Fish open water this fall to catch winter fish through the ice
A tool designed for open-water fishing will help you pull more fish through the ice this winter – Insight Genesis, Go-Free’s custom lake-mapping service.
“Insight Genesis offers several fish-finding tools that are simply not available with any other flasher/depth finder system on the market,” says Lowrance Pro-Staffer Reid Miller. “It’s an extraordinary tool, which I’ve used extensively in the open-water season to improve my ice-fishing success in the winter.”
Insight Genesis is the innovative, online service that empowers anglers to create custom lake maps from sonar data recorded with the Lowrance sonar unit on their own boats. If you record sonar logs while fishing from the boat in the late fall, the maps you create will help you find fish through the ice in the winter.
“Ice fishing has a lot of similarities to open-water fishing, and you’ll often catch fish in October and November in the same places you will in December,” Miller says. “Focus on key structure in the lake that will hold fish. Some structure will hold fish throughout the winter, some only at specific times of the season – basin crappies and shallow ‘gills, for example.”
The core function Insight Genesis provides is the ability to create an improved and precise contour map of your favorite body of water. The blue-shaded map shown below is a perfect example – store-bought digital maps for this lake show contours only at 5-foot intervals.
“A lot of fish-holding structure could be missing between contour lines drawn at five feet,” Miller says. “There’s almost nothing to be gained from looking at a map of a lake this size with only 5-foot contours. But one-foot contours show the kind of detail and structure that can help me find fish. By mapping this lake myself, with the transducer on my own boat, I can create my own map with one-foot contours.”
Another great Insight Genesis feature that will help you find and catch more fish through the ice is the bottom-hardness map, shown below. The darkest areas are the hardest-bottom spots, the lightest areas the softest-bottom spots.
“Before Insight Genesis came along, finding the fish-holding transitions between hard-bottom and soft-bottom areas required either a lot of guessing, a really long pole, or a scuba tank and wet suit,” Miller says. “With the Insight Genesis bottom-hardness map, however, you can easily find and fish transitions between areas of differing bottom composition – bedrock, gravel, sand, mud and silt. Drill your holes directly over those spots by walking or driving right to them while looking at the Gensis bottom-composition map on your Lowrance unit’s screen.”
Another great Insight Genesis feature that will help you find and catch more fish through the ice is the vegetation map, shown below.
“Yeah, that’s right, you can make a complete map of all the vegetation in your favorite ice-fishing lake!” Miller says. “It almost sounds too good to be true.”
“This will absolutely be one of the greatest tools in your arsenal – especially for early-ice bluegills that are still relating heavily to weed-lines, and other species that are using vegetation for cover,” Miller continues. “It’s amazing how much more precisely you can place your holes when you’ve mapped the exact shape of the weed-line you want to fish.”
You can use the same Lowrance sonar/GPS unit on hardwater as you do on open water, be it an HDS, Elite or Hook unit. The only difference is that you hook it up to an ice transducer and a smaller, portable battery. Hook and the smaller Elite and HDS units can be carried from hole to hole in a Lowrance Universal Portable Pack, a weatherproof soft-side carrier with a zippered front, rear access, zippered accessory pockets, easy-find mesh stow pouches and an adjustable display platform that elevates your fish-finder for easier viewing.
“Whether you’re fishing from a boat or through the ice, the more time you spend fishing a spot-on-the-spot rather than dead water, the more fish you will catch,” Miller says. “Insight Genesis custom mapping gives you the power to find and fish those spots better than any other tool available.”
Wired2Fish Insight Genesis ice-fishing scouting video
For more tips on using Insight Genesis as an ice-fishing scouting tool, watch this Wired2Fish video: