trip settings, light for panfish and walleye, heavier for large baits and gamefish, pre-lubed with exclusive Sub-Zero winter lubricant for friction free performance at any temperature.
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The Frabill Bigfoot Wooden Tip-Up is a heavy-duty, multi species, hardwood tip-up. This tip-up has a 500 ft. capacity spool and its base is 25 1/2 inches long. Its features include, oversize hardwood base provides added stability, multi coat resin finish for durability from the elements, dual trip settings, light for panfish and walleye, heavier for large baits and gamefish, pre-lubed with exclusive Sub-Zero winter lubricant for friction free performance at any temperature.
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Frabill Blackhawk Tip-Up
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The Frabill Blackhawk Tip-Up features an extra durable molded base design, perfect for whatever species of gamefish you are targeting through the ice. The removable spool shaft is pre-lubed with Frabill's Sub-Zero low-temp lubricant and the bait clip adds to ease of use. The multiple trip settings allow for use with small baits for small to medium sized fish or larger baits for larger fish.
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Frabill Classic Hardwood Tip-Up
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The Frabill Classic Hardwood Tip-Up offers traditional hardwood board style construction that many anglers prefer for simple operation and proven performance. Quality construction and design assure flawless operation on the ice. Ultra-smooth actuation and free-spooling performance make it ideal for a variety of species. With a 3 1/2 inch width by 23 1/2 inch length, this large footprint provides added stability on the ice during high winds.
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Frabill Dawg Bone Tip-Up
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The Frabill Pro-Thermal Tip-Up is one of the best tip-ups around, with a uniquely practical shape and features that set the performance standard. A round tip-up for a round hole. The circular shape and insulating design cover the entire hole up to 10 in. in diameter to prevent freeze-up down to 25º F. below. Pro-Thermal Tip-Up keeps slush and blowing snow out of the hole, and blocks out unnatural light that might spook a shallow water trophy. Each spool shaft is pre-lubed with special "Sub-Zero"...
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Frabill Round Tip-Up
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The Frabill Round Tip-Up features a unique round shape that covers holes up to 10 inches to keep blowing snow and slush out. It also covers the hole to block out unnatural light that may spook shallow water trophies. The easy stow design allows for multiple tip-ups to be stacked in five or six gallon pails.
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HT Enterprises
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HT Enterprises Mammoth Pro Tip-Up
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The HT Enterprises Mammoth Pro Tip-Up includes deluxe features for heavy duty fishing. The Mammoth Pro is constructed from finished hardwood and features quality steel and aluminum components for years of dependable service. The ultra-sensitive trip system includes a 17 1/2 inch tube with HT's Therma-Lube lubrication, for smooth operation in all conditions. The aluminum, 1,500 ft. super capacity spool features a large arbor design for fast line retrieval while the tension adjustment allows for d...
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HT Enterprises Polar Therm Extreme Tip-Up
HT Enterprises Polar Therm Extreme ...
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The JawJacker Hook-Setting Tip-Up utilizes the flex of your ice rod to effectively hook fish. This tip-up is light, compact, easy-to-use, and will increase your catch rates this winter. The JawJacker is easily adjustable to fit the length of your ice rod and your preferences on trigger sensitivity and hook placement. The ultra sensitive trigger can sense even the lightest bites.
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