Winter Ice Makes Fishing Fun

by John Packer - Date: 2007-01-23 - Word Count: 659 Share This!

With winter quickly approaching, people who live in some of the colder regions of the country are preparing for the ice fishing season. Ice fishing is a charming sport in that people who do it often feel as though they are slipping into character. As you put on the several layers of warm and dry clothing, you can't help but feel as though you are playing the role of some experienced, seasoned fisherman who is about to conquer the hostile environment of the winter's ice and snow.

Ice fishing is more than just finding a spot on the ice to dig a hole and drop your line through. It's not as easy as it looks. But what can be so difficult about sitting on the ice waiting for the fish to bite? There is more to ice fishing than simply staying warm. There is a lot of hard work that goes into having a successful day out on the ice - after all, it is called ice fishing for a reason! If you don't catch any fish, what's the point? Everything from making the hole to releasing the fish and all the little things in between require attention to make your day worthwhile.

The first thing you should do when arriving at the lake is to make sure it is completely frozen over and thick enough to withstand the weight of you and your equipment. The next step is to begin drilling. The pros say that you should drill your holes first because the noise of the drill can frighten the fish temporarily. If you drill early the fish should have returned by the time you are ready to drop a line. It is smart to drill at least ten feet from shore. Begin by drilling a number of holes in a line and repeat, making several lines.

Once your holes are drilled and structure is set, it is time to start fishing! For beginners there are two different approaches to take when ice fishing, active or passive. When most think of ice fishing they imagine the passive method, where you set a few lines and relax, trying to stay warm while you take part in something else like cooking or listening to the game. On the other hand the active approach, as the name implies, is well, active. It is considered active because you fish by jigging by hand or with a wind-operated tip-up.

Using a set line is the most common way to ice fish. A set line will usually be rigged with a single small wire hook tied to the end and a split shot attached six to eighteen inches up the line. After hooking a minnow to the end the line is lowered to near the bottom or in the optimal strike zone. You may also use bear paws to add dropper lines to your main line. A dropper line makes it easy to fish at multiple depths with one line. Once the lines are set all that is left to do is sat back and enjoy the winter weather while you wait.

When bringing the fishing line in by hand, it is vitally important not to give any slack. To prevent this, grab hold of the line at the surface of the ice with your free hand. Start pulling before your occupied hand is extended as far up as it will go. When the fish is still a few feet below the surface, judge how green the fish still is. If the fish is still very active, it may be harder to get the fish's head through the hole. It is wise to decide before the fish gets to the ice whether or not you are going to attempt to bring the fish through. Once you've got a fish that far, he's all yours. Now that you are familiar with the basics of ice fishing, dress warm, be safe, and go find yourself a frozen lake with lots of fish.

Related Tags: fish, fishing, tackle, rod, reel, ice fishing, winter fishing, lure

John Packer is an avid fisherman and recommends for all your needs for fishing tackle based on their wide selection, super discount prices, and great service. Sign up for the newsletter and get weekly specials on Shimano fishing reels and various fishing supplies to fill up your tackle box and catch more fish.

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