Cut a hole and go Ice fishing!

What can you do about Hard Water? Cut a hole and go Ice fishing!

ice fishingIn the colder climates of the United States, ice fishing has been one of the most popular winter activities for those who just can’t get enough fishing action during the other three seasons of the year. On frozen lakes and rivers on any given winter day, you can observe ice shanties used to provide the ice fishers a shelter from the wind and snow, while braver souls opt for an upside down five-gallon bucket for a seat and little else.

Ice fishing is a winter sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and fishing ability. Minimal investment in fishing equipment is required.   While some specialty items are sold to enhance one’s individual comfort, some items are essential to keep the fishing enjoyable.

Your basic equipment should include an auger, a strainer, a fishing rod, bait, and warm clothing. The auger is used to drill through the ice to help you access the fish swimming in the water below. It can be a simple hand auger or an elaborate motorized model. Either variety will do.

Once the hole is drilled and water is exposed, the strainer will become your friend when you need to keep the hole from freezing shut and clear of slush and chips of ice that will form once the water is exposed to the open air.

Any fishing rod will do. There are special “ice fishing” rods sold, but some of the most successful rods are the simple bamboo variety, where nothing can freeze up. Keep it functional but simple.

For bait, many types of fresh offerings are accepted by the chilly fish below, such as mealworms, maggots and minnows. Jigs and minnow imitation lures can also prove irresistible to the hungry fish. Sometimes when ice fishing, less is more…except with your clothing. Be sure to dress warm and in thin layers. Waterproof boots are essential and a good pair of mittens will keep your hands the warmest. Hypothermia avoidance is key, and safety is #1!

And speaking of safety first, a few basic rules need to be observed before trekking onto the ice. A minimum thickness of four inches of ice is needed before heading out onto the “hard water.” Stay away from slushy areas, as many warm water springs and inlets cause thinner ice. Also avoid flowing water, as thin ice is generally found there as well. Always go ice fishing with a friend. Not only is it more fun to share the experience, there is safety in numbers when on the ice. And, always make sure you leave your itinerary with a friend or family member prior to heading out. It may mean the difference in life or death if you don’t return on time.

Now that we have our equipment and basic rules for ice fishing, let the games begin! Fish can be found at any depth. However, once you have drilled a hole in a prime location, find the depth by dropping a line in with a sinker attached to let it hit bottom. Find that depth and keep your bait within one foot of the bottom and get ready! Many fish travel in schools making ice fishing fast and furious at times!

Yes, Mrs. Paul’s frozen fish are tasty, but a trip to the freezer section at your local grocery store just can’t compare to the experiences found on top of the “Hard Water.” So gather your gear and a friend or two and get out there Ice Fishing!
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Gregory Beckman

About the Author:

Hi, I am Gregory Beckman, as the main owner of Military Hunting and Fishing let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I am currently an active duty member in the United States Coast Guard. I have been privileged to traveling the world. My experiences have shaped the way that I see the world and my memories will stick with me for a lifetime. Although I may not live in the country, the country lives in me. Traveling the world I have had the chance to experience the wonders of nature in many different places, meeting many different people and tasting wild game that the normal person would not get to experience. Although these experiences have kept me away from home, it has instilled a deep passion of hunting and fishing in my blood. Thank you for joining our site, and I look forward to interacting and sharing stories of our hunting adventures. Gregory A. Beckman
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