Ice Fishing Insights from J.J. Malvitz

Capt. JJ Malvitz, 22, was born and raised in Door County, Wisconsin. He is a 5th- generation angler to fish the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. He’s a senior at UW Green Bay.

Q: In your area, what makes the bite the toughest and how do you overcome it to still catch fish?
The constant noise of trucks, ice drills and people is the biggest challenge when fishing for whitefish. So I fan out to areas not as accessible to the average fisherman.

Q: What’s the biggest myth in ice fishing?
In my area, the biggest myth is that the bay of Green Bay never freezes over. The biggest thing that affects ice formation on Green bay is wind. And wind can shift ice and present dangerous hazards, so be safe.

One of the more common myths, is that whitefish is a trash fish. But whitefish is some of the finest table fare around! Regarded for their tender white meat, whitefish are shipped from Door County around the globe – to England, Spain, Italy, you name it.

Q: What’s the number-one thing you see other anglers doing wrong when they are not able to get consistent bites?
Not getting away from the masses. Sometimes you can do all right in a crowd, but nine times out 10, the bite will be tough.

JJ Malvitz quote

Q: In what specific ways does using the best products in the industry help you catch more fish consistently?
My Polaris Ranger Crew vehicle allows me to cover ground quickly. The single most important thing to fishing the vast expanses of the Great Lakes is mobility.

This allows a run-and-gun approach – drilling holes with my StrikeMaster Lazer Mag [Product 'Lazer%20Mag' not found!] sinking a MarCum VS825SD [Product 'VS825SD' not found!] underwater camera down to check to see if there are fish.

Otter portable shelters combine warmth, mobility and fishability. They also pull behind my Polaris without “dog tailing.”

As a guide, it can be hard to entertain young anglers, even if fish are coming up the holes. Having a MarCum underwater camera keeps these future anglers hooked on the sport. It is sure cool watching their faces when a fish sucks in their jig!

* Editor’s note: Responses were edited for length.

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