Hey there! My name is Mike Rodman, and I’m the guy behind Ice Fishing Academy! I began ice fishing back in the mid-’80s.
Ice Fishing Academy is a website created to share what I’ve learned and to teach and assist others, especially newer people, to become more successful in ice fishing!
Over the years, I’ve taught many ice-fishing techniques to many people. I’ve taken families and kids, fathers and sons, and countless people out onto the ice for their first ice-fishing adventure.
I spent rewarding times on the ice introducing young boys to the sport of ice fishing through the Hooked on Hardwater event held by the Rapid City Club for Boys.
If you see me on the ice, come on over and say Hi! I’ll happily share what I know about the lake and what baits work.
I’ve even been known to hand out a spoon or jig that works if you’re not getting any bites!
First Ice Fishing Experience!
I wasn’t too sure about fishing through the ice at first. We didn’t have a lot of people fishing through the ice in SE Kansas!
It was mid-winter in southeast Kansas, and the ice was too thick to get the bass boat in the water. So, I was sitting in the house reading a regional midwest fishing magazine since I couldn’t get out to fish.
There was an article in the magazine written by a fellow named Dave Genz on ice fishing and his new Fish Trap shelter. The original flip over that later launched a whole new ice-fishing industry.
I decided to try it and headed out to Miami County Lake, a local spot friends and I fished for bass and crappie.
Cutting a hole in the ice next to a dock with a Stihl chainsaw, I dropped a Chartreuse Mr. Curly Tail jig down and hooked a nice largemouth bass on the first drop!
I became hooked on ice fishing and, to this day, spend as much time as I can ice fishing!
Where I Fish and Spend my Ice Seasons!
Trying to spend as much time on the ice as I can between work and family obligations, I have no problem traveling hundreds of miles on what others call “destination trips.”
Even though fishing on our small local stock ponds and state-managed lakes can be productive, the ability to fish on the ice, which most people only read about, is a great opportunity!
Fortunately, A number of my favorite places to fish are within a couple of days driving distance of my home!
High Country Ice Fishing for Trout
My all-time favorite place to ice fish is in the high-elevation mountains of Wyoming!
Plenty of trout (rainbow, brook trout, brown trout, splake, and lake trout) are found in these waters, and the solace you see in the high country mountains is tough to match anywhere else!
Tossing the basic gear needed into a backpack or pull-sled, hiking into a remote mountain lake, and standing alone while jigging a small plastic bait through the ice for trout is soothing for your soul.
No traffic noise, augers, ATVs, or sleds can be heard. Just the sounds of the breeze in the trees and the fresh scent of pine in the air.
Hiking a few miles into the Cloud Peak Wilderness area of Wyoming to solo fish a quiet lake at 8,000′ elevation is undoubtedly a top choice of mine.
Greenback Walleye Ice Fishing on Lake Winnipeg – Manitoba, Canada
Not much else to say, but if you ever get a chance to fish on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, do it! Spending a week on the ice with good friends and accomplished ice fishermen can’t be beaten!
It’s unreal how massive Lake Winnipeg is and how easy it is to get disoriented when driving by not being able to see the shoreline at times. Or how often Lake Winnipeg will break your gear!
On one trip, we traveled over 10 miles from the shore town of Gimli, Manitoba, to the southern part of the lake, crossing numerous ice heaves with minimal visibility.
Running our four-wheelers and UTVs by GPS, we arrived and returned from our fishing hot spots with no incidents.
We would see four-wheelers or UTVs stuck or broken down in random spots, so be careful if you head that way.
Discovering where and how to fish for these elusive Canadian Master Angler Walleyes was a treat to be enjoyed.
Go there with plenty of friends! Sharing time on the ice and later sharing dinner and drinks with good friends is priceless.
Lake Trout Ice Fishing in South Dakota
I believe lake trout are one of the hardest fighting fish you can target through the ice! And my favorite spot to go is on Pactola Reservoir, SD.
Whether you choose to jig a spoon or dead bait as deep as 100′ feet of water or more, or in water as shallow as 10′ or less, when a laker takes your bait, you are in for a fight!
There have been days where a dozen or more lake trout are landed and other days where you grind all day long to land one trophy.
Whether one or a dozen lake trout are caught, they are all revived and released to fight again.
I firmly believe in catch and release for these warriors that take 15-20 years to grow to trophy size.
Ice Fishing for Trout on Henry Lake, Idaho
Henry Lake is a fishing destination I don’t get to as often as I’d like! Even without the fishing, the scenery of Henry Lake, just west of Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming, is breathtaking!
The weather can be unpredictable, the winds can be howling, and the fishing can be fantastic! And did I mention being surrounded by scenic mountains?
Trout fishing in Idaho is a beautiful thing. Several non-standard techniques with plastic bait presentations work well on Henry Lake.
Plains of Wyoming and Montana for Walleye and Crappie
Although ice fishing in the mountains is unique, cutting holes in the ice across the plains of Wyoming and Montana can also be productive.
Enticing walleye to bite during the mid-afternoon can lead to a daunting day on the ice unless you’re familiar with the bite.
Many lakes and reservoirs can be successfully fished for walleye during the day and not only during the prime morning and evening bites.
Along with fine-tasting walleye, crappies are a favorite panfish of mine to target. Wyoming and Montana, known for their trout and flyfishing, can be very productive for crappie!
Locating suspended schools of crappie over deep basins and chasing them is a blast.
Not only do they aggressively hit micro-crankbaits and jigging Rapalas, but they will also CRUSH small plastic offerings!
In addition, crappie make terrific table fare!
Ice Fishing Bluegills in South Dakota
Now and then, over the ice season, ice fishing for bluegills in the Black Hills of South Dakota is something I have to do!
There were farm ponds in Kansas that would freeze solid enough for me to get out there and catch a mess of ‘gills!
As much as I like to target lake trout for their hard fighting abilities, bluegills on ultralight tackle are tough to beat!
BLuegills through the ice bring back many memories of first learning how to ice fish. Ice fishing in the Black Hills affords you numerous lodging choices and eateries.
Carrying a small selection of small spoons, jigs, and ice flies should have a few bluegills tapping on your baits!
Clam Outdoors Pro Day and Teaching Others
As a member of Clam Outdoors, I was thrilled to attend my first Pro Day quite a few years back. Learning new techniques and cutting-edge ice-fishing tactics, I learned more than I could share.
Sitting with this group of people from around the country that flew or drove in to attend was fantastic! Some of the best fishing folks were there to share and learn.
The ice fishing industry leaders, professional guides, and outdoor television hosts were there to share their knowledge freely.
Enough cannot be said about Clam Outdoors and Dave Genz, the Godfather of Ice fishing, who launched the current ice fishing industry that other companies followed in his footsteps.
The one thing every Clam Outdoors Ice Team member does and has done before joining Clam is teach and share with others their knowledge of ice fishing.
Over the years, I have ice fished in many states and Canada and have learned techniques on my own and through other Clam members and friends.
Ice Fishing Academy is to share the knowledge you need to fish on the ice successfully.
I will help you with your gear and equipment choices, baits and tackle, and techniques and strategies to enhance your time on the ice through Ice Fishing Academy.
Thank you for your time, and if you have any questions or needs, please feel free to use my Contact page to reach out to me.
~ Mike Rodman, Ice Fishing Academy