The Ultimate Beginners Ice Fishing Guide. All You Need To Know…


In order to go ice fishing you’re going to need to take all of the necessary equipment with you. This article will give you a brief overview of what you need to take without going in to too much detail.

Ice Fishing Rods, Reels & Line


As you’ve probably realised, in order to ice fish you’ll need something to fish with, a fishing rod. You could dig out an old rod from the back of the shed and make do however in order to have the best results and catch those record breaking fish, the ideal rod would be an ice rod.
As you may of noticed in the photo above, ice rods are much shorter than a normal fishing rod. These rod are shorter in length (approx. 24 – 36 inches) to help make it easier to fish down the holes. Imagine trying to fish with a 40ft telescopic rod – near impossible.
Check out my top 10 favorite ice fishing rods…here
As well as the rod, you’ll also need a reel and line. Fishing without a reel will be hard work and make it very tiring in those icy conditions. An ice fishing reel is slightly more compact and has a smaller radius in comparison to a normal reel. A lighter and smaller real makes it more obvious when there is a bite.
Ice fishing line is lightly different to normal line. The ice fishing line will tend to be braided and treated with anti-freeze to stop it freezing/attaching to the end of the rod.

Ice Fishing Lures and Bait


You’ve got your rod, reel and line at the ready, now you’re going to need to attract the fish. This is where the lures and baits come in.
There are various types of bait. Live bait will attract various types of fish through it’s movement and the smells it lets off.
Lures are usually bright in color (as above), this helps to reflect the light across the water and lure (hence the name) the fish towards your line.
Last of all, jigs. Jigs act as they are a live and move beneath the surface to attract the fish. A jig will not move on its own (unlike live bait), you will have to move the jig yourself. This is done by you moving your rod in consistent, rhythmic motions.
Most fisherman will use a combination of live bait, jigs and lures. Depending on what the fish are feeding on will depend on what type of lure or bait the fisherman will use.

Ice Fishing Tip-Ups


This is quite an important piece of equipment. Similar to a ‘bite alarm’, the tip-up is used to alert fisherman when they have a bite or when a fish is hooked on, purchasing a tip-up is not essential but is recommended.
A tip-up is a mechanism that holds the line and when a fish takes the bait the flag on top of the tip-up will move, this is how it shows your their is a bite of a fish on the end of your line.

Ice Fishing Augers


You may have purchased our ice auger drill adapter and therefore already have your auger prepared, for those that haven’t, carry on reading.
An ice auger comes in two ways, manual and gas-powered.
Manual is an auger where you will create a hole in the ice by turning the handle at the top. Manual augers are inexpensive but can be time consuming and cause fatigue.
Gas-powered augers (as displayed in the photo) is a machine operated auger and drills holes very quick. This saves you energy and gives you extra time to catch those fish!
Alternatively, you can purchase our ice drill adapter that attaches a hand auger to a normal drill. The cheaper way around purchasing an automatic auger.
Click here to view the drill adapter.

Ice Fishing Clothing


Keeping warm is essential during the ice fishing season. Just like your mom would say when you were a child “make sure you have plenty of layers on”.
Base Layer
Personally, I believe this is the most important layer as it is the one you put on first and the layer that your skin comes in to contact with. Cotton base layers are a big NO NO. As the cotton base layer becomes wet, it will absorb the water and start to reduce your bodies temperature, which in these conditions can be very dangerous. A synthetic base layer is ideal as it will keep the water out and most importantly keep your body at a warm temperature. If you’re going to spend money on new ice fishing clothing, making sure you have a good quality base layer is key.
Mid Layer(s)
This is the layer that’s sandwiched between your outer layer (jacket) and your base layer. This layer is a slightly more loose fitting jacket(s). Depending on the weather, you may wear 1 or 2 mid layers. An ideal mid layer (one that I use) is a fleece type jacket with a turtle neck. The second mid layer I would use is a lightweight jacket that is flexible. This can be removed quickly if you become too hot or alternatively put on quickly if you’re too cold.
Waterproof & Windproof Jacket
As the subtitle says, this jacket must be waterproof and windproof. It might be the perfect winters day once you step outside your home, however, when you’re out on the lake, even on the calmest of days it will feel windy! There are a lot of brands and varieties of jackets out there. Do you need a gortex jacket? Do you need a jacket with lots of secret pockets for lures?
Other Accessories
It is a good idea to have a warm hat to help keep the back of your neck and head warm. My rule of thumb before heading out to fish is to ensure none of my skin is on show. Therefore, hats, scarves and gloves are always necessary.
Thermal Socks
I normally have 2 or 3 pairs of socks on. The outer sock is always the thermal sock. Mid-calf to knee boots socks are my recommendation as these will keep your lower legs warm as well as your feet. Again, I avoid any cotton socks and currently use Merino wool socks.
Just like the socks, mid-calf to knee high boots are ideal. Also, it goes without saying that these must be waterproof. You will no doubt be trudging through the ice and fields to get to the lake, therefore, a boot with good grip on the bottom is key to help stabilise you. I tend to get an extra half to one size bigger in my fishing boots as the extra space will be filled with the thick socks.

Ice Fishing Shelter


This can be considered optional or not, depending on the weather forecast. If there are weather warnings, it is a good idea to consider sheltering.
Experienced serious fishers will tend to use wooden cabin shelters (see photo above). They will normally leave it there all winter, using it when necessary.
If this seems a bit extreme or daunting for a beginner. There are also portable tents that can be assembled in minutes. These are definitely worth considering as they will help block you from the cold.

Keeping Yourself Safe!


Ice fishing is somewhat a relaxing and safe sport. However, there are two things that can have serious implications if you do not follow the correct guidelines and procedures.
Firstly, you should not fish on any lake that has areas of less than 4 inches thick. This level of thickness is enough to hold an average man. If you do find some parts of the lake 4 inches thick, you will most likely find other parts thinner, which is not good.
If you’re heading to a lake for the first time, it is a good idea to consistently check the thickness of the ice as it may be to thin to walk on. If you do break the ice and fall in, you will need to remove the wet clothing as soon as possible and return to dry land.
It is a good idea to leave dry clothes or a sleeping back on dry land in case this does happen.
Another safety precaution as discussed before is having enough warm clothing. Being too cold and getting hypothermia needs to be taken serious as it could be fatal. Ensure you always have enough warm clothing. Remember, you can always take clothes off an put them back on but you can’t if you don’t bring them with you!
If you follow these basic guideline, you’ll have a safe and great time.

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