Last time I fished on "cracking" ice, I limited out on perch. Since then I've only managed less than a dozen keepers per visit in the same spot. Was in 25 fow, maybe shallower water is louder for the fish?
I would tend to disagree with cracking ice spooking the fish but that is just me. I'm not trying to play devil's advocate or start a raging debate or ruffle feathers either. All I'm saying is that the ice cracking is a normal sound this time of year and the fish have to eat at some point. Being somewhat of an analytical/scientific type of person I would relate cracking ice to temps plummeting and ice forming which from my experience during really cold weather the fish typically shut down anyways until the front moves through or the temps/weather stabilizes for a couple of days. Again, this is only an opinion of mine.
At the same time, many say that power augers spook fish as well. This could be true to a point if holes are constantly being drilled in an area but nearly every trip I take I fire up my 71cc 10" auger and pop a hole and mark fish at least 50% of the time or 50% of the holes I drill. There are plenty of videos out there on YouTube and such that show this happening too. As a matter of fact, 2 straight trips last week I drilled 5 holes within an 8x8 area to fit inside my Big Foot Clam for my buddy and I to fish and I caught fish dropping my unbaited teardrop down the hole to set the depth on my slip bobber. My buddy was laughing saying he couldn't believe it the first time and thought I was crazy when I did it the 2nd time. Maybe it is luck (which I normally only have bad luck) or maybe it is because the fish are somewhat used to it or if they are hungry they are just hungry and a little noise just doesn't matter. At the same time, I don't go around stomping my feet or scraping the ice with my cleats, and I refrain from talking loud or playing music inside my shanty just in case.
Also, a few times I fished this year when the ice cracked you could hear it coming a few hundred yards away until it sounded like a freight train and then could continue to hear it as it passed by or under the shanty until it was too far away to hear anymore. So the ice is cracking all over the lake so there really is no where for the fish to be to get away from it. Monday when I fished a few times the ice cracked and pushed the water up and down a couple inches in my holes and within a couple seconds several times I got bites as the bobbers were going up and down with the wake created from the cracking and expanding ice. I typically fish multiple rods more or less dead sticking lively minnows in which I'll twitch every few seconds to get the minnow swimming around again if they are not already and this is what usually triggers a bite so the cracking and wakes from the ice did it for me and produced fish. So if you really thought that cracking ice affected fishing would you ever fish if it was below freezing out? If your answer is no then you probably really don't believe that it makes a difference or you probably wouldn't waste your time. Again, just my opinion.
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