Winter is upon us, and for many anglers across the county, that means ice fishing.
This surprisingly exciting sport requires patience and commitment, but it can be one of the most interesting ways to catch a fish, especially when you pull a wide trophy fish from a tiny hole in the ice.
Want to get started? Check out these awesome tips from some of our pro staff to get the most out of your ice fishing experience.
Dress for the Weather
If the ice is frozen enough to walk on that means the air is probably cold enough to freeze you quickly. Make sure you dress appropriately or your ice fishing adventure will be over before it starts. You’ll want to start with a base layer close to your skin. This should be a wicking base that pulls moisture away from your body.
Next, you’ll want to start dressing in layers, with clothing that will not soak up water. Wool is your best bet, especially for socks and gloves, as it is more water resistant. Most survival experts will tell you to avoid cotton. It can be very dangerous to be out in the cold, so dress appropriately so you can enjoy the experience.
Seek Shelter When Possible
If you have the option, ice fishing from a shelter like a tent or an ice cabin is a wise choice. You’ll be cozy and comfortable, all while enjoying one of the most interesting fishing challenges around.
If you are not moving your fishing location, a permanent fish house gives you all the conveniences of a cabin, including warmth, lighting, and storage. Fish houses can also be installed with a small stove, bunk beds, and more.
If you plan on moving from spot to spot, a pop tent or portable fish house offers the protection you are looking for, although they won’t be as insulated or convenient as a larger and heavier fish house.
Breaking the Ice: Manually or Machine?
Now that you’re in position, it’s time to cut through the ice. For this task, you’ll need an auger, and these come in two basic varieties: manual and powered.
With a manual auger, you’ll have to turn the drill yourself, using muscles and willpower to dig through the ice. This can be very tiring and time consuming, but manual augers are more affordable and less likely to break.
Motorized or powered augers are easier to use, but they are more expensive and require fuel for operation. There are also augers that attach to a handheld drill, basically turning your power tool into an ice auger. Just be sure that your drill is strong enough for this task, as solid ice could ruin a perfectly good drill that’s not designed for this type of force.
Finally, don’t forget a scoop or tool for clearing out the hole when ice starts to reform.
Down to the Fishing
When preparing your gear for ice fishing, you’ll want short rods that can easily fit into a fish house or pop tent. You could go with a smaller kids rod and reel, or choose one specifically designed for ice fishing.
A tip-up is a recent invention that has made ice fishing more popular. Basically it uses a spring-loaded action that is released when a fish takes your bait. All you have to do is set the line and wait. This innovative machine also lets you fish multiple holes at once, although it doesn’t give you the hands-on fishing experience of jigging a rod.
Performance Apparel for the Active Angler
From winter to summer, you can have the best performance apparel by visiting the online store from Huk. With moisture wicking and UV-protection, our performance fishing shirts are great as a base layer in winter or the only layer in summer.