Winter is upon us, and that can only mean one thing; ice fishing season!
It’s almost that time of the year again, and preparing for it ahead of time will ensure a smooth, stress-free season. Whether it’s your first time heading out on the ice or your hundredth time, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready and have everything you need. Here are some of our best tips for preparing for the upcoming ice fishing season.
1. Ensure the ice is thick enough
Just because there’s a layer of ice over the lake doesn’t mean it’s safe enough to set up on it. Before you go out, visually inspect the ice for cracks and take note of the ice’s colour. If it’s grey, it typically means that the ice is beginning to melt. If it’s clear blue, this indicates that the ice is thick enough to safely support a person’s weight. The standards for ice thickness are:
You also must ensure that the weather has been cold enough for a long period of time before you head out. According to Outdoor Canada, it’s best to wait until the temperature has been -8°C or colder for three consecutive weeks.
It can get very cold while you’re out on the exposed lake. Make sure all your winter attire is in top condition and that you have all the essentials; a winter jacket, hat, gloves, snow pants, and warm boots. If any of your winter clothes have rips or are worn out, it’s time to replace them. Dress in layers so that if you get warmer throughout the day, you can take off a layer.
Nothing is worse than heading out on the ice only to discover that your auger isn’t working properly. Whether you own a manual, electric, or gas-powered auger, have your blade sharpened or replaced before the season begins to ensure top performance. Top up your power auger with new gas, and if necessary, replace the spark plugs.
Ice fishing is, of course, different from regular fishing, and you will benefit greatly from using rods and reels specifically made for ice fishing. But no matter what you choose, make sure that your rods and reels are in excellent condition, and repair anything that’s broken. If you use a tip-up, make sure that it is well-lubricated. Always use a strong ice fishing line and replace it if it appears to be worn out. The last thing you want is to have your line break as soon as a fish bites!
When you spend the day out on the ice, it’s important to have some kind of shelter to help you keep warm and block out the wind. Whether you have a portable shelter or a wooden ice hut, always inspect it before bringing it out on the ice so you can identify and fix any possible damage. Also don’t forget to register your ice hut if necessary and familiarize yourself with the mandatory removal dates.
If you’re bringing along a portable heater for your shelter, double check that it’s working before you head out. When you’re outside in the cold for long periods of time, you’ll want to be able to take breaks to warm up by the heater!
6. Make a safety equipment checklist
As fun as ice fishing is, it’s possible that things can go wrong. You should always be prepared for accidents to happen. Here are some pieces of essential safety gear you should bring on your ice fishing trip:
Lastly, check your tackle box and make sure you have everything you need for a successful day out on the ice. Create a checklist for all the things you need so that you stay organized. Sharpen your hooks, stock up on bait if necessary, and make sure that all your tools are in good condition.
By keeping all these simple tips in mind, you are sure to be fully prepared for the season as it quickly approaches. If you’re in need of any important gear such as rods, reels, augers, and tackle, we have you covered; visit us in-store and take a look at our selection! Good luck out there and stay safe!