As the temperatures are dropping and the ice is getting thick, a unique and exhilarating outdoor activity emerges—ice fishing. For those who are interested in this thrilling winter sport on frozen lakes and ponds, you’re in the right place. In this blog, you will explore the world of ice fishing, from the essential ice fishing equipment to the ice fishing tips that will help you reel in that elusive catch beneath the ice.
What is Ice Fishing?Historians believe ice fishing evolved during times when ice covered the water and survival was critical. Ice fishing was first used by indigenous peoples in North America and other arctic and subarctic regions across the world.
Ice fishing is a type of fishing that rewards participants with food rather than trophies. This sport takes place over frozen ponds and lakes with small holes cut into the ice, using lines and fish hooks or spears to catch fish.
Nowadays, ice fishing techniques have become increasingly sophisticated over the years. The vast majority of ice fishermen use specific ice fishing rods and reels. If you are looking for an ice fishing starter kit, let’s go further.
Workable Ice Fishing Kit for BeginnersNow that you know what ice fishing is, let’s see what ice fishing gear you need to prepare. To have a good harvest when ice fishing, one must first acquire all of the necessary equipment. What is the best equipment for ice fishing?
Ice Fishing Rod
Choosing an ice fishing-specific rod would be better than a standard fishing rod. Ice fishing rod is shorter, and closer to fishing hole for additional sensitivity. This 26-in ice fishing rod is constructed of solid graphite-fiberglass compounded blank and stainless-steel ice guides preventing freeze-up. With comfortable EVA handle for long-time fishing.
Ultra-light Spinning Reel
This spinning reel in 800 size is specifically built for ice fishing. Designed with 4+1 ball bearings and a 5.0:1 gear ratio, this reel provides excellent control for jigging and highly efficient drag systems for diverse fighting potential. Additionally, it’s made of premium aluminum and will not freeze, even in frigid temperatures.
Fishing Line and Fishing Bobber
It's important to choose the right line for the job because not all lines can withstand repeated exposure to freezing water. This #3 clear fishing line (L: 100m) is made of high-quality Nylon material, providing strength, roundness, and line consistency, which is strong and made for ice fishing. Equipped with 2pcs highly visible and sensitive fishing bobbers, it’s easier to see when the fish takes the bait.
Balanced Jig Lure
Jigging series is most commonly used for panfish and walleye ice fishing. This kit includes 5pcs in different colorful patterns and size lures (5/16oz-2 piece, 1/4oz, 8/5oz, 16/5oz-1piece per each), all armed with razor sharp hooks, which can catch a wide range of other fish, and are also surprisingly effective for open water fishing.
Ice Jigs Kit and Soft Lure Worm
These 29pcs fishing jigs and 50pcs soft lure kit are designed for ice fishing. Made from lead with bright painting and sharp hooks, it can be used for variable depth, sinking or suspending in the most productive volume. It works perfectly with these bloody-red micro worms, producing delicate action. The kit can help you catch various fish, such as bluegills, crappies, panfish, walleyes, and pike.
Fishing Spoon and Crankbait
Ice fishing spoons are also a must-have for any angler looking to catch fish during the winter months. Besides, lipless crankbaits are one of the ice angers’ favorite lures. There are 3pcs fishing spoons and 1pc lipless crankbait provided for ice fishing. These fishing spoons with 3 different highly reflective finishes offer a tempting flash and entice fish to strike.
While this crankbait can offer a smooth swimming motion when jigged, and the attention-grabbing vibration of their internal rattles. It’s also one of the best ice fishing lures for walleye, crappie, trout, and pike.
Fishing Backpack Stool
Sitting on the ice sucks and kneeling on the ice is even worse so a portable and durable stool is also indispensable. This fishing stool perfectly integrates both stool chair and backpacks with adjustable shoulder straps. It’s constructed of strong metal frame and water-resistant cloth, with open size: 32 x 32 x 38 cm/12.6 x 12.6 x 15 ", great for kids and adults up to 300Lb/6ft. Come with multi-pocket for easy storage.
The ice fishing kit comes in a quality plastic tackle box with 10 adjustable dividers, which is durable construction, impact resistant and corrosion resistant, making it easy to use and store. It can fit in different-sized tackle bags easily. Box dimension: 228x117x33mm (8.97"x4.6"x1.3")
Tips for the Most Popular Ice Fishing Fish Species
There are over 3,000 species of freshwater fish in North America waiting for you to explore, among which Panfish, Perch, walleye, pike, and trout are the most popular fish species during the ice fishing season. Here are some tips for the most popular ice-fishing fish species to help you have a successful outing.
Panfish feed less aggressively in the cold season, and they tend to focus on smaller food sources, such as plankton. So, it’s best to target panfish with lightweight lures, such as micro jigs. Panfish are often suspended in mid-water. Using a flasher to identify the correct depth to target would be extremely helpful.
Just like traditional fishing, the best times for fishing for perch are generally early in the morning, or at sundown. You’ll have the most success around sunrise and sunset though. It can be found close to structural transitions, so on a larger lake you really benefit from a lake map to find those spots (e.g. river beds in reservoirs, underwater hills, points, etc.).
The best time to fish for Walleye is at dawn and at dusk. It’s also possible to fish for it in the middle of the day if you’re patient. They feed during periods of low light so expect to fish into the dark if you’re after walleye. There are many in big lakes and large rivers, but also in smaller bodies of water. It likes to hide in muddy zones, between seaweed, and in rocky places.
Pike is another popular ice fishing species and they feed most when the water temperatures are coldest. The best time to catch pike is in the early morning right around sunrise. You can find them at transition points between deeper and more shallow areas.
The best time to catch trout is in the morning because they can’t see well in the dark. You’ll find them in the shallow water and be sure to get to the lake early because too much noise will scare this picky fish away.
Here is a brief table about the location and best times to fish:
1.Ice Thickness and Quality:
Always check the thickness of the ice and its quality. Ice should be at least 4 inches thick to walk on and 15 inches thick or more to support the weight of a truck. The best depth for fishing ranges from 3 to 20 feet. Also, clear ice is generally stronger than cloudy ice.
2. Emergency Gear:
Carry safety gear such as ice picks, a throw rope, and a life jacket. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Whenever possible, go ice fishing with a buddy. This ensures that help is available in case of an emergency.
Ice fishing is not just a hobby; it's a winter adventure that connects us with nature in a unique way. With the right ice fishing gear, knowledge, and a touch of patience, you can turn a frozen lake into a thriving fishing ground. So, bundle up, drill a hole, and embrace the chill as you embark on your ice fishing journey. Remember, every day on the ice is a chance for a new fishing tale to tell.