Ice fishing is a fun way of catching fish with lines through an ice opening on frozen water. In North America and Europe, ice fishing is considered a social activity. Fishermen can rent a resort with fish houses in it with a Snow Track vehicle to drive on ice.
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Ice Fishing Preparation
In preparation, get a fishing license first from your state government to allow you fishing, and you might also want to try out some fishing courses to know about the state’s laws about what kind of fish you are allowed to catch.
There are certain fish species allowable for a catch and release only.
With one touch on your phone, you might find the best place to go ice fishing. Most states have allowable lakes to go for ice fishing, but it’s better to double-check it in online forums.
Always seek a companion when you ice fishing for safety purposes because an emergency might happen, and you might slip into the sliding ice, so it’s better that you have someone to call for help in times of unexpected danger.
Weather during the winter season can be unpredictable, so always bring some survival kit for safety procedures. The recommendable survival kit includes hypothermia supplies, flotation devices, first aid medical kit, and rope.
What To Wear
Because of the cold weather, you might want to wear something more appropriate to keep you from feeling cold. The first layer should not be made from cotton as it absorbs sweat from your body and cold temperature. It should be made from high-quality polypropylene, polyester, or wool materials.
The second layer should be either a wool sweater or fleece to keep your body warm, and the top layer should be a waterproof jacket for possible rain. Never forget to wear a hat, gloves, and socks to ensure that every part of your body can still tolerate the cold weather.
What To Bring
When walking in thin-layered ice, ice fishers try to check them using the rod by tapping it and listening to it if it’s safe to take another step. Bring a chair just so you feel comfortable while waiting for the fish to bite.
Never forget to bring an ice chisel or auger to drill a hole and ice scoop for removing ice from the hole.
Setting Up A Hole
Choose the right and most comfortable spot for you. The ideal thickness of ice is more than 6 inches to support you, your gear, and your companion.
For drilling the hole, use the auger and position it perpendicularly to the ice so that the tip could touch the surface. Push the auger slowly downwards and turn it clockwise until it cuts into the surface.
Keep turning in the auger until you can see the water below. It is okay to drill several holes in a day as no ice fishers can perfect it anyway.
So when you’ve seen the water below, just scrape away the excessive ice or cover it away with a bucket while you were away.
Fishing In The Ice
Many ice fishers have said that ice fishing is just typically just like regular fishing, only with ice. You just needed to bring up the right gear meant for ice fishing.
First, you have to know the depth of the water you’re going on fishing by putting a sinker at the end of the line and drop it down into the water. Just let the reel roll until you’ve felt that the sinker had already reached the bottom.
Second is to know what kind of fish species are living within the area so that you may be able to identify the correct bait to use.
Third, be patient enough for the fish to bite. Remember that fish is not as aggressive during the winter because they may be hibernating.
Some instances using artificial baits may not be effective anymore, so make sure to bring live minnows and nightcrawlers. Just in case you still can’t get anything after an hour, then start again to drill another hole.
Lastly, when your fish finally took a bit, then reel your line in and lift the fish along with your line. Be ready with a bucket to store your fish.
The Fundamentals Of Ice Fishing
Ice fishing may be fun and a time to converse with your friends during an hour-long waiting for the fish; however, you don’t find Mother Nature in her friendliest mood during this season, so better to be ready than to feel sorry the end.
Ice fishing requires a lot of effort in planning for the perfect setup and preparation for a successful ice fishing, but what makes ice fishing different from regular fishing is its fragility.
Sadly, every year, there were many ice anglers who fell ill and suffered painful consequences after ice fishing adventure.
For beginners, you can approach small waters first before venturing out to the bigger area. Fish usually gather in the lake and backwaters because these areas are shallow and the first area to freeze. You would find some anglers too in these areas, so don’t crowd on them.
Ice Fishing Etiquette
There are still many things to consider before you can hang out with your friends for ice fishing. First, you need to drill a hole not too close to another fisherman. It is impractical because your lines might get entangled with each other.
Give others privacy. You might be bringing your own stereo, but not everyone is interested to hear them. Be considerate with them as they are also spending ample time with their loved ones. The ice is too dangerous for the children, so always keep an eye on them.
Reasons To Go On Ice Fishing
Winter activities don’t have to be expensive and ice fishing is one of the priceless winter activities you could spend with your family.
