Do you think it’s too cold to fish? You are wrong! Ice fishing if fun, challenging, and brings in some nice catches. People have been ice fishing since ancient times. When ice fishing, you will find fewer crowds, fewer insects, and crisp, cool, clean air.
Ice fishing requires unique equipment, and there are also safety precautions that must be heeded. Ice fishing also requires learning some special techniques. First, let’s consider the ice. There is no set thickness for ice on lakes. It always varies, and depends on the temperature, as well as on the speed and temperature of the source of water that feeds the lake. If there is snow on the ice, the ice may not be very stable.
There is a very real and deadly danger of falling through the ice. Always remember this, and have a plan in mind. You will of course follow all safety precautions, but even so, tragedy can still happen. If possible, bring a buddy along. Make sure that someone knows where you are, and when you plan to return, and have a plan for getting out of the water in the event that you fall in. This can be the difference between life and death. Furthermore, always have an additional tool on you that you can use to break through the ice if you get trapped under it. It should go without saying that you do not drive onto the ice. You walk onto the ice. Once you’ve found stable ice, use an ice auger or spud to make your hole. These are essentially an ice chisel on a pole. You can also use this tool to test the stability of the ice as you walk. The hole that you make should be about twelve inches in diameter. You don’t want it larger than that, because it can shift the stability of the ice.
For ice fishing, use minnows. Bring a bucket along with you. Also bring a net to catch the minnows with, as you don’t want to have to stick your hand in the cold water while ice fishing. You should consider a gaff hook, as this will make it easier to get your fish to the shore through the hole, and to get the hook out of the mouth as well. You will be wearing thick gloves that you do not want to remove.
Dress in layers! Put on as many layers of clothing as possible, with cotton on the inside, and wool on the outside for insulation. Follow proper safety guidelines at all times, and be aware for changes that occur around you. Pay attention to sounds…it could be the ice cracking!