Ice Fishing Tackle Starter Guide

Ice fishing is fast becoming a popular winter sport and pastime. It is a unique type of fishing and with it comes unique fishing equipment. This article will list the basic ice fishing tackle needed for a beginner to ice fishing.

Fishing rods and reels – Ice fishing rods are typically shorter than rods used in freshwater or saltwater fishing. Lengths vary from 24-36 inches in length. Their material are usually made from graphite or fiberglass. For ice fishing a spinning reel will work well but ensure that the line chosen for the reel matches the rod. A fly reel is another option and the advantage of this one is that there is less twisting of the line. Get a rod and reel combo that is balanced and is delicate enough to detect light bites.

Bait and lures – For ice fishing live or artificial bait will work well. Jigs are the best lures for ice fishing. Chartreuse, fluorescent or glow-in-the-dark jigs are often very effective. For live bait, the common ones are wax worms, maggots, spikes, wigglers, and minnows. Live bait are normally used with Tip ups. Get an assortment of ice jigs to keep in your tackle box.

Chisels and augers – A chisel is long-handled blade that is used to chip into the ice or make holes in thinner ice. This tool requires a lot of effort which is why they have been replaced with more advanced tools. Ice fishing requires a lot of drilling on the ise sometimes through 3-4 feet of ice. An auger is what will help to cut through the ice. An auger is a drilling device that looks like a giant corkscrew. Hand augers are effective but the blades need to be very sharp in order to work well. More advanced augers are the power augers that run on batteries or gasoline engines. They are efficient but more expensive and are used for extremely thick ice.

Slush scoop – After digging the hole an ice scoop or skimmer used to clear the hole.

Tip Ups – Tip ups allow you to fish without you actually holding the line all day. Tip ups are a device set above the hole. They hold a small reel submerged in the water with a flag attached at the top. The flag tips up on the rod signaling a catch. They are mostly used for fishing for larger fish like huge walleyes, pike, large whitefish, and lake trout. Most tip ups are made from wood and the best line for a tip up should be heavy and braided.

Ice Shanty – There are various kinds portable shelters one can use while ice fishing. They protect anglers from the harsh cold breeze especially if you plan to spend a long time fishing. Examples of shelters include flip overs, hub style and cabin style.

Warm Clothing – Because Ice fishing is done in winter during icy periods, one has to be properly dressed while fishing. This is to prevent frozen fingers, frostbitten toes and ice covered ears. Wear two pairs of socks; long underwear; wool pants; a thick turtleneck sweater; and a windproof, waterproof and breathable jacket. Make sure your boots and strong with a thick sole. Neoprene gloves and a face mask are also recommended.

Bucket – This is to hold your catch and it can also act like a seat on the ice while you fish

Heater – Portable heaters are necessary to keep you warm especially on icy cold days

Ice fishing Sled – Your equipment can easily be carried on a sled and pulled along on the ice.

Metal Ice Cleats – These are attached to your boots to make walking on the ice much easier and safer.


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