EARLY ICE FISHING TIPS
It’s never too early to start thinking about what you’ll need to have on hand during ice fishing season. Chances are you’ve stored all of your gear away in some long-forgotten place, and now that the weather is starting to turn it’s a good idea to remember where everything is and start planning your upcoming ice fishing trips. Whether you’re a seasoned vet or new to the sport of ice fishing, here are a few tips that should prove useful for any ice angler.
Ice fishing requires a lot of gear, if you’ve stowed your gear away last year then now is a good time to pull it out and inspect it. That ice tent you used all last season might not be in the best shape anymore. Be sure to check your auger and make sure that it’s still running fine. Nothing is worse than getting out on the ice and finding out that some of the gear you used last season isn’t working. If you’ve spent the time to inspect your stuff and made sure that everything is present and accounted for, then you’ll not only save yourself some time before you head out on your trip, but you’ll make certain that you won’t be stuck on the ice with broken or worn out gear.
Know When Ice Is Safe
It should go without saying, but safety is very important when you’re ice fishing. Ice can be unpredictable, so it’s best that you know the body of water that you’ll be fishing. Next, you’ll want to know how thick the ice is and how much the ice can support at each thickness. In general, three inches will hold a person up, eight inches will carry a snowmobile, and you’ll want a solid sixteen inches before you pull up in your pickup. Test the ice about every twenty feet to make sure that the ice hasn’t thinned out. Early in the year ice is very inconsistent. These are just general guidelines and you’ll want to factor in more information about your current conditions before you venture out on the ice. Finally, keep a close eye on the weather. If there is a warm weather front headed your way or any rain, then the ice you’re on could erode quickly.
When you’re heading out on the ice early it’s always a good idea to take a few extra precautions before you leave. First, it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are going and how long you’ll be away. This way, in case something bad does happen you’ll know that someone will be able to send help. Next, leave the booze at home. Alcohol is great fun, but when you’re out on the ice it’s generally a good idea to keep a clear head. Alcohol will impair your judgment, your mobility, and will leave you more susceptible to the cold. Finally, be sure to layer up. You need to keep enough extra clothes on hand to keep you warm; ice fishing is a fairly sedentary activity so layering up will help you stay warm while you’re waiting for a bite.
WHAT WILL I NEED TO GET STARTED ICE FISHING?
Ice fishing gives anglers an opportunity to keep their passion alive by fishing through the cold winter months. Many species of fish are very active year-round and you can still enjoy a successful day of winter fishing when your favorite lake has frozen over. Get right on top of those fishing honey holes with the quality gear sold by Sportsman’s Warehouse. Here is a list of what you will need to enjoy a day on the ice.
Ice fishing rods vary somewhat by technique and what kind of fish you are going after as well as the length of the rod. Sportsman’s Warehouse carries ice fishing rods from top brands, priced to fit any budget.
A reel may come with a rod as a packaged set, or may be purchased individually. You can find quality ice fishing reels at Sportsman’s Warehouse if your rod’s still in good shape but your reel just isn’t up to the job anymore.
An ice fishing combo consists of a rod and reel sold together. There are several advantages to buying a combo. One advantage is that when you buy an ice fishing combination rod and reel, you are ready to fish. A combo is a great way to get started in the world of ice fishing. Sportsman’s Warehouse offers many quality combos, and since most areas let you fish with up to five rods at a time, you can pick up a few to make sure you get the most possible opportunities to catch fish.
Sportsman’s Warehouse carries a variety of ice fishing augers to help you get through the ice. There are several types of augers – hand augers, electric augers, and gas augers (also sometimes called power augers). Hand augers are lightweight and easy to pack along, electric and gas augers are both quicker to drill holes and easily store on a sled. Whichever style you need, you’ll find it from quality manufacturers, along with a full line of ice auger accessories.
There are several lures and jigs designed specifically for ice fishing. Your best bet for ice fishing lures and jigs is to get a variety and see what’s working best once you’re out there. Once you’ve drilled a few holes, you can experiment with different depths and setups until you find what’s working for current conditions.
When you’re on the ice for extended periods of time, it’s extremely important to stay warm. Ice tents and shelters help you stay out of the wind, use an indoor heater, and provide a nice little place to hang out. Whether you’re looking for flip-over shelters or pop-up shelters, Sportsman’s Warehouse has a great selection for you to choose from. Check out our ice tents and ice shelters from several great manufacturers.
While having a rod and reel, access to the water, and shelter are all you technically need to ice fish, there are many ice fishing accessories that will make your time on the ice more comfortable and productive. Consider tackle organizers, skimmers, and indoor-safe heaters.
Stop fishing where there are no fish. Technology has advanced in ice fishing just like everything else, so why not take advantage of it? You’ll find state-of-the-art ice fishing electronics such as flashers, fish finders, and GPS units will help you locate fish and increase your level of success. Sportsman’s Warehouse carries state-of-the-art quality electronics to put you on more fish faster.
When is ice fishing not fun? When you’re freezing your tail off! Sportsman’s Warehouse has a great selection of outerwear that will keep you warm and happy on the ice. Whether you’re looking for a complete ice suit, thermal clothing, gloves, insulated socks or thermal underwear, we have you covered with quality apparel.
Since you’ll be standing on ice, keeping your feet warm is a priority. Insulated boots or pac boots, along with a good pair of insulated socks are a must. If you are fishing in slushy conditions, waterproof boots, such as lined pac boots or rubber boots are also a good bet to keep your feet from getting wet. Sportsman’s Warehouse has a wide selection of socks and footwear appropriate for ice fishing, along with ice cleats that will help you keep traction while you’re moving between your ice holes.