It's great to fish in the summer when the air is warm and the lake is calm. There are fishermen, though, who can't wait for winter and the lake to freeze solid. Ice fishing is a sport that many people enjoy, extending the fishing season to year-round pleasure. What's more, family ice fishing is a great family activity.
Let's dive right in.
The Great Pastime of Family Ice Fishing
What makes family ice fishing so appealing to families is that the sport isn't just about catching fish. Getting outdoors and breathing crisp, good air while having fun sums up ice fishing well.
Smiles, laughs, and playing in the snow are all pretty common occurrences while out on the ice. Those reasons are just some of the few that even people who hate fishing get hooked on this winter activity.
If you'd like to try a day of family ice fishing with your family, here are some things to keep in mind.
A Whole Day Activity
Family ice fishing is usually a whole-day activity. Get out on the ice early after breakfast to enjoy the best hours. If you plan on bringing home a bunch of perch for a meal, then being ready with your lines in the water by the time the sun starts to rise is best.
Fish tend to bite in the early morning or later in the afternoon, depending on the species. The period in between usually ends up being playtime for families rather than hours spent reeling up the fish.
Take Food With You when Family Ice Fishing
Pack a good lunch and some snacks, because the fresh air and activity will stir appetites when you go family ice fishing. Lots of finger foods and plenty of water to drink serve the purpose nicely. It's a good idea to avoid bringing beer with you, though, as alcohol and cold don't mix well.
Alcohol can lower your body temperature and the chill in the air makes it harder to feel the effects. You may end up going overboard without realizing you've had one too many to make the safe drive home.
Staying Warm is a Must when Family Ice Fishing
Staying warm while family ice fishing is a must. The open-air location will often carry a good breeze, so windproof clothing should be your first consideration. Plenty of layers underneath warm sweaters will trap the heat and keep you feeling toasty.
Good boots and mitts of solid construction are best, and even better are those that are waterproof. Ice fishing involves playing in cold water, after all!
Some other accessories you'll need when you go family ice fishing are a warm hat and sunglasses. Bright sunlight reflects on the white snow and ice, which can be brutal on your eyesight and vision.
Many ice anglers who don't wear sunglasses come home and realize they can't see well for over half an hour! Since the sun is so strong and the reflection off the snow amplifies its effects, it's also easy to get sunburned, so apply plenty of sun block to avoid red cheeks.
Choose an Outfitter Wisely for Family Ice Fishing
If you're new to family ice fishing, or ice fishing in general, choose an outfitter that will provide you with a cabin, a stove, lines, minnows and a hole-drilling service. These outfitters want to make sure you enjoy your day as much as possible and will set you up with everything you need for hours of fun.
The employees will also be more than happy to answer your questions and give you tips on how to fish. Once you're set up, respect other people around you when family ice fishing. Have a good time, but don't blast a radio to upset the peace and quiet of other anglers.
Don't throw waste on the ice either while family ice fishing and take care of the environment. Some fishermen pour antifreeze in their holes to prevent ice from forming but antifreeze is toxic and this practice is an irresponsible one. Use the metal spoon provided to keep your holes from freezing over.
Practice Catch and Release
In addition, when you are family ice fishing, if you aren't going to eat the fish you catch, handle them gently and practice catch and release. The growth rate and reproduction of fish is quite slow, which means negligent or abusive behavior can put a dent in fish populations.
Lastly, pack up and head home before you get tired. Being outside for a few hours in cold temperatures will hit you hard once you get into a warm car. By the time you get home, you'll probably feel exhausted. After a day of family ice fishing, ordering a pizza for supper can be a godsend!
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