Tip # 54 – Essential Ice Fishing Equipment and Gear
The temperature is well below zero, the lakes have entirely frozen over, and now its time to get out for some Ice Fishing. A number of factors that are both within and outside of your control will affect your ability to catch fish through the ice consistently. One factor that is inside of your control is the gear you use when ice fishing. Here is a list of the essential, and the ‘nice to haves’ for ice fishing.
The Ice Fishing Essentials
- Ice Fishing Rods – Rods of different action for different applications, spooled up with anywhere from 2 to 8 pound test ice line
- Bait – Minnows, Leeches, Dewworms, wax worms, red wigglers. Depending on what you are targeting, make ure you have enough bait to keep you fishing all day.(minnows, smelts, etc.)
- Something to sit on - This could be something as simple as folding lawn chairs. I tend to sit on my bucket most times out on the ice.
- Tip-ups and Leaders - Stationary tip-ups are excellent as your second line. Basically, just set it and forget it until you see your flag pop up!
- Big bait for tip-ups – Tip-ups are excellent for targeting big Pike and Lake Trout. For Pike, try to find yourself some huge suckers, or lake herring where permitted.
- Tackle - Hooks, sinkers, jigs, spoons etc.
- Ice Auger - If you are going to be ice fishing, a good auger is a necessity. Make sure to keep spare blades handy!
- Bucket - This is useful for carrying everything you bring with you, it doubles as a seat, and can be used to carry your catch back to the car at the end of the day.
- Pliers (needle nose are best) - Deep hooked fish and toothy critters will make you realize the importance of a good set of pliers or hemostats.
- Fishing License – Always carry your fishing license when out fishing.
- Drinking water & Snacks – Sitting in the sun, and the wind can dehydrate you quickly, even in the winter. Carry some water and snacks with you when you head out on the ice.
- Communication device – A cell phone is something you should try to carry with you on the ice. Walkie talkies are an excellent choice as well.
- Matches/lighter - Just in case! You could find yourself stuck on a back lake if your sled dies. You’ll be happy you have the ability to start a fire if this should ever happen to you!
- Extra change of clothes – If you go through the ice, or just get wet from kneeling on the ice all day, or possible rains that may come, you’ll be happy you have a change of clothes!
- Filleting knife - For obvious reasons, a high quality filleting knife is essential for cleaning your catch!
For Those Who Like Ice Fishing Toys:
These ice fishing items are not necessities, but they definitely add to the experience and pleasure you’ll have out on the ice.
- Power Ice Auger
- Ice fishing shelter
- Flasher depth finder
- A compass
- Ice Scoop
- Hand warmers
- Sled to drag your equipment over the ice with
- Two-way radio’s
- Ice fishing bobbers
- Ice pick
- Ice cleats
Check out our Ice Fishing Safety Article for more info!