The Equipment You Need for Ice Fishing
The method of fishing where an angler fishes through a hole in the ice of a frozen lake, pond and even a river is known as ice fishing. Over time, the method of ice fishing has significantly changed from the time when anglers spent time drilling a hole, then waiting, often for hours, in the hope of catching a fish. Modern ice fishing includes methods, such as the use of a handheld GPS receiver that can be used to accurately locate fish and heated shelters make fishing in the cold a much more enjoyable sport. Ice fishing can be done during any time of the day, and with a portable, heated shelter you can even spend the night on the ice if you choose to. However, ice fishing can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are new to the sport. If you are new to ice fishing, here are a few tips to help you find the gear and bait you need to get started.
First Time Gear Needed
Getting outfitted with the appropriate gear is relatively inexpensive, and you won’t need a ton of gear your first few times out. In fact, it’s best to just get the basics and then add equipment as you get more experienced. Along with a valid fishing license, the basic ice fishing tools and equipment you will need includes:
- Appropriate winter clothing, including warm, durable boots and ice cleats
- Backup clothing (in case you fall in)
- Ice fishing rod and reel
- Ice pick
- Life vest
- An ice auger or ice chisel
- Ice scoop
- A 5-gallon bucket with lid (doubles as a seat and to hold your catch)
- Cell phone (fully charged)
Bait to Use
The bait used for ice fishing isn’t that much different than the bait you use when fishing in the spring; however, certain baits work better in the ice for catching panfish, walleye and trout. Some of the best bait to use includes:
A wiggler (Michigan term for a baby mayfly). This type of bait works excellent when you are fishing in the ice for panfish, perch and walleye.
Wax-worm (a small white grub). If you are ice fishing for bluegill, perch or walleye, using a jig tipped with a wax worm and a regular hook will help you fill your catch bucket in no time.
Spikes (a type of grub/maggot). This is one of the best baits you can use if you are fishing for perch. Bluegill and walleye will occasionally take this bait as well, but if you are fishing for walleye, it’s best to put a few of them on the jig.
Scented eggs. These reusable, plastic eggs come in a variety of colors and have a scent that is similar to black licorice. This bait works great when used under a jigging rap when you are looking to catch a bucket full of perch or walleye.
Minnows. Regardless of the modern ice fishing techniques and equipment, there is nothing like using a minnow, regardless of what type of fish you are trying to catch. The minnows can be live or frozen, and you can use the whole minnow, the heads or just the tails.
Regardless of how seasoned of an angler you are off the ice, ice fishing comes with a unique set of rules and challenges, so it is essential that on your first time out, you go with someone who is experienced.
Need ice fishing gear and equipment? Norton Sporting Goods has everything you’ll need! Stop by today to stock up or to learn more about proper ice fishing equipment.