Fish Taste Better
May it be an old wife’s tale but scientifically, the fish taste even better during winter. During summer, fish tend to eat all the mud and algae. But once winter is up, blue algae diminishes.
Ice Fishing Is Inexpensive And Practical
Even on the warmest day during the winter season, still, the coolness will remain in the area. Fishing during summer would require ice to preserve the fish, but there is no need for you to bring in ice-filled coolers during ice fish.
Ice Fishing Is Challenging
As mentioned above, fish are not as aggressive as they are during the summer and spring seasons. They are mostly hibernating during the winter season.
There is actually no guarantee for the fish to bite, but once it does, it can be fast-paced than the ones you’ve experienced during the normal season.
You Can Set A New Record
2 world records were set in 2015 for a catch and release a record, as they found a yellow perch of great size in Lake Cascade. There are also numerous state records, and you can find them online too.
Ice Fishing Is A Yearly Hobby In Every Part Of The State
Wherever state you might be living, the biggest hobby during winter is either ice fishing or snowboarding. If you don’t live near a fishing pond, then you can check it on the internet for the perfect place to stay. Just think of it as a mini getaway with your family.
A recommended place is in the Upper Valley region, where you can explore. Important notice for this place is that you can start to find a perfect spot for fishing as early as November.
However, you must first check the weather condition and use your good judgment before heading there. Always note that you are liable for your own safety.
Where To Go For Ice Fishing
Located in the northern part of Mackay, this fishing spot consistently provides Kokanee of around 11-12 inches. There were also two access points being plowed in the winter on Highway 93. Locals used Fish and Game’s Fish Planner for a perfect ice fishing spot and the fishing rules.
This lake is renowned for producing some of the largest trout in the US and throughout the world. Hybrid trout tend to weigh more than 10 pounds. The ice fishing season starts around after Thanksgiving week and closes after New Year, where the ice begins to melt.
The Importance Of Ice Fishing Safety
Surely, ice fishing and other winter outdoor activities might be relentlessly fun, but for sure, it needs a lot of safety precautionary measures too. When do you know that the ice is thicker and safer in the area?
Being well informed about the local weather events is a good start for you to keep your adventures safe and sound. Your state has a local resort where you can check about the weather condition and the known thick and thin areas.
Next is to avoid parking your car near the icy area because cars may be too heavy for the ice.
Although ice fishing is supposed to be fun, most resorts would advise their clients to pause alcoholic drinking sessions during ice fishing because alcohol could hinder their capacity to think and react.
If you are planning to drink alcohol, then do it after ice fishing. This could also lead you to danger as your senses are not as functional while still normal. Wear a life vest but avoid wearing a flotation device.
How To Check Ice Thickness
The best you can do is do thorough research about the locations you’re about to go to. That means you have to check on the weather condition, current temperature, and currents that affect the ice thickness.
When traveling using an enclosed vehicle, make sure that you measure the ice at least every 150 feet. Use an ice chisel into the ice to create a hole in it, then place the tape measure to measure its thickness.
State Guidelines On Ice Fishing
Indeed, ice fishing can be risky when you’re not using your proper judgment skills and preparation for it. Many states around the US have formulated new laws and regulations to keep ice fishers warned and safe to avoid such consequences.
Lawmakers in each state also would like to make sure that no law will be violated, especially in conservation. Catching a fish may be a bonus to the fun and excitement, yet people are still obliged to instill values and good stewardship towards the state’s law.
In practicing catch and release, reel in the fish quickly as you removed the hook from its mouth, then release him over to the water. In releasing them, you must quickly do so for the sake of the fish’s survival to live.
This kind of method helps the ecosystem healthy as possible and gives people more opportunities to fish more during the next season when fish are more active.
In Minnesota, practically, this is where they don’t have conventional weather, meaning they always experience extreme cold weather during winter.
If the wind chill is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, consider rescheduling the whole trip because it might put you and your companion in great danger.
There is nothing more fun than to be with your family and friends during this season. However, you must also be aware of the government’s precautions for better safety and protection.
On a lighter note, winter activities don’t have to be inexpensive, so to keep that bond with loved ones, you can go on and have chilly ice fishing.
You can’t get it perfect for a first-timer, so do not try to be ambitious about it. What mattered most is the enjoyment, pressure-free, and relaxation experience that you got from ice fishing.