The dominant type of melt in the USA is rainbow melt. Usually not known as wild fish, but cold weather makes you do crazy things. And melt ice fishing is oddly fun.
Ice fishing requires a certain mindset. Or maybe it’s missing. After all, it’s cold and there won’t be a casting. Simply drill a hole, usually with an ice screw, through safe ice for access to water in liquid form. In PA, the size of the hole must not exceed 10 inches in diameter. It’s always good to know the rules, except for melt fishing. All you need to do is punch a hole the size of a 50 cent piece.
Melt ice fishing requires ultra-light ice fishing. These fish are slender and small, perhaps only in the 6 to 8 inch range, and weigh only a few ounces, or about the weight of a ballpoint pen. A rig can be made up of maybe three tiny hooks several inches apart, allowing it to land 3 ink pens at once.
You don’t hit hard; A cocoa puff-sized bobber just rolls around. Smelt have mouths so small that they may not be hooked, just hanging on the bait, generally on wax worms or the like. As is to be expected, they cannot fight a big fight even with the smallest duels. I had aquatic vegetation that struggled harder. But ice fishing trips are amazingly amusing.
Once a bite is detected, raise your leash quickly but steadily. Then, hold the enamel over a 5 gallon bucket, shake it off (remember, you probably aren’t really addicting), laugh, and repeat. If they really bite, it can be done with a pole in each hand. Melt ice fishing kind of reminds me of that claw-like arcade game.
Although bait sizes and are used as bait for pike, pikeperch, catfish, etc., the enamel cannot be considered a “bait fish” in terms of the daily limit. For example, in PA the combined limit for bait fish is 50, but there is no limit for Lake Erie if you catch enamel on hook and line. Just keep in mind how long it takes to clean those tasty bites before filling up too many buckets. I’m just saying yes.
Originally found in Atlantic watersheds in the northeast and in the Alaska and Canada watersheds in the Pacific, melt ice fish excursions are possible in about 30 states because they are widespread, according to the USGS. Check your state regulations when you get a new fishing license and see if this craze is available in your area this winter.