I took 18 minutes of footage, pretty much at random and sped it up 10X to show the activity that happens under the ice. Now keep in mind that if you weren't looking down the hole, you'd think there was nothing there since I didn't hook a fish during this 18 minute portion. What amazed even me, was the number of fish on the video that I didn't see while peering down the hole in a darkened shack.
So here's the lessons I learned at how this type of "research" changes or reinforces some of things I do to be a better ice fisherman.
1) Looking down the hole is not only good to see the fish strike but also gives you tremendous confidence knowing that the fish are there. Now I know that for every fish I see even in fairly shallow water, there are probably another 4 or 5 outside the hole I can't see.
2) You can see the small immature salmon congregate whenever I re-positioned the camera and kicked up a cloud of silt. We often bounce or large spoons off the bottom for a similar effect. I know a buddy of mine that will aggressively pound the bottom and just let his spoon lie on the bottom with no action for a few seconds. big fish will suck up the lure right off the bottom. The only reason I don't do it more is it clouds up the water and I love to sight fish so its a love/hate deal for me. What I may do is to jig a big spoon or even use a 8oz cannon ball sinker and just pound the bottom with it every now and then. Not sure if its the silt cloud, the sound, or the combination that attracts them but I know it does.
3) It's hard to tell when its sped up 10X but what you would notice at normal speed is that all the immature salmon came cruising leisurely by. That's not good. They are too comfortable. I have witnessed many times where small immature salmon or sticklebacks would be swarming my bait and then all the sudden instantaneously scatter and you know a big fish is near by.
4) With the number of 6 to 8 inch immature salmon I saw on the tape, I am definitely going to spend some time jigging BIG spoons or big swimbaits here. There has to be BIG fish utilizing this food source. I have caught some nice dollies and burbot on Big Lake using spoons that I used to jig halibut and rockfish. I think they were 3oz and 5oz Krockadile spoons designed for saltwater. These days I hear you have a shot at Big Pike as well.