Most of the people think about fishing as a seasonal based sport even though fish is active throughout to whole year. We have prepared a nice guide for you to follow in order to go out and do some fishing even when there is a nice thick layer of ice over your favourite fishing spot. Of course, fishing during the winter season is very different and it does require a bit more planning but it all pays out in the end as you get to keep enjoying outdoors and bring home a good catch too.
Make Sure to Protect Yourself Against the Cold Weather
Keeping body warmth is essential for whenever you plan on spending lots of time outdoor in the cold and especially when temperatures reach a freezing point. Make sure to wear a warm set of clothes preferably those intended for use during winter time and put on several layers of clothes underneath your jacket or coat too.
Do not wear clothes that will allow sweat to form as it can damage your health and cause you to get sick after a single day of outdoor activity. Wool is best for wearing underneath the jacket as it will keep your body at an optimal heat level. If you do start to feel a tad bit warmer than its comfortable – make sure to unzip your jacket or coat for short periods of time in order to avoid sweating and excessive heat.
Wear insulated boots and more importantly winter socks to prevent heat escaping your body. Hands also lose heat quickly so be sure to have gloves that will keep your fingers warm at all times.
Fishing out when it’s cold can be demanding on your body so take your time and do not rush when performing even the simplest task. Preserve your energy and do not overwork yourself. As always check the weather condition before going and make sure the weather will be fair that day.
Do not go Fishing all Alone
We cannot stress enough how important it is to go in a group or just bring someone who likes to be next to you as it will increase safety considerately.
Since you are plan on going to fish over ice or out over the cold water it is best to go with someone just as a security precaution as it will enable a means of intervention from either one there in case something unplanned happens. Besides every activity is more fun when there is someone to share it with.
Bring the Right Gear Along
Since you plan going ice fishing – you have to make sure to be able to drill a hole on a thick layer of frozen water. Before you even get to the drilling or ice breaking part make sure to check ice strength as you go over it. Bring along an ice spud for checking ice in front of you as you walk over it looking for a good spot to fish. Bring along foldable chairs or ice shanties that will provide shelter near the ice hole during your time in the open. Any type of shelter can come in handy and will protect you from the wind and the cold.
For the ice, hole drilling bit bring along an auger to break the ice and make an opening. It is a specialised tool for breaking through thick layers of ice.
Forget about bringing your standard fishing equipment and be sure to have a special set dedicated to fishing in the winter time. Stores offer rods and reel that are made to be used in the harshest of winter conditions so it’s better to use them specifically.
Using fresh bait is important to so get it from a local store and ask for recommendations if you are not sure which bait you should use. Fish are not as active during winter. Get some info on the species you plan to catch and see what the best bait would be for it. We can always recommend using live bait and most commonly minnows present a great choice. When it comes to a choice of lures – tube jigs and Williams ice jigs work great too.
Be Safe at all Times
Safety is the most important part of your session over ice. Make sure to mark the ice hole and keep an eye on the movement of people next to you. Ice is unpredictable so take care and watch for cracks that might appear. Do not place heaters and stoves directly on ice as they can melt it and endanger anyone around them. Do not use heaters inside your shelter to prevent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. If anyone from your group starts complaining about excessive cold check them for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Bring hand warmers and a first aid kit for increased safety. Have a rope in your pack along with some warm blankets. Do not let anyone jump or run on ice.
Start Catching Fish from the Ice Hole
Use a rope or our line to measure the depth of water. Bring along a fish finder to measure precise depth and see the fish density beneath your ice hole. Fish finder can be a great tool as it can save you a lot of time. Conventional ice fishing etiquette includes drilling multiple holes in case your previous ones do not prove useful.
WE CAN RECOMMEND:
7" Color LCD fish finder by Eyoyo that is made specifically for ice fishing.
It comes with a 4000 mAh battery that will offer a long battery life to last during your fishing session. It is tried and tested in the field and it proved itself as a great tool for tracking and catching fish under a thick layer of ice. During our time, it saved us from drilling multiple holes and showed us areas where fish were the most active. Since it comes with a carrying case it was easy for us to set it up and get it running in a matter of minutes.
Most Importantly – Have Fun
Since your lines and hooks are deployed you can make sure to spend the time waiting for fish to bite by having fun with your friends. Bring along cards, something warm to drink or simply use that time to reminisce about your previous big catches. Since you will be staying out for a long time bring a thermos with coffee and soup to have it keep you warm as you wait for fish to bite. As always, if too much time passes without any fish activity – change place and drill another hole in a different spot.
It may take some time until you find a perfect ice hole location but that is a fun part of ice fishing too. Make sure to finish before sunset as it is not safe being on the ice at night. Be sure to collect all of your equipment in order to not forget anything on the ice. Clean everything after yourself and mark the spot so you can come back to it again another time.