Regional Offices > Lander Region > Lander Region News > Ice fishing tips, tricks, and FAQ's

Ice fishing tips, tricks, and FAQ's

December 23, 2019
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The ice fishing has been good in many areas throughout the Lander Region this season and with ice newly on the waters, this is a great time to get out and fish. Fisheries biologists suggest the upper reservoir areas at Boysen as they are are usually best during the beginning of the season, particularly in the Poison Creek Bay area.  Although not quite as good as the beginning of the month, fishing reports from the third week of December were still fair, particularly for sauger and rainbow trout.  As ice becomes thicker and safer, more anglers will move into the main body of the reservoir.
Scroll down for even more information about fish populations after the tips and FAQ's section.

Ice Safety Tips and ICE FISHING FAQ’s:
  • Never go on the ice alone.
  • It is not recommended to drive a vehicle onto the ice.
  • Take along plenty of warm clothes. It is also a good idea to keep extra clothes nearby.
  • To walk on the ice make sure it is at least 4 inches thick and is clear and solid (8 inches if the ice is cloudy)
  • It is a good idea to wear an ice pick around your neck and bring a throwable flotation device in case someone falls in.
  • Make sure you are in attendance of your rods/tip-ups while ice fishing (within 300 yds).
    • Sleeping in the camper/truck is not attendance even if you are within 300 yds.
    • Going to check in a fish during a derby does not constitute attendance of your remaining lines.
    • Webster's definition of Attendance: to be present at or to be dealing with
  • When fishing with tip-ups or when fishing more than 2 lines (only on bodies of water under the special winter fishing provisions-check regulations) make sure lines or tip-ups are labeled with the name of the person fishing.
  • Anglers are responsible for checking their own lines.
Even more TIPS and TRICKS from our biologists:
Anglers are currently catching good numbers of sauger at Boysen, which is good to see.  The sauger catch rate in 2019 gill nets was the second-highest observed since 2002, indicating the population is continuing to recover from the crash in the early 2000’s that was caused by extended drought. 
It is important for anglers to be able to identify sauger from their close relative walleye because of differences in creel limits.  The creel limit on sauger in the Wind River drainage (including Boysen Reservoir) is two, whereas six walleye can be harvested daily or kept in possession.  Sauger and walleye limits in the Wind River drainage are not combined, so an angler can possess up to eight fish as long as no more than two are sauger and no more than six are walleye.  All walleye and sauger caught in the Wind River drainage also must remain whole (gills and entrails may be removed) until the angler is off the water and done fishing for the day.  Once off the water and done fishing for the day, walleye and sauger may be filleted for transportation and storage.  A piece of skin large enough to allow species identification  (at least one (1) inch square) shall remain on all fish fillets while in transit or in the field.


Although the Ocean Lake and Boysen walleye populations are currently robust (see 2018 Ocean Lake article and 2019 Boysen article), some anglers are not catching many walleye.  The inability for these anglers to catch walleye may be related to the time of day they fish, as most anglers fish in the late-morning and throughout the afternoon.  However, walleye are most active at night, making it less likely to catch them during the middle of the day.  Although ice fishing at night may not appeal to many anglers (it is colder and you can’t see well), the chances of catching walleye are better when they are more active.  If night fishing does not sound like fun to you, fishing at dawn or dusk will also likely help you put a few more walleye on your stringer.

Please check your regulations for limits and special line provisions. Feel free to call 307-332-2688 with any questions. 


- WGFD -

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