Ice fishing isn’t for everyone. It requires quite a bit of commitment because there aren’t too many people who want to spend countless hours in the freezing cold just waiting for the fish to bite the bait. If you are interested in taking up the sport, we have compiled some of the most important tips that you should consider before you get out of the house.
Safety comes first
One thing that we should make clear right off the bat is that ice fishing is particularly dangerous, especially when compared to other types. While it has changed a lot over the past twenty-five years or so, it is still as risky as ever. The recommendation is that you never walk on frozen water that’s thinner than 4”.
There are some fishers that might be willing to take the risk of walking on thinner ice, but there are many situations that could cause it to break. One piece of advice that we have found useful is to carry your phone with you when you’re out and about so that you can call for help in case you need it.
Of course, you will need the best ice fishing rods to make sure that you reel in the catch of your dreams, but it doesn’t all boil down to your fishing equipment. You also have to make sure that you wear the appropriate clothing for the purpose, and that you are capable of treating hypothermia.
Sure, you might not think that you could accidentally fall in the water, but nobody knows what might happen. Therefore, you have to do a bit of research beforehand, and you need to know that you have things like a portable heater and anything else you might be able to use if you’ve ended up being soaked.
Consider the fish movement
Part of being a great ice fisher is knowing your target and as much as you can about it. It goes without saying that, because of the low temperatures, most species of fish will become less active in winter. However, some might be closer to the surface than others. How can you tell?
The simplest answer to this question is that in large and deep lakes, fish tend to go where they find food, and there’s enough cover so that there’s more oxygen than in other areas. Some fish might prefer to be deeper because the water is a tad warmer at those depths. Fish that live in shallow lakes that are small keep to the surface.
Extra equipment you will need
Aside from your basic rod and reel, you’ll also need durable and warm boots, ice cleats, an ice safety pick a bucket, an ice scoop, and an auger. Augers can be manual or automatic but use any of them wisely because you’ll ruin the entire ice fishing experience of other anglers if you drill too many holes in the lake.
Always carry some backup winter clothing with you. As we were saying above, you can’t know when you might have to go into the water, so having dry and warm clothing can really make the difference.