For thousands of years, ice fishing has been a favorite activity of fishermen and women, and it continues to be so now. There are several aspects to it, one of which is the fact that you must put up some effort in order to catch the fish of your dreams. However, for individuals who live in harsher environments, such as those found in the northern hemisphere, ice fishing can be a means of ensuring their continued existence.
When it comes to the level of satisfaction you will have when you eventually get your hands on your catch, ice fishing is, without a doubt, a great form of fishing. To accomplish the project, it will undoubtedly be necessary to use certain equipment as well as a great deal of perseverance.
If you’re interested in learning more about this particular type of fishing, we’ve compiled a list of resources that you might find interesting. Please see below for additional information.
How to ice fish
Before we can get into the specifics of the equipment and techniques you’ll need to employ when ice fishing for walleye, we’ll need to provide some form of definition for the term “ice fishing.” It is obvious that there are possible catches to be located beneath the ice. For the most part, and unless the ice is exceptionally thin or spring is on its approach, you will first need to dig a hole in the ice to accommodate your sonar and rod and reel combination.
While ice fishing is frequently done for recreational purposes, it can also be done for a living in a commercial setting. The term is typically connected with cold weather, which is why ice fishermen are considered heroes in their angling communities because they must put up with the rigors of winter fishing. They are fearless and have no fear of anything, at least when it comes to catching their prey.
Something that needs to be clarified right away is that the ice on top of the water body in which you will be fishing behaves much like an insulator, which means that it is capable of maintaining a specific temperature in order to prevent fish from freezing to death. While some fishermen may not be aware of it, fish do hibernate, at least in part, during the winter months. Because of the low temperature in the water, their movements may be slower, which means that you have a better opportunity of catching them in a targeted manner.
Preparing for ice fishing
According to what you’ve probably gathered by now, fishing isn’t one of those hobbies that you can participate in with little to no equipment, or even with just a fishing T-shirt and a good pair of UV-resistant jeans on. We’ve outlined some of the steps you should take to prepare before going out to ice fish in this article.
Decide on a location
Don’t go fishing on any lake in your area if you haven’t done any research on it or if you aren’t aware of any other anglers who may be using it. If you have little or no prior experience, we recommend that you first check the local legislation to ensure that you are not breaking any laws before proceeding. It’s extremely possible that you’ll be required to obtain a fishing license. This service’s pricing varies from one state to the next, and it is also dependent on the length of time it is offered.
Minnesota is one of the most well-known places where ice fishing competitions are held on a yearly basis. Because there are so many incredible places to see in the area, you should go online and do some preliminary research before heading out on the road.
Depending on whether you can hire or win a snowmobile, a UTV, or an ATV, you’ll need one of these vehicles to either travel to your fishing site or to explore it further. Take into consideration the fact that the frozen surface must be thick and robust in order to prevent you and your vehicle from being swept away by the ice by accident.
Safety matters quite a bit
It stands to reason that the thickness of the frozen layer must be one of the most important considerations to keep in mind while making your decision. Despite the fact that some fishermen like to be alone on the ice, we do not recommend going out on your own if you are a complete newbie in the art of ice fishing. Consider the following scenario: In the event of an accident, a friend will assist you in getting out of the water.
Safety also applies to how you will dress for the occasion. It is possible that investing in a high-quality set of fishing gloves, appropriate clothing, as well as boots, head protection, and even sunglasses, will make all the difference in your fishing results. It is possible that you will be at the fishing location for several hours, so you will require all of these items and more. As a result, you’ll need some sustenance, and you might even find a heated cup beneficial. Aside from that, there are heated coats and gloves that you can use, which are normally powered by rechargeable batteries.
In the event that you decide to go ice fishing by yourself, we recommend that you invest in a reliable personal floatation device. At the very least, you will have the assurance that you will float on water. When it comes to ice, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, which is why we feel forced to remind everyone that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What gear do you need?
There is some other equipment that you will need in addition to a fishing rod and reel, as well as bait and lures, which you will probably use for other sorts of fishing as well. When it comes to inspecting the surface on which you will be walking, an ice spud is really useful. Furthermore, a chisel is an absolute must-have, and it continues to be one of the most popular fishing equipment available, since it allows you to drill a hole in the ice surface in order to make an opening.
Additionally, you must consider the way you will employ to remove the ice from the hole you have just drilled in order to avoid damaging it. In this particular instance, you might require the use of an ice scoop. When compared to other types of scoops, it is created in a unique way in that it has a circular shape but appears to be shaped like a spade in other ways.
