Ice Fishing

The Ice Angler

Ice Fishing is an experience in itself. It is an exciting sport for any angler. When its warm out we all go to the rivers, streams, lakes or even our own boats, to get out there and see what is running. Now during the colder weather, it may not be as popular unless we are equipped with the correct equipment. How awesome would it be to be out on Lake Erie or any one of the Great Lakes? As long as we are not going to freeze to death.

They make all kinds of things for us to wear or shelters’ with heaters and windows, where we can fish from. This is all besides the heavy clothing and boots we would be wearing. Just like a hunter who has thermal jackets and pants, heated socks, or even thermal underwear. All of this can be worn while ice fishing as well. So I would like to show you some things for the Ice Angler.


The Waters

Almost all ponds and lakes offer ice fishing. Each individual pond or lake defines the kinds of fish that may be caught. Larger, shallower ponds and lakes favor species such as chain pickerel, northern pike, yellow perch and sunfish. Deep water lakes need to be fished selectively to get good catches of Northern Pike, Walleye or Lake Trout.

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Landlocked Salmon, where they may be legally taken, are often found in deep lakes, which have cool temperatures in the summer. However, when these lakes are ice-covered, trout are frequently caught just a few feet under the surface of the ice. The local tackle shop should be able to tell you where and what is currently being caught in the area.

Regardless of what kind of fish you are trying to pull out of the river or lake, the previous holes can tell you the area of where good catches have recently occurred.


Basic Ice Fishing

Winter anglers can catch a variety of fish, primarily perch, sunfish, pickerel, northern pike and walleye. Also in many waters throughout New York State are open for trout fishing, lake trout and landlocked salmon. Check the “Special Regulations By County” from the Fishing Regulation Guide.

Fishing through the ice requires a little bit of skill and knowledge as does open water fishing. But anyone can ice fish successfully if he/she does their homework. Learning about the waters you are going to be fishing in, the equipment and its capabilities, proper clothing and safety precautions are all part of a successful fishing experience.

Maybe it would be better to go with a friend or neighbor the first time out for a 1/2 day. If you are unable to find a friend to go with, then visit a neighborhood tackle shop in the area you want to ice fish from. They will provide you with all the necessary equipment. You may also want to watch for announcements of local ice fishing contests or tournaments run by the local fishing clubs in your area.

For your 1st trip, try to pick an opportune weather day. Remember those blustering January Days will soon fade into mild February and spring-like March days which often provide some productive ice fishing of the season. Whatever day you decide to go, make sure you check the ice for safety.


Hole Cutting Of The Ice

Getting through the ice is not that hard. There are various tools available to make this “necessary task” fairly simple. One of the simplest is an old-fashioned “speed” bar that your grandfather may have used on his fishing trips. Spuds are often the cheapest way to cut through the ice and is good for ice up to about a foot thick.

Hand-powered augers, which are a little more expensive than the spud bar, are easy to operate. Try to purchase an auger appropriate for the species you are fishing for. Anglers fishing for pan fish, such as yellow perch or sunfish would favor ice augers 4″, 5″ and 6″ in diameter because of their lightweight and the speed they bore through the ice.

Then the Angler, when fishing for the larger fish such as trout, lake trout, landlocked salmon and northern pike, frequently prefer an ice auger which will make a larger hole. Just remember, cutting an 8″ hole requires the removal of twice as much ice as a 6″ hole, so do not buy an auger much bigger then you need.

They also sell a gas powered auger for more extreme ice conditions, but remember you will be sacrificing weight and portability. Power augers can come in diameters of 10″ and the size of the hole makes little difference in the speed or difficulty of cutting the hole.


Methods Used For Ice Fishing

A lot of ice fishing methods include “jigging” with a short, light fishing rod and using tip ups. There are many different kinds of jigging poles and tip ups. Much of the equipment can be easily made. Jigging involves the use of a jigging rod or hand line and a small jigging spoon or lure which is often used with a piece of bait.

The jig is designed to dart around in different directions. The tip up is basically a spool on a stick holding a baited line suspended through a hole in the ice. When a fish grabs the bait (or lure) it releases a signal, such as a red flag. Clothing also is very important, you have to be prepared for almost anything. Dress warmly, paying extra attention to your head, feet and hands. Dress in layers.


Ice Safety

The #1 consideration is SAFE ICE. A minimum of 3 to 4 inches of solid ice is usually the general rule. Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water. Each county in each state may have their own regulations. Two inches or less you are not allowed on the ice. Once you have 4″, you can ice fish or have other activities on foot.

Remember your own good judgment is essential since ice thickness will vary on a lake. So check the ice periodically to stay safe. Be especially alert in area’s near shore, over bodies of water and on lakes or ponds where streams enter or exit.


Fishing Regulations

Review the ice fishing regulations, so you know where you can fish, how many lines are permitted and information about Ice Shanties. Each county has its own regulations, so check first.

Eskimo Quickfish 3i Pop-up Portable Ice Shelter

This shelter is made for 3 people to sit and fish comfortably. The removable window panels, were you can adjust the shelters’ ventilation because it comes with detachable hook and loop windows. While having a hub design that makes setup and take down quick and easy. It only takes about 60 seconds to set up.

Being fully insulated, it is 35% warmer than a comparable non-insulated shelter. While being portable, everything fits into a cinch duffle bag that can easily be carried on your back. Having an extra long skirt around the whole bottom to eliminate drafts and keep the elements out.

An insulated shelter would be 34 pounds, and the non-insulated shelter would be 26 pounds.


In Conclusion

The most important thing when Ice Fishing is to be safe on the ice. Always try to go with a friend so you are never alone. An exciting experience and having a good time can be invigorating when on the ice. So stay happy, healthy and most of all have a good time. Hoping you all catch the big ones, on all your trips. Ice or no Ice.


About The Author

Hi! I’m Bill. As a retired Electrician, I had been always looking for a Work At Home Business. I am blogging on Sneakers, Outdoor Sports and Security Cameras and of course Wealthy Affiliate. My passion is to connect with others creating an income by running a successful business online. If you would like my help to take your business to the next level, lets get started now.

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6 thoughts on “Ice Fishing”

  1. minhaj ahmed says:

    Hi Bill

    I was just watching a YouTube video on this subject (I don’t know I got there, I was viewing videos on Whale watching and I ended up on Ice fishing). I do sometimes fish my self but have never been ice fishing, I will be honest with you, I enjoyed watching the videos and reading this article but I think ice fishing will be no good for my anxiety, I’ll be in constant fear that the ice will break beneath me. Do go ice fishing on a regular basis? and how cold is the water beneath the ice?

    1. Bill says:

      Hello Minhaj;
      First of all you have to make sure the ice is safe enough to go on. Then you should really have a friend with you. It is suppose to be a relaxing sport, as long as you are dressed correctly, have a shelter, and a heater. It wouldn’t matter what the water temp would be, it would be very cold. Wishing you all the best.


  2. Sean says:

    This is a very interesting interesting article, saying as I live in the south. It usually doesn’t get cold enough for any bodies of water to naturally freeze down here. And I always wondered how everything was set up for ice fishing. Now I know.

    But down here…if you really wanted to fish in the cold, you can just drop in your bass boat and go to town. I mean, my dad was test driving a boat on 2-11-1978 (I know because my mother was in labor with me at the time-it’s a running “joke” in the family on my birthday).

    Anyway, great article. And keep doing what your doing Bill.

    1. Bill says:

      Hello Sean;
      I guess since you live in the south, you can not go ice fishing. If you ever have the urge to go, just look me up and we can take a trip to the great waters in upper NY. Wishing you all the best.


  3. FelixC says:

    Very interesting article I have never gone to ice fishing because I live in Central America but I have gone to rivers, sea and lakes and it is relaxing activity I would like to try ice fishing and some day I will thanks for this info

    1. Bill says:

      Hello Felix;
      I did not realize you lived in Central America. If you ever come to NY during the winter, just let me know. I will see if I can help us go for some ice fishing. Do you fish in the rivers and lakes where you are? Ice Fishing:

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