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Does light attract fish when ice fishing? : Does light attract fish when ice fishing?

Does Light Attract Fish When Ice Fishing?

Key Takeaways

  • Using light can attract fish when ice fishing
  • Green lights are particularly effective for ice fishing
  • There are varied opinions among fishermen about the use of light to attract fish

Ice fishing is a popular winter activity for anglers, but it can often be challenging to attract fish in the cold and clear water. Many fishermen wonder if using light can help improve their chances of success. In this article, we will explore the question: Does light attract fish when ice fishing?

The Role of Light in Ice Fishing

According to experts, using light can indeed attract fish when ice fishing. Submersible lights are not only effective in the summer but also in the winter through the ice. The clear and cold water during winter makes fish more skittish, so it is important to use a light that is not too bright. A gentle and subtle illumination can be more enticing to fish rather than a glaring light that might scare them away.

Submersible lights start a natural food chain by attracting plankton, which is the primary food source for baitfish. As a result, larger game fish instinctively come to any light source in the water looking for a meal. Therefore, strategically placing a light source in your ice fishing spot can increase your chances of attracting fish.

The Effectiveness of Green Lights

Green lights have been found to be particularly effective for ice fishing. The illumination from a green light can travel a greater distance in open water compared to a typical flashlight or lantern. Not only that, but green light has a lesser impact on fish compared to white or yellow light, making it easier to identify fish without startling them.

Green lights are also commonly used to attract baitfish, such as minnows, which in turn can attract larger game fish such as walleye and pike. By creating a feeding frenzy near your fishing hole, you increase the likelihood of catching a trophy fish.

The Varied Opinions of Ice Fishermen

While expert opinions generally support the use of light to attract fish while ice fishing, there are varied opinions among fishermen. Some have noticed that using a lantern next to their hole can reduce the size and numbers of fish they catch. On the other hand, others have found that placing the light under or behind them can attract larger fish.

There is also a belief that shining a spotlight down the hole can attract fish. However, it is important to note that there are many variables to consider, such as ice thickness, ice clarity, and the time of the season, which can all impact whether using light attracts fish or not.

Additionally, the clarity of the water can affect the amount of light needed, with clearer water requiring less light. It has also been suggested that bright lights can attract bugs and plankton, which in turn can attract crappies. Therefore, it is crucial for ice fishermen to experiment and find what works best for their specific fishing conditions.

Tips for Using Light Effectively

Based on expert advice and the experiences of ice fishermen, here are some tips for using light effectively while ice fishing:

  • Use a submersible light that is not too bright, as a brighter light may scare more fish away than attract them.
  • Set up near some kind of structure, such as a drop-off, submerged brush, or pile of rocks, as these can attract fish.
  • Fish a few feet away from the light to give the fish a sense of safety and create an area of increased activity.
  • Keep the light just below the bottom edge of the ice to maximize its effectiveness.
  • Experiment with different colors of lights to see which ones attract fish more effectively.

By following these tips and considering the specific conditions of your ice fishing location, you can increase your chances of attracting fish using light.


In conclusion, light can be a valuable tool for attracting fish when ice fishing. Submersible lights, especially green lights, have been found to be effective in enticing fish and creating a feeding frenzy. However, it is important to consider the specific conditions and variables of your ice fishing spot, as well as experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you.

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Q: Why is ice fishing popular among outdoor enthusiasts?

Ice fishing is popular among outdoor enthusiasts because it combines the thrill of fishing with the unique experience of being out on a frozen lake or river. It offers a peaceful and serene environment, and allows individuals to connect with nature in a different way.

Q: How does light influence fish behavior during ice fishing?

Light plays a crucial role in fish behavior during ice fishing. It affects their feeding habits, movement, and activity levels. Fish are naturally attracted to light, and using artificial light sources can simulate natural feeding conditions, making them more likely to gather around the area where the light is present.

Q: What are the different types of artificial lights commonly used in ice fishing?

There are several types of artificial lights commonly used in ice fishing, including LED lights, fluorescent lights, and incandescent lights. LED lights are energy-efficient and offer long battery life. Fluorescent lights provide a bright and even illumination, while incandescent lights produce a warm glow.

Q: Are fish actually attracted to light during ice fishing?

Scientific studies have shown that fish are indeed attracted to light during ice fishing. Research has demonstrated that light can significantly increase the chances of catching fish. However, it’s important to note that factors such as water clarity, depth, and fish species can influence the effectiveness of light attraction.

Q: What are some tips for using light sources effectively in ice fishing?

To use light sources effectively in ice fishing, it is recommended to position the light near your fishing area, as fish are more likely to gather close to the light source. It’s also important to consider the optimal conditions for using lights, such as low light conditions or during dawn and dusk. Additionally, experimenting with different light colors and intensities can enhance your chances of attracting fish.

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