Ice fishing is one of the most hardcore fishing experiences out there. It definitely isn’t for the casual, weekend warrior type fisherman. In many northern waters, different fish species remain active throughout the winter months, even when the surface freezes over. Anglers who can’t go an entire winter without fishing have the opportunity to drill through the ice and drop in a line. There is a nearby lake that freezes over during the winter that I will go ice fishing on a few times during the winter. I am not a hardcore ice fisherman, but I enjoy this activity as long as I can stay somewhat warm. The lake is close to 9000 feet, above the tree line, and surrounded by jagged peaks. Needless to say, it is a barren wasteland in the middle of winter, with vicious wind gusts and negative zero wind chills. It is vital to plan correctly and have the right ice fishing gear to stay warm and have success.
Planning Your Ice Fishing Trip
Planning your ice fishing trip involves a few important steps. First of all, you need to pick a location, generally a frozen lake (obviously). For the lake to be sufficiently frozen over, you need to pick the coldest time of the year to venture out. This usually happens in the dead of winter. Go too early or too late, and you risk falling through the ice. Check with your local tackle shop or wildlife management agency for more information on when and where it is safe to ice fish.
Next, you need to haul your gear from your vehicle across the ice to your desired fishing spot. Once you pick a spot, you need to drill a hole through the ice using either a motorized ice auger or a hand operated one. Scoop the ice and debris out of the hole with a small scoop net, set up your fishing rig, and drop in your line. If you don’t have any success, or you lose the feeling in your extremities, move to another spot and drill another hole and start over.
Because there isn’t much motion associated with ice fishing, aside from the occasional scooping out of your hole, you are likely to get cold. To make this a more comfortable, and ultimately, a more enjoyable fishing experience, you will need to prepare for frigid temperatures and biting wind gusts.
Proper Ice Fishing Gear
One piece of ice fishing gear that is very important to my comfort while fishing at 9000 feet and 20 below zero temperatures is an ice fishing tent. The shelter offers more than just a break from the wind and snow flurries. It offers a sense of warmth and protection. Add a stool, some friends, and warm beverages and snacks, and I often forget just how cold it is a few feet away. I highly recommend the Eskimo FatFish 949 3-4 person ice fishing tent (pictured below). Click here or the image for more information or to buy one today.
If you are planning on getting into ice fishing, there are a few items that you will need to acquire. My ice fishing gear list of must haves includes the following:
- Ice fishing gear bag
- Ice auger
- Scoop net
- Sled (for dragging gear across a frozen lake)
- Ice fishing rig (rod and reel)
- Bait and lures (assortment)
- Warm clothes! (waterproof snow gloves, layers of thermals, etc)
- Hand warmers (great for getting the feeling back in your hands after handling a wet fish)
- Shelter tent
- Snacks and hot beverages
This is a list that I adhere to. More hardcore ice fishermen will have fancy toys and fish finders that they bring along. This is a good place to start, but you might want to try out a few different things.
Finding Ice Fishing Gear
When shopping for ice fishing gear, be sure to shop online (Amazon is a great place to find cheap ice fishing gear). The Internet offers the ability to read customer ice fishing gear reviews, as well as the ability to compare prices between many different retailers. This will help you find an ice fishing gear sale when looking for ice fishing gear for sale.
Stay Warm On The Ice!
If you are planning an ice fishing trip this winter, the most important consideration is to stay warm. If you are not warm, you won’t have fun. Frostbite and hypothermia definitely come into play in ice fishing situations, so dress warmly and prepare for the frigid temperatures. In all, ice fishing can be a fun experience, even for casual fishermen. The right preparations will ensure that you are warm and that you have fun, and hopefully catch fish. Good luck and happy fishing!
What ice fishing gear do you utilize? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks!