Ice Fishing Tips - For Beginners


Some people forget to learn some ice fishing tips before heading out to catch fish in the winter. Did you hear the one about the guy who went ice fishing and came back with 50 lbs. of ice? Well, if you find yourself here you're at least one step ahead of that fella. That is unless you intended to bring home some ice. Ice fishing is actually a very simple sport but must be practiced with some caution.


Let's dive right in.


Some Ice Fishing Tips for Beginners

Seriously before you set out to catch any fish on "hard" water there are a couple of things you should be concerned about.


The first of the ice fishing tips, make sure you are equipped with the proper attire.


Setting out from home on a nice sunny day is fine. But once you approach your destination things may have drastically changed or may change without notice.


This would also be a good time to check the weather channel or go online for the up to date weather forecast.

Secondly, remember to check the ice conditions wherever you go. There are local ice hut operators or locals who are willing to help make your trip safe as well as offer up some ice fishing tips.


Get a Flotation Suit

A friend of mine told me once, "You can always take it off, but its pretty hard to put it on if you haven't got it!" My advice, purchase a good floatation suit. They are warm and if you happen to break thru the ice it will probably save your life.

A warm, dry set of gloves, preferably without fingers is a must when it comes to ice fishing tips. This way all the fingers share the warmth. A full face balaclava is also required as well as sunglasses.


A scarf can help but be cautionary of the vehicle you are using to get you out to your favorite spot. You don't want to have it get tangled up in a chain or track.


Several Layers of Clothes are Beneficial

Several layers of clothes are a benefit just for the luxury of taking them off. Another good idea, among my ice fishing tips, is to have a fishing buddy. They are not only there to enjoy the day with you and help make the fishing story a real tale but if an emergency arises they are the only support you've got.

We still have a few small things to do and some ice fishing tips to learn before setting out. Make sure your transportation is trustworthy, a general maintenance check will do.


Tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be gone and last but not least, a simple thing like a compass, so you don't get lost.

Okay, are we having fun yet learning these ice fishing tips. Now that we have got all the scary stuff done, its time to leave, right .... WRONG !

You forgot the gear.


The Equipment Must Match the Fish

A general rule of thumb among ice fishing tips regarding gear is to choose the equipment you will need to match the fish you are seeking (e.g. the larger the fish, the heavier the tackle).

Of course you won't be able to get to them if you don't have a hole. So depending on the ice and your wallet or both, you are going to need an ice spud or hand\gas auger.


You can purchase both as a lot of ice fishing tips revolve around each of them. But if you just happen to have a friend that welds you can get him to make the spud up for you out of a 6' x 2" piece of flat steel and round bar. Don't forget to weld a "T" on the top and grind the flat bar down to a chisel point.

If you are in good shape and have the time the hand auger is great but if you intend to fish several spots and don't want to tire yourself out making holes get a gas auger. Look for an auger with at least a 6" cut just so you can get the big ones thru the hole.


Good Ice Fishing Tips involve an Ice Skimmer

Next, you'll need an ice skimmer. I suggest the aluminum one because if you are in a hut with a stove just warm it up a little and touch it to the hole and voila ... instant skim! Also, tie a light chain or rope on it just in case it falls down the hole.

Well, you're almost there and your knowledge of ice fishing tips is growing. But, you can't catch anything without some type of jigging rod. They come in all types, sizes and styles but look for one that you will be comfortable with.


This may take a few outings to find. So, see if you have a buddy who will lend you his or hers along with some ice fishing tips on how to use it. Another general rule of thumb, a light rod for perch and panfish using 2 to 4 lb. test, medium action for trout, walleye, whitefish, etc. and 6 to 10 lb. test.


Tip-Ups are useful Tools

If you are energetic and have a second hole you can also use a tip-up. They range in price from twenty to thirty-five bucks. Well, this should get you started. The rest you can learn from patience and experience.

Well, seeing as you have made it this far with my ice fishing tips. I guess an obvious question would be "When is the best time to go ice fishing?" Everyone I know wants to get out there as soon as possible.


It is probably because the fishing seems to be a little better or more likely they just want to be the first one to haul one out of the hole.


Ice Fishing Tips on Where the Fish Are

It is true that the fish are relaxed and in the best feeding spots because they haven't been hassled for several months. Trout in particular spawn in the fall and can be found in deep water at this time. You can find them on bars, shoals, rocks and fingers.


My ice fishing tips for perch, pike and walleye is that they tend to look for shallow, weedy lakes because the oxygen level tends to be a lot higher.

Once the little villages spring up and the anglers take their toll the catches tend to decrease but don't despair they are still out there. You just have to work a little harder and pick up some more ice fishing tips as well.

So you need a few ice fishing tips because you’re just not catching your limit.


What Do You Do If There Are No Bites?

Well, what do you do in the summer time? Whether you are fishing from shore or a boat if you are not getting the bites?..... You move.

I do it all the time. It's not hard if you've got your own sled. And make sure you've got a power auger, you'll need it. In order to be mobile you really need to be prepared and know some good ice fishing tips. These include having a portable shelter, flotation suit, auger, sled or 4x4, fish finder and GPS.


Give yourself about 10 to 20 minutes per hole. That's enough time to find your depth, scratch the bottom for debris, rocks, sand, etc., set up your fish finder and locate fish and at what depth. It also allows you to try your technique to see if they are interested.


Ice Fishing Tips and Calculated Moves


If you happen to have the hydrographic map of the lake or fished it before it helps. Try making calculated moves, such as holes, shoals and weed beds.

If you can afford it, another one of my ice fishing tips is to get yourself several rods and rig them up with different presentations. Not only do you become a quick change artist but it saves tying on different lures when the weather isn't friendly.

Among the many ice fishing tips, remember, jigging is really an art form. Not to fast and not to slow, kind of a rhythm thing. Keep in mind it is okay to jig hard at first, you want to attract them, get them interested.


Once you've done that slow down to a twitch by using only your wrist or trolling from one side of the hole to the other. Alternatively you can raise the rod tip a few inches then lower it. Stir up the bottom a little.


The Type of Rod is Important

One of the most important ice fishing tips is to make sure your rod is short, stiff and has big eyelets. It's hard to fish in a hut that's only 4 x 6 with a 3' rod. You only get one chance to set the hook, so if it moves you don't want the rod to bend. Having your line get frozen because of clogged eyelets just isn't any fun.


No, I'm not trying to wake you up from your daydream but just want to make sure that these ice fishing tips are sinking in. Just remember, feeling a hit is not the only way to get fish out of the hole. If you see the slightest movement, either side to side or up and down, set your hook!


Remember, if you're sending your lure down and it stops and you are not where you're supposed to be, you probably have one on the line.


Hook'em Good

Now, if you want to get them up the hole you’re going to need to hook 'em. So follow standard ice fishing tips and keep your hooks sharp. The easiest way to test is when you push the point thru the minnow, if the point doesn't go in easily either sharpen it or replace it.


Speaking of hooks, size is important, the smaller the bait the smaller the hook. Also, if you’re using a large hook on small bait you restrict its movements and could possible even spook your game.

In terms of ice fishing tips, timing the hook set is crucial when using minnow bait. It is well known that most fish attack from the side, so don't try to set the hook at the first sign of movement or tug. Allow the fish time to swallow the minnow.


Okay, so you lost your patience and some ice fishing tips. You had him and lost him. Don't be in a hurry to change your bait, put the line back down the hole. Remember, he just lost supper and if he's hungry he'll be back. Wait a couple of minutes and if you don't get a response you're welcome to change your bait.


Now I'd like to hear from you.


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