When ice covers the water, it creates a quiz for every fisherman because things are not the same anymore! Ice fishing is a method of fishing that was invented in ancient times and if you love fishing, you understand what this is. It’s simply catching fish through a hole on frozen water in a water body that could be a river or lake.
Well to do this you need to be smart! It would be so disappointing to go for a long fishing day during the winter season and all you bring back is a single fish.
That’s why you need to be a perfect angler. We are going to equip you with the best ice fishing tips to ensure that your winter fishing season will be equal to or even better than normal fishing experiences. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
1. Prepare Your Fishing Gear
Before anything else, you must have everything in place, from your ice fishing jacket and a dry bag for your items to a well-charged phone for your trip. Pack up a GPS too just in case you need to find your way.
Remember this is not just fishing, it’s ice fishing! This means you must have warm and durable boots and fishing gloves otherwise, you will be freezing for the rest of the trip. Ensure your fishing tool, which includes your reel, is clean and well serviced to avoid frustrations while out there.
What we are simply saying is this – make sure you have a complete list of the things you will need for ice fishing so that everything runs smoothly.
2. Have It Planned
Before you even go out there, it would be a great idea to have everything organized. Depending on your ice fishing spot; may it be a river, pond, or the deep waters, you need to know where the greener pastures are.
During winter, fish are known to be found in shallow, weedy areas but with time, they move to the deeper water where it is believed to be a bit warm.
With this, you will probably be required to move to the mid-depth parts of your spot to look for fish. Well at this point, you will need to believe in yourself because you will probably not see any other fish hunter at these points. This is where a fish finder comes in! With such a tool, you will be able to identify these spots, barrow a hole on each, and sample to see what you will get.
It may prove hard to catch fish from these places but once you identify the best and the right one you will be shocked!
3. Be Aware Of The Depth
When it comes to ice fishing water depth is a factor because the depth at which fish reside during winter is shallower compared to the summer season. This is a bonus for you! It will make it easier for you to catch the fish.
However, it depends on the species of fish you want to capture as the majority of the species are less active during the winter season. Well, this sounds a little bit confusing but you can still save yourself from too much hassle.
Try researching the same from the internet or your fellow anglers to know how deep each species of fish go during the winter season.
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4. Master The Fish Senses And Movements
Ice fishing is very sensitive! It’s not a matter of luck; you got to be perfect. Unlike other times when the water is clear and you can see the fish, in ice fishing you are going to pull out the fish through a hole that you are going to create on the frozen water.
This automatically raises an alarm! You have to be sure of the fish’s senses and movements to be able to trap several if not a few!
Just like you, these little things can hear, smell, see, taste, and react according to their surroundings. They can see above and around them so clearly and that is why while fishing you always cast your lure above them.
You need to be very keen though. If the water is shallow and very clear, your lure might scare away the fish and you could end up capturing nothing.
Although these creatures move very fast in the water, they are less active during the cold season more so during the winter season.
5. Have Something To Shield Your Opening
You will be digging a hole in the ice to cast your fishing rod. But to succeed in your angling, you will need to cover up the hole with something. Do you know why?
As we mentioned earlier, these small creatures can see, just like you! Once they sense or see some light, they immediately declare that spot a danger zone and escape to some other place.
But don’t be very strict about this. For some species, that is exactly what they need – light. Some fish like the crappies are attracted to light because it attracts some small species of fish called planktons, which is what the crappies feed on.
6. Know Your Pattern
Remember you are not seeing the fish so you need to put your expert dangling skills into practice. Knowing your pattern or identify the pattern you are going to use is just a perfect idea. Know what attracts your species of interest as well as the structure of the lake is even brilliant!
We know this sounds a bit twisted, right?
There are several approaches and patterns to identify the best spot including the ‘football field’ and ‘tennis court’ approach. For this one, you have to make several holes, cast your fishing line in and feel the concentration of the fish. You will repeat this until you get to the place that interests you the most.
We also have the zigzag pattern but this one is possible if you have a partner. You go drilling some holes on the ice in a zigzag pattern and the other person comes looking at each until you both find a spot with ample fish.
7. Know-How To Handle Conditions Like Hypothermia
The mention of hypothermia alone is a nightmare to many anglers. This condition has claimed the lives of many in the water sports world leave alone ice fishing.
If you have never been a victim, you have seen one and you are at risk too provided you are out there. Did you know that someone can die after half an hour in icy water? Yeah, it’s that bad!
Ensure you know how to treat and handle hypothermia. Always ensure you have a spare pair of winter gear, not only for you but also for your fellow ice fisherman who may be affected.
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This whole thing sounds tough? No, it’s not, with the above ice fishing tips implemented we are assuring you of not only fun but a basket full of fish to take home after your trip.
There are some tips that you just can’t ignore but are based on the general knowledge of every ice fisherman. The fact that the best places to ice fish are in the larger lakes because they have more oxygen meaning there are more fish, should always be at your fingertips.
The secret of a successful ice fishing experience is being aware of the interest of every fish species. Some species are attracted to light. Some of them are very fast during the cold season while the majority are less active.
Knowing how to ice fish is one thing and having the ice fishing tips with you will just add candles to the cake you have already iced!