Whether you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast or are seeking a fun family friendly activity, ice fishing is a great laid-back style sport that can be enjoyed in the wintertime or a climate with extremely cold year-round temperatures! Grab your long johns and let’s go!
First let’s decide where to go. In North America, the vast majority if ice fishing is done north of Maryland, where the colder temperatures allow the lakes to freeze enough to safely support the weight of people plus equipment.
Choose a location that is frequented by others – tried and true is the way to go here, so doing your homework via an internet search will yield you an abundance of options.
Next up is staying warm. Wear insulated waterproof boots with traction and warm socks. Waterproof gloves are a must as frostbite will set in in the extremities first if not kept properly warm. Protect your head with a hat and wear a scarf around your neck. Your coat should be insulated and weatherproof. Be sure to layer lots of clothing underneath! Your bottoms should be a warm yet breathable material. Am I sounding like your mother? Good, now run along to the next paragraph!
How much or how little equipment to use is strictly up to you. For a day trip you can get away with taking a chair out on the ice to sit on. If you’re planning to stay for an extended period of time you will need to invest in some protective housing like an ice shanty and a heater. If you really want to go all out, there are set ups that come complete with a bathroom and satellite TV!
Next, you’ll need something to break the ice, and no, I’m not talking about a naughty joke. More like an ice auger -manual or powered, it’s up to you. Add in a skimmer to remove the little pieces of ice that accumulate during the day and you’re almost ready!
Saving the best for last, let’s talk about the actual fishing equipment. A small pole with bait like minnows are preferred by some, while others like to use a tip up which has a flag attached that tips us when pulled. Carry a dip net in your bait bucket and bring a gaff hook to help get the fish out of the hole. Some like to bring a hook disgorger, too. Add in snacks, a good supply of water (wrap to keep from freezing solid) and a fishing license and you’re all set!