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5 Winter Ice Fishing Tips to Catch More Fish

Ice fishing is an excellent way to stay active during the winter while also participating in your favorite sport. The activity, however, is not without challenges. You must thoroughly prepare for the season in order to stay on top of the game.

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Here, I’ll provide you with the best ice fishing tips to help you prepare and improve your chances of success.

5 Best Ice Fishing Tips 

  1. Stay mobile

Drilling holes in the ice with an ice auger is required for ice fishing. Don’t just drill one and hope for a bite all day, even if there isn’t any. If you’re having trouble landing a catch, switch locations and drill. An active school of fish can sometimes be found just a few meters away, and all you have to do is move.

  1. Use a fish finder

You’re looking for a vertical catch when ice fishing; it could be just beneath the ice or at the very bottom of the water. To succeed, however, you must keep things moving so that you can experiment with various depths. This can be a stressful situation, and you may find yourself without anything. Ice fishing with a fish finder or ice flasher is more fun and increases your chances of success.

Keep your ice fishing fish finder locked on the best angling depth after you’ve drilled your first hole, and rig in your catch once movement is detected.

  1. Keep moving your jig

In contrast to open water fishing, where you can simply drop your lure or bait and wait for a bite, ice fishing requires some effort. Fish are slower and less aggressive during the colder months, making it difficult to detect a bite on your jig. As a result, keep your lure or jig moving. This causes movement and vibration in the water, attracting nearby fish to your fishing spot.

Apart from moving your jig, it’s a good idea to rig up several rods with different items. When hunting for different species or looking for a live catch, this is very useful. You can also go ice fishing with tip-ups to cover more ground.

  1. Travel Light

When ice fishing, carry as little as possible. Avoid bringing unnecessary items with you that will make it difficult to move around. The easier it is to change areas and improve your ice fishing success, the simpler and lighter you travel. Remember that the goal is to cover as much ice and area as possible, which you can do if you aren’t carrying heavy tools.

  1. Stay safe

When ice fishing, your safety should always take precedence. When you’re out in the wild, anything can happen, but following these precautions can help you stay safe:

Tag a friend

Always tag someone when you go ice fishing. A friend can help you if you have an accident or become hypothermic. You may perish if you don’t have a friend in such a situation. A friend also gives you a sense of security, allowing you to focus on the fish while still being able to call for help if something goes wrong.

Keep someone up to date on your fishing plans.

It’s best to keep someone in the loop about your ice fishing plans, whether it’s a loved one, a friend, or a neighbor. Share the name of your fishing spot, its exact location (e.g., south shore, north shore, etc. ), and when you plan to return home. Notify them right away if you decide to stay out longer. If you don’t show up without warning, they can always contact the authorities for assistance.

Be open and friendly to the locals and other anglers.

Locals have the upper hand when it comes to crucial information about your fishing spot. They can provide you with information on water movement, ice fishing, and other useful information, such as good fishing spots. Being open and social with them is the best way to obtain information. Interact with other anglers to make your time on the ice more memorable and to make angling easier.

Carry a  life jacket, throw rope, floatation suit,  a cell phone, first aid kit, ice rescue picks, and a power bank at all times.

All of these items are for your protection. In the event of an accident, a throw rope allows your friend to pull you to safety. It can also be used to assist other anglers.

If you fall through the ice, a floatation suit will keep you warm and allow you to easily escape the freezing waters, while ice rescue picks will assist you in climbing out.

A cell phone can be used to call for help in an emergency. However, if it runs out of power, it may not be able to save the day because batteries drain quickly in the cold. In this case, a power bank will come in handy.

Before you take a step, check the thickness of the ice.

The thickness of the ice varies from place to place and can change quickly. It is best to adhere to ice thickness guidelines: stay off if the ice is 2 inches or less, continue with activities on foot only if the ice is 4 inches thick or more, at least 12 inches in a small pickup or car, and 15 inches in a medium truck. In addition, before taking a step, inspect the areas of weakness for broken, wavy, or discolored patches.

Before it gets dark, leave your fishing spot.

In the dark, it is easy to become disoriented, and it is even worse when it is cold outside. It may be difficult to find your way out of the ice lakes because there are no familiar sights. Unless you have a GPS device and are confident in your safety, it is best to leave before dark.

Make sure your ice shack has plenty of ventilation.

Although ice shanties are necessary, heated shanties can expose you to carbon monoxide if not properly ventilated. To avoid such risks, make sure your ice fishing shelter is well ventilated.

Final Thoughts

Ice fishing is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the cool winter temperatures. Whether you are a seasoned ice angler or new to the sport, following these simple guidelines will help make your next trip safer, more enjoyable, and more successful.

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