An ice shanty will be required depending on how much time you intend to spend doing your thing on the ice. For those who wish to learn how to build an ice fishing hut, there are numerous tutorials available on the internet that can be of assistance. Many times, it isn’t even necessary for it to be particularly well-made. Everything else is secondary; it simply needs to be able to shield you from the wind and cold to some degree.
As previously stated, when it comes to your comfort, the clothing you wear is really important. Choosing clothing that is either too thin or too thick can lead to a dislike for your ice fishing trip as a whole, and you will not like spending a significant amount of time doing it. When you’re freezing, it’s reasonable to say you’ll want to get back to your house as soon as possible.
How to ice fish for walleye and other species
Walleyes prefer to sail the curves of lakes because they prefer to live near reefs, points, and drop-offs. We may thus advise you to start by looking at a map, which will help you pick the locations where you’ll be most likely to come across a fish to catch.
An additional suggestion we can make, particularly if you’re just getting started, is to drill more holes than one at a time. To be sure, that doesn’t imply that you have to transform the frozen lake into a massive slab of Swiss cheese. Because many states’ laws permit you to use two lines at the same time, what you may do is drill two holes, set up your equipment, and then jig one or the other from time to time to get the best results.
Aggressive jigging can be accomplished with the assistance of a medium-action rod. Lipless crankbaits, jigs, jigging rapalas, and spoons are all excellent lures for walleyes, and they are available in a variety of sizes and colors. As a result, lipless crankbaits are the most aggressive of the bunch, as they are simple to jig and return to their vertical posture in a short period of time.
The usual methods
If you reside in a region where ice fishing is a popular pastime, you may start by combing the lakes even during the warm months to get a feel for the sport. This implies that you should make an effort to identify and examine the areas where fish congregate. As previously said, the shores of the lake are ideal for catching walleye and other prospective catches. However, commencing your research even while the weather is still pleasant will help you prepare far better for the months when you’ll be practicing your ice fishing skills.
Once you’ve arrived at the location, you’ll want to check to see that the ice on which you’ll be standing and eventually sitting is at least 6 inches thick before proceeding. You will be able to rest assured that it can support your weight as well as the weight of the rest of your equipment if you have completed all of the above. Drill holes into the ice with your ice chisel in order to gain access to the water’s bottom. Make your hole as perfect as possible with the assistance of your scoop.
You must match the length of your line to the depth of the water when it comes to rigging your boat. If you are confused about how much to use, we recommend using a sinker to calculate the distance from the surface to the bottom of the pool. Once you have ensured that the line length does not remain at the bottom of the reservoir, you can begin fishing with a variety of baits and lures. It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to fish as much as you would in the summer, so you’ll need a weight that can keep your lure at the proper water level in order to attract fish.
Because it is against the law in many places to toss your line or bait into the water, you must ensure that once you are positive you have caught something, you reel it in carefully and deliberately. You’ll avoid line breakage and be able to safely tie your fish this way. Needless to add, the line you will be using must be lubricated in order to avoid being tangled in the ice throughout the process.
If you are astute and resourceful, you can take use of the expertise of other ice anglers who are similarly skilled. This means that, regardless of whether you are a beginner or not, you can look for holes that haven’t been covered and try your luck with them rather than drilling your own holes. Inevitably, none of this will work if the trees are blanketed with another covering of snow.
Because the ice fishing presentation is so important in the game, it’s a good idea to start gathering your equipment before you try your hand at any form of fishing. We’ve already covered some of the lures you might want to consider using if you’re going after walleye. Others that provide excellent results are flash spoons, which, when used in conjunction with a minnow head on one of your hooks, create a lethal combination.
Don’t expect to have a spectacular ice fishing success right off the bat, though. To perfect the skill of jigging, including working your line, lures, and weights, as well as managing fish, it may take you years and years of practice and dedication. Carry out your homework and speak with other anglers who share your interests. Unless you’re nice and willing to lend a helping hand whenever the situation calls for it, you’d be surprised at how close-knit this group can become.
The very least you could do is look for some tutorials on the internet or watch a few videos on the subject. If they can assist you in learning how to drill a hole, they may even be able to tell you what type of specific equipment you will require for one species or another.
Last but not least, make every effort to maintain your safety at all times. Despite the fact that we have already addressed this subject previously, we feel the need to emphasize it because it is one of the most critical components of your angling efforts. Regardless of the sort of fish you are after, the location, or any method preferences, the fact remains that nothing surpasses safety when it comes to fishing.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.