This attachment has long been popular with fishermen in the Urals and Siberia. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in winter it is not customary to fish for tender bloodworms here (taking into account the stable frosts), and it is too much trouble to harvest worms and maggots for future use. Mormysh is a typical representative of the diverse-legged Gammarus crustaceans, which reaches a length of 3 cm. However, specimens up to 1.5–2 cm are usually found. It has a light gray, greenish or olive body with 14 pairs of legs. Moreover, the first pair of legs-jaws, with the help of which the crustacean chews food.
Crustaceans live in relatively clean water: at the bottom of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, among algae, under stones, sunken objects. They move sideways, in leaps, for which they received another name – amphipods. In winter, when, with an increase in ice thickness, a period of oxygen starvation begins for all underwater inhabitants, huge masses of mormysh rise from the bottom and literally cover the lower surface of the ice, while not freezing to it. A crustacean is harvested from under the ice in different ways. One of them is the following. Fishermen cut down large holes (lanes) in the ice and scoop up crustaceans from the lower plane of the ice using a scraper brush and a special “trough” with a bag.
Another way of mining is easier. Sheaves of straw, flax or hemp are lowered under the ice, into which Gammarus are willingly stuffed. The crustaceans extracted from the water cannot stand low temperatures, but heat will also be harmful to them. Therefore, they try to keep them in a cool room, wrapping them in layers in a damp canvas or in several layers of soaked and wrung out newspaper and placing all this in a wooden box. In rural areas, it is best to place such a box of mormys in a basement, underground or other cool place. When fishing in frosty weather, morms are kept alive in a foam plastic box in the inner pocket of a warm jacket or short fur coat. Specially insulated boxes are fitted under the forage mormysh.
Whitefish, grayling, chebaki, sorogi and other fish are well caught from ice on this bait. On Lake Baikal, where fishing for omul is allowed, they feed and catch this fish, using mainly mormys. In general, the popularity of this nozzle can be explained primarily by the fact that in many Ural and Siberian reservoirs, certain species of fish feed mainly on mormysh in winter. They plant the amphipod from the head. The hook is chosen depending on the size of the bait and the type of fish. The mormysh is quite firmly attached to the hook – sometimes you can catch several fish on one. In Siberia, this nozzle is most often called a drill.
In the reservoirs of the European part of Russia, you can also find gammarus crustaceans, but here they are smaller and are rarely used by fishermen as baits, and even more so as bait. At the same time, many carp fish can be successfully caught on the European mormysh. After all, it is not by chance that the very first jiggers were made by the craftsmen in such a way as to imitate the movements of this particular underwater inhabitant during the game with the bait.
The larva is yellowish in color, living in the dried stalks of the Chernobyl. In winter, it successfully competes on a jig hook with a burdock moth larva. On the way to the reservoir, you can get a Chernobyl worker in any vacant lot. For this purpose, dry stems are split with a knife and, having found the larvae, they are carefully removed. They usually live in colonies. In some stems there are up to a dozen or more of them. In the case when it is necessary to save the harvested larvae for a week or two, they are placed in a box with dry wood dust and put on the balcony. Most often, a chernobyl is planted on a jig hook in combination with a bloodworm. However, in the wilderness, the best results are obtained by fishing with a tiny jig baited with only 1-2 yellowish larvae. Trophies – perch, roach, bastard, silver bream.
In contrast to the spring moth, its larva is of greater interest to the angler, especially when it feeds at the end of the freeze-up, when the choice of lures is limited. The larva is harvested by raising aquatic vegetation from the bottom. This is done with the help of a long stick with a flyer at the end, which is lowered into an ice hole and, turning around an axis, wind bunches of grass, and then lift them onto the ice. The collected stonefly larvae are stored together with the vegetation taken from the reservoir.
author – Kazantsev V. – Catching from the ice. All Secrets of Ice Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)