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Dr. Jason Halfen

(Provided by Traditions Media)

Preparing to pull walleyes through an eight-inch hole in the ice begins not on the water, but at your computer.

With the arrival of hardwater across the northland, the much-anticipated ice fishing season has begun. Intrepid anglers, with ice picks draped over their shoulders and lightweight gear in tow, are now creeping across the shallows of their favorite lakes in search of the season’s first frozen success stories.

Many early-season walleye hunters are immediately drawn to the weed-studded breaklines that rim deeper basins; textbook locations that will produce apex predators for much of the season. However, these anglers are also walking right over large numbers of relatively unpressured walleyes that continue to prowl shallow flats during the first few weeks of ice.

Want to learn how to find and catch those fish? Read on!

Preparing to pull walleyes through an eight-inch hole in the ice, with only a few feet of water beneath, begins not on the water, but at your computer. This is one of the times that I make extensive use of satellite imagery to visually inspect the shallow areas of clear lakes, looking specifically for flats or bays that have distinct patches of heavy weed growth. The larger these patches are, the more baitfish they will harbor, and the more walleyes they will attract.

Turning these satellite-located weedbeds into easy-to-find fishing spots is simple: on Google Maps, just drop a pin where you would like to drill a hole, and then save that location. Now, open up the Google Maps app on your phone or mobile device, and presto: the magic of 21st century technology has your future-8-inch-hole-location displayed in its correct position, making it easy to find when you hit the ice.