An Introduction to Ice Fishing

If you thought fishing was only for summer, then you’re in for a surprise. Ice fishing is fast becoming a popular winter sport and pastime. It is a one-of-a-kind fishing experience that should be considered by all fish lovers. To start off look out for fishing areas in your state’s fishing guide. These guides list areas suitable for ice fishing.


Ice fishing takes place on lakes and ponds of all sizes. To find the right fishing place ensure that the ice has a minimum thickness of 4.5 inches. Larger water bodies provide a wider diversity of fishing opportunities. Most state-owned lakes allow ice fishing, whereas county or municipally-owned waters may prohibit it. It is always good to check with the responsible authority to make sure the area has to be posted safe for fishing.

The first thing to keep in mind when going ice fishing is to stay as warm as possible. Layering is a must when it comes to ice fishing. Start by wearing thin layers first and bulkier ones on top. Also make sure that you are comfortable and can freely move around. It’s better to have extra clothes in your bag. To be safe, don’t go ice fishing alone. Always go with a friend or a group of people. Try and fish near others who are already on safe ice. Some necessary safety equipment to carry are ice picks. These are essential lifesavers that are used to pull yourself out of the ice in case you fall in. To help others in trouble, carry a rope that you can throw out to them. Some other essential gear you might need are creepers strapped under your boots to help with walking on slippery ice.

3 Essential Ice Fishing Tools

There are three main tools that can be used to make the holes in the ice. An Ice Chisel – this tool requires a lot of effort which is why they have been replaced with more advanced tools like the Hand Auger. Hand augers are more efficient but the blades need to be very sharp in order to work well. The third type is the Power Auger. This one is most efficient but also more expensive. After digging the hole an ice scoop or skimmer used to clear the hole. Don’t forget a bucket in which to carry your fish. Your equipment can easily be carried on a sled.

Different kinds of bait are used, such as wax worms, spike, mousies or even artificial ones. A jigging rod is lowered into the hole with the bait attached. Using a tip-up line is another way to catch fish. When fish have caught onto the bait, a flag tips up on the rod signaling a catch. Reel and rod combo are typically used for smaller fish whereas tip-ups are generally for bigger fish.

To fend off serious cold weather, ice shelters and shanties are sometimes erected. They come in different designs and sizes. Some are portable whereas others are more permanent for longer fishing seasons. The portable shelters are easy to set up and provide a base level of insulation from snow, wind and cold. Whatever type of shelter you use, make sure that it is well ventilated.

A lot of precaution need to be taken when ice fishing. It can be dangerous if you don’t do it right. You or your vehicle can fall in the ice if it is too thin. Other risks include carbon monoxide poisoning from improperly used heaters. Anglers could also get frostbite from exposure to the cold and wind. This is why safety is always considered first when it comes to ice fishing.


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