Whether you're a seasoned veteran or you're looking to take on the sport of ice fishing for the first time, our ice fishing guide provides you with the most definitive gear and information about the sport and the ways you can stay safe when embarking on your trip this winter.
Ice Fishing Essentials
Regardless of the type of ice fishing you're doing, jig, tip-ups or spear fishing, there are certain pieces of gear that are a necessity for any fisherman when they're out on the ice. To learn more about the types of ice fishing, this site provides excellent resources with extensive information on each style, as well as the tackle needed. These essentials include an auger or ice saw of some sort, which allows you to cut a hole into the ice to fish from. The size of the hole is dependent on the type of fish you are going after.
Unfortunately, your work is not finished once you cut your hole in the ice. There is going to be plenty of icy slush in the water from digging your your hole; if it's cold enough, which it often is, you'll find yourself in a constant battle against new ice forming on the surface of your fishing hole. That's why another essential piece of gear is a large scooper or strainer so you can remove the ice from the water and keep your hole clear.
If you want to make things easier, and not to mention a little warmer for yourself, a lot of fishermen will take a small heater with them onto the ice to keep new ice from freezing across the top of their hole. The scooper is essential to have though if you plan on fishing several different holes in a day because the slush needs to be removed after carving out your hole.
If you are using a shelter for a multi-day fishing trip then heat can be better contained and you won't need as much cold weather gear for yourself. But if you are going to be out on the ice without a shelter you will want to make sure you keep warm by obtaining proper cold weather gear for the trip.
Gear for the Modern Fisherman
Once you're set up with reliable cold weather gear and the essential tools to get you through the ice and ready to fish, then final step is knowing exactly where to set up and when to move on from a hole. Many ice fishers know to go where the fish are, but as you can imagine, that can be pretty hard when there's a huge slab of ice between you and the surface of the water. However, thanks to new age technology it's becoming increasingly popular to locate the fish with sonar, or what is known as a flasher.
For those of you new the sport, just think of a flasher as a really smart fish finder. Every fishing trip requires some sort of research, whether it's trolling online forums to see what fish are biting or checking maps and surveys to find the best locations for types of fish. Once you put in the research and have a better idea of where to go, you can then use the flasher to find out if the area is hot for fish or not. After all, fish don't generally stay in one spot, so why should you?
If you know several spots where fish are known to move through, you can use your sonar to detect the presence of fish, their depth and even view their reactions to your lure in the water. Using a flasher is a great way to utilize all of your tools, from tackle to location, in the most effective way possible. You can often find deals on flashers and other equipment at really low rates before the season picks up due to the holidays, so don't miss out on some of the latest technology on the market.
Staying Safe on the Ice
Make sure you use your best judgment when out on the ice; the sport of ice fishing is much more dangerous than most people realize. Be aware of all the factors when out on the water, from ice that appears thick enough but is much too thin to support your weight, to large sheets of ice breaking away from land leaving you and your buddies stranded with no way to call for help. Always use the tools you have at your disposal to execute a safe and successful ice fishing trip. If you want more information on ice fishing safety, you can check out this extensive list of ways you can identify dangerous situations.