Spring may be upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, but let’s not forget that down under, winter is coming. Also, you can use this advice for when winter returns or if you are planning a trip up north when the current situation relaxes. Here are 10 things that you should know about ice fishing.
- The gear
As you can imagine, such an activity is going to require several things that you just can’t do without. Among them, we can mention the highly important fishing license (always have it with you), the ice fishing rod (which is different from the regular fishing pole), fish hooks, an auger to drill the ice, a scoop, a bucket, pliers and, naturally, bait.
- Checking for thin ice
We can’t stress out the importance of knowing how thick the ice is before you go out on it. Familiarize yourself with the lake and the currents in it. We recommend avoiding driving on ice.
- White noise
Simply walking on ice is going to produce lots of cracking noises which can be quite scary, but you need to relax as this is usually not going to lead to anything unfortunate. Don’t go to the other extreme and ignore all noises though!
- The feet
Clearly, you’ll need to dress properly so you can keep warm even more so if you don’t have any ice house nearby. Feet are most likely to get cold as they’re closest to ice. You’ll need really warm socks, foot warmers, and a pair of waterproof boots made for winter. Ice cleats are also helpful as they’ll help you with your balance when on the ice.
- Rely on fresh bait
You don’t want to use any old baits as fish won’t be drawn to it as much so buy some fresh bait from the shop closest to the lake. On top of that, you can ask the person working there questions about the lake and the area as they’ll be familiar with them and offer you the tips you need to make the fishing trip a success.
- Stay alert
Keeping warm with some beer or wine is a favorite pastime that goes well with this activity, but you must remember that you are, after all, walking on ice, above freezing water, so don’t overdo it as you need to be alert to any cracks. Plus if the fish start to bite you need to react in time as well.
- Don’t throw live bait in the waters
After you’ve finished the activity, there is a chance you’ll be left with some live bait. Maybe you don’t want to bother with it anymore or you’re thinking you are saving their life by throwing them in the water, but that’s not recommended. That is because that is exactly how invasive species start to appear. You’ve surely heard about the pythons in Florida swamps.
We don’t think anybody actually likes gutting, but you have to do it if you want to keep the fish fresh. There are plenty of guides out there to help you do it. There are cool models of knives you can pick from out there.
- Follow the pack
Check what other fishermen in the area are catching and where. You may be tempted to find your own spot but if you don’t know the area it’s just simpler to follow the lead so you can get to catching fish quicker.
- Have fun!
Like with any activity, if you don’t have fun, it’s not worth it! Learn to live in the moment so that even if you don’t catch anything, you’ll still enjoy the day!