In cold weather, many people tend to stay indoors due to the difficulty of moving around and finding suitable activities to do in such weather. Fortunately, ice fishing is one of the best sport choices which you will enjoy to the max.
If you plan to try ice fishing, first of all, you need to learn a few tips that will help you have a smooth, enjoyable and most importantly a safe fishing trip.
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What to Expect of Your Fishing Trip
A lot of fish types that you can easily find in many fishing spots while in warm weather will still be there in cold weather, however, schools of fish will be hidden in under a heap of ice.
Ice fishermen are known to catch fish like trout, bass, sturgeon, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, and sunfish. Those types of fish are more common to find in cold water.
1. Take Safety Measures
It is preferable not to go ice fishing on your own, it is always better to have someone with you just in case anything goes wrong. If you prefer to be on your own during your fishing trip, make sure you let someone know your exact location.
When you go ice fishing, you should know you’re entering a difficult environment to handle and could be a bit dangerous if you are not completely prepared for the trip. A wrong move could be extremely dangerous as one of the constant risks is falling in the cold water.
So, make sure to either have someone to keep you accompanied and to help you in case anything goes wrong and someone on the outside who knows your exact location for extra safety.
Lastly, you should always know the regulations of the type of water in which you’re fishing, sometimes the regulations change from a place to another. For example, some states have strict rules on how many lines you can have in the water.
Make sure to always check those regulations online before you go fishing, you can also find those regulations in any place you go to buy your own fishing license.
Officers of the Department of Natural Resources are usually very nice but they are very strict with the state rules and will not think twice to hand you a ticket for regulation infractions.
2. Check the Ice Thickness
A safe thickness is very important, you want to reach a thickness of 4 inches or more. To check the thickness of the ice in a potential fishing spot, you need to mark the spot where the ice will reach 4 inches in the ice before you use it to dig in the ice.
You can use different types of tools to measure the thickness such as a drill, a chisel or an auger. Either one will get the job done. However, if the ice is thinner than 4 inches, you need to cautiously move to a different area with thicker ice.
3. Prepare Your Ice Fishing Tools and Essentials
If you go ice fishing, some tools will turn out to be your best friend during the entire journey. Make sure you prepare all the tools you will need throughout the trip, some of which will be the following tools:
1. Augers and Ice Scoops
Augers are helpful to drill the ice to find its thickness. There are two types of augers; power augers and hand augers. A hand auger is recommended to those who wish to have a quiet drilling while hand augers are recommended for those who want a fast drilling.
Ice scoops are a helpful handy tool that will help you have an easier fishing hole in the ice as you can use it to clean out the hole. This can make the whole process easier for you and your companions.
2. Bring the Suitable Baits
You can use many types of bait that will be quite tempting to fish to take it! Using live bait will be appealing to many kinds of fish too. Try to look up the kind of fish you will find in that area and choose your type of bait accordingly.
3. Choose Your Lures and Jigs
A lure should be catchy enough to grab fish’s attention to lure it in. The most effective type of lures is the one that reflects light across the river or lake, which is the most popular type of lures as it helps draw the fish’s attention.
Jigs are a very attractive thing to the fish, it fools them to believe they’re seeing a living creature moving but in fact, you are the one controlling the motion of the jig and you have to keep on moving it in motions to grab a fish’s attention.
You can find many types of jigs out there, one popular type of jigs is the one that moves in circles. You can also choose a suitable jig depending on what kind of fish you’re looking to catch.
4. Use a Fish Finder
A fish finder is indispensable especially if you will go ice fishing. This handy little device helps you locate fish, locate obstacles, find schools of fish, and saves your favorite fishing spots. This is the most helpful electronic tool you will use during almost the entire fishing trip.
5. Get a Portable Tent Shelter
This is an option that can make things quite easier for you depending on the weather in the area in which you intend to fish. Some people build a wooden tent and keep it there all winter to use it for fishing from inside the tent.
Wooden tents help you stay warm for a longer time. Portable tents will also keep you warm however not as good as the wooden tent. Still, it is an easier option for occasional fishing trips.
6. Always Bring an Extra Layer of Clothing
The biggest issue you might face while ice fishing is not being warm enough. Make sure you always pack an extra layer of clothing just in case it was colder than expected out there.
The best items of clothing you should prepare are a waterproof jacket, boots, pants, gloves, and a fur hat. Those few items are guaranteed to keep you warm for a longer time.
7. Choose Your Favorable Fishing Methods
There are two fishing methods; traps and rods. Both are quite fun. Choose your favorable fishing method of:
1. Using Traps
Using traps is helpful if you plan to go after big types of fishes. Traps are a bit similar to rods as both methods use baits to attract fish.
The way it works is pretty simple, if a fish takes the bait, a line spool spins out alerting the fisherman that his trap caught a fish. And then the fisherman can easily take out the fish along with the line.
2. Using Rods
You can figure out if a rod type will be good for you or not by knowing its power. Rod powers are categorized into heavy, medium, light and ultra light. The heavier your rod is, the better chance you have in catching bigger fishes.
9. Prepare Your Safety Gear
Ice fishing could sometimes be a bit dangerous especially if you choose to go for the trip alone. However, by taking safety measures and preparing the suitable fishing and safety gear, you can guarantee to have a perfect experience. Here are the most important items you need to have:
1. Throw Ropes
It is very important to pack up for safety. Important gears include safety ropes which are very helpful to get you out of tough spots. The emergency type of throw ropes is heavy in weight and free of tangles to help to rescue people if needed.
2. Floatation Device
In case you face any issues trying to help someone who has fallen in the water, a rope might not be fast enough but a floatation device is your best option to ensure the safety of the person in danger as you help pull them out.
It is always better to bring a GPS along on your fishing trip in case of any emergency situation. The GPS can help people locate you and to come to pick you up if needed.
Ice fishing is one of the greatest sports of all times, the experience will be the most fun you can have while fishing, the excitement of catching a fish in such tough circumstances is beyond fulfilling. Make sure you’re always packed up well for the journey and enjoy your trip!