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Ice Fishing Guide: How do you prepare for ice fishing?

Ice fishing is easily one of the best activities you can do during the winter. I myself picked it up while I was still a teenager, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. If you’re thinking about trying ice fishing this winter, I would highly encourage you to do so.

It is one of those activities that you will get addicted to once you try it. 🙂

Ice Fishing Guide: How do you prepare for ice fishing?

Before you go out ice fishing, you must learn some of the basics. It’s best to prepare yourself for the worst because ice fishing can be quite dangerous. In this article, we’ll go over the basics of ice fishing that I’ve learned from my personal experience, which will help you prepare for your first ice fishing.

Do proper research

Before you go out on your first ice fishing trip, prepare yourself by doing some research. What I like to do is research on the best locations for ice fishing. Personally, my top favorite places to go for ice fishing are Lake of the Woods in Minnesota and Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. These locations offer a wide range of species, including Lake Trout and Crappie. They are also great places for socializing.

Before I out for fishing on the ice, I normally research on the ice conditions and fishing reports in that area. This is very important since you don’t want your fishing trip to be ruined after all the arrangements you made just because of some unfavorable conditions.

It’s also a great idea to talk to the locals about the best part of the lake. And also ask for their recommendations. This way, you can easily get a good amount of catch.

Apply for a fishing license 

A license is required almost everywhere in the country if you want to fish. Different states have different regulations regarding ice fishing. The validity of the license can also vary depending on the state you’re in. So get ready with your license as early as you can so that you can go out and have fun without any restrictions and last-minute formalities.

Ice Fishing Essentials

Like almost every other outdoor activity in the world, ice fishing also requires a list of essentials that can be in the form of tools and gears. Below is a list of all the ice fishing essentials that you will need to prepare yourself for your first ice fishing trip.

Ice fishing Auger: An auger/drill is one of the most important tools that you will need when you go out for ice fishing. They come in three different types – manual, fuel-powered and electric powered.

Electric augers are clearly the favorite among the three types since they are more efficient and drill holes in no time. My personal favorite auger that I always carry with me during my ice fishing trip is the ION X 29250 40V 8-inch Auger. You can click here if you want to know more about this product.

Electric augers cost a little more, but if you’re willing to invest in a good electric auger, you will not regret it.

Ice Fishing Rod: This is a no brainer on the list of ice fishing essentials. You can’t actually go for an ice fishing trip without and ice fishing rod. To be fair, you can use any type of fishing rod when you’re on the ice. However, specialized ice fishing rods have their own perks. This is why there’s an “ice fishing rod” and not just a “fishing rod” for all.

Ice fishing rods are normally very small and will measure up to just 24 inches. This short length allows you to have better control over your rod. You can also position yourself closer to the hole. Ice fishing rods are also very sensitive compared to other normal rods since fish bites under the tick ice can be hard to detect.

My favorite ice fishing rods that I’ve been using for a while are the St. Croix Ice Fishing Rod Mojo Series and Fenwick Elite Spinning Ice Fishing Rod.

A bucket: How can you forget the bucket! It might seem like a pretty insignificant item to carry on your fishing trip, but trust me, it can really come into handy sometimes. A good quality bucket can be used in a lot of different ways. You can use it to carry your tools, gears, or maybe even the fish you might catch.

But when they’re empty, buckets can also make a great seat. 😉 Perfect for my old ass!

Sled:  A sled is also an important item to carry with you when you go for ice fishing. It comes in handy when you need to transport your tools from your car to the fishing spot.

Pick a sled that’s large enough to accommodate all your items along with some extra space in case you might feel like adding something later. I recommend the Fenwick ETICE24ML. It is cheap and it works great!

Baits: If you’ve decided where to go for ice fishing, you probably already know what types of fish you’ll find. The next thing you should do once you get that information is to pick your bait, depending on the type of fish. You can find my detailed ice fishing lure guide here!

Put on warm clothes

Once you’re done with the essential items for your fishing trip, make sure you put on some of the warmest clothes. Winter is already very cold and but spending the whole day on a lake during winter is a different type of cold. I wrote detailed user guides on how to select the best quality ice fishing boots, gloves, warm jackets and even full waterproof ice fishing float suits! Check it out as it can make or break your next trip!

Final Thoughts

Like every other ice fishing enthusiast, I started out without the slightest idea of how to prepare for ice fishing. But as I learned the basics once and tried it, everything else soon followed. Ice fishing is not hard to learn and doesn’t take a lot to prepare for it.

Hopefully, this article is what you were looking for. By now, you must know how to prepare yourself for ice fishing. Get ready for one of the best activities you will do all winter.