Miscellaneous > Ice Fishing FAQ

Just getting my start.

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Hello, everyone.  Not exactly sure where (or if) most people introduce themselves, but I'm Tommy, I wanted to take a moment to thank this community for being such a cool resource for me.

I decided to jump in (hopefully not literally!) with both feet about a month ago, and this site has made learning the very basics a breeze.  YouTube was also pretty helpful with what I haven't been able to exactly visualize, but far and away, searching on here has been the absolute best "recruiter" ice fishing has on the internet.  You guys seem to have a blast, and my brother and I have been chomping at the bit for a while, now.

So, now that I have my tip-