When i first began ice fishing, i had friends who were experienced and taught me everything i know. Now i realize that not everyone is going to have that opportunity, so i decided to write this tutorial to clear up most important things about ice fishing. These tips will help you choose the right equipment, the right time to go ice fishing and generally enjoy your time there.
One of my favorite things about this sport is that you don’t need much to get started, but if you are interested and have enough money, possibilities for upgrading your gear are endless. All of these tools and clothing improve your ice fishing experience, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this hobby without expensive gear.
If you live in a country where fishing license is necessary to go ice fishing, apply for one. Once you have it, it’s time to collect the proper gear. First, and most important piece of equipment you’ll need, is the fishing rod(including reels and jigs and other accessories), of course. Rods are what you use to actually catch the fish, so it should be no brainer that they are necessary.
If you’re a beginner, i recommend getting simple rod and reel combo. They get the job done 99.9% of the time, can be found everywhere, and are quite inexpensive. You’ll also need fishing line, jigs and other minor accessories to the rod. I recommend getting 8 pound fishing line, which is, again, most common line that people use. It will be more than enough for most species. In the beginning, you shouldn’t really expect to catch very large fish, no matter how strong your equipment is. It takes more skill. If you do get to that level of expertise, you can always upgrade your gear.
Another piece of equipment that is super useful and you can’t do without, is the auger. There are two types of ice fishing augers – manual and automatic. Manual, or hand augers as they are more commonly known, need to be operated manually. They have spiral-like sharp blade and a handle, which you’ll be using to rotate it to make a hole in the lake. The process is not very physically demanding, but it’s physically demanding enough to inspire people to invent another version that does all of this itself. There are two types of automated ice fishing augers, which differ by fuel they use. One is powered by gas, and the other – by batteries. Both versions have their own advantages and drawbacks, but discussing all of it will be too much for this article. To find out more about ice fishing augers, manual as well as automatic, check out this guide. I will leave that to you. Most people are fine with inexpensive hand augers, because average ice fishing enthusiast doesn’t make lots of holes. If you are the kind of person who does like to make holes quickly and does it a lot, then hand auger might not be such a good option. You might want to consider motorized gas powered augers. Auger’s width is also quite important. Most commonly, auger blades are about 6 inches wide, which is fine for 95% of people. Some people like to have wider blades, because they are trying to catch larger fish that might not fit small hole.
Auger, rod and accessories is the very basic setup that you’ll need. But if you’re looking for more things that are very handy, that would have to be clothing – boots, bibs, gloves. It should be obvious why clothing is so important in this field. Sure, you can get away with wearing just regular warm and waterproof clothes that you already own, but still, they are no match for clothing that is made specifically with ice fishing in mind. I would especially recommend getting yourself waterproof, sturdy ice fishing boots. Bibs are also good because they keep the moisture out. You can use most gloves while on ice fishing trip, it just has to be warm enough.
There are shelters, flashers and many more things that you CAN have, but aren’t essential. In my opinion, most important thing to bring on the lake is the right attitude, good friends and some food to snack on while having a blast.