Simple Tips for Deep Water Ice Fishing

By Rob Manthei
My name is Rob Manthei. I guide the waters of northern Wisconsin. A lot of our lakes are very clear and many species of fish spend a majority of their time using deep water. When I am guiding, it is very common for me to set 15 to 20 tip-ups for my clients. I need to be fast and efficient when setting and re-setting my tip-ups.

Just like any other type of fishing, duplication is often the key to success. Marking the exact depth that fish are and keeping your offering in the strike zone is very important. I know that many people use a small bobber, a button, or even a small split-shot to mark the depth on their line to save the depth. These will all work, but with the bobber and/or button, usually these items need to be removed to allow proper winding of line back onto the spool when its time to go. I prefer to use slip-bobber knots to mark my depth. These pre-tied knots are very visible and slide up and down the main line very easily. They also don’t require removal when spooling the line back up on the tip-up. This is time saving and also a blessing on your hands when it is 10 below zero at the end of the night.

When attacking walleye, lake trout, and pike in deep water it is very important to have a spool that can handle a high capacity of line. I am sometimes setting lines down 60 to 80 feet for lake trout, which is typically more line than most tip-ups can handle. The Frabill Big-Foot is the answer to this problem. With a huge capacity spool and very large visible flag, this bad boy will fit all the needs of the deep water ice-fisherman. When one of these predators takes a bait in deep water, they usually are off to the races. This is another advantage of the large capacity spool.

Matching your tackle to your presentation is just as important during the frozen season as it is during the open water season. Making small little adaptations will pay off big in the end.


Rob offers many types of fishing adventures for all season’s targeting Walleyes, Muskies and Bass in Vilas, Iron and Oneida Counties in Northern Wisconsin. During the summer Rob is a guest instructor at Andy Myer’s Lodge in Ontario, Canada and appears on John Gillespie’s Waters and Woods 4-6 times per year. Rob and his staff are all accredited, professional, fully licensed and insured fishing guides with the latest fish finding, navigation and safety equipment on board. Have fun and catch fish is what we are all about….We have the tools and knowledge to show you a great time on the water. Catering to all skill levels. 

Rob owns and operates Fibbers Resort & Restaurant and Rob Manthei Guide Service in St Germain WI. For more information or to contact Rob please visit RobManthei.Com and FibbersResort.Com