Some people “shiver” at the idea of ice fishing. The thought of venturing out on a cold winter day to catch fish through the ice seems crazy to some, but to the diehard fisherman living in a colder climate area it is a welcome occasion, when the ice is safe for fishing.
Ice fishing can be an exciting & rewarding experience when you dress properly, have the right gear and always have safety on your mind. Safety on the ice is a crucial part to ice fishing, always check the thickness of the ice before stepping on to it.
Important things to remember about safety on the ice are as follows. If the water you will be fishing on has a current be extremely cautious about where you walk and fish. A current will wear away the ice from underneath and can cause a very unsafe situation with thin ice.
You could be on 6 inches of ice in one area and then on 2 inches of ice in another due to a current flow. Always be familiar with any body of water where you plan to go ice fishing and never fish alone where there is a hard current.
Please take a moment to watch this video to learn how to survive a fall through the ice.
Minimum ice thickness (recommended but always check with local authorities, you are responsible for your safety)
1) 4 inches for a single fisherman
2) 5-6 inches for a snowmobile
3) 7+ inches for 3 or more fisherman
4) 8+ inches for a small car
5) 10+ inches for a light truck
6) 14 or more inches for a full size truck But again, always check with local Fish & Game or other local authorities before heading out as to the conditions on a body of water that you plan on ice fishing.
What to wear Always dress in layers with cotton or wool layers and end with something with a hood that is water repellant or resistant in case of rain or snow. Insulated gloves, a hat and warm boots are also critical to staying comfortable while ice fishing.
Fishing gear Ice fishing has really changed over the last 20 years. It wasn’t too long ago that you would look at a given body of water and try to guess where the fish might be, set your tip-ups and hope for the best.
Now there are sonar units that you can drop down into a hole and see if there are any fish around. You can easily drill multiple holes with a gas powered auger and look for fish and if you find none it is much easier to move on.
Auger – You will need a hand operated or gas powered auger to drill your holes. Some fishermen use an axe or chisel to cut a hole but that really limits your ability to move around.
Skimmer – A large spoon with drain holes in it to remove ice and slush from collecting and refreezing the hole. Click here to get yours now.
Tip-ups – There are a number of different types of tip-ups, plastic, wood, metal, etc., to choose from. They have a spool with line and a long thin metal piece with a small flag attached to pop up signaling a fish on. Click here to get yours now
Fishing rod – Many anglers will sit over a hole with a small ice fishing rod while watching over their tip-ups. There are rods made specifically for ice fishing or you can use a small or telescopic fishing rod if you choose. Click here to get yours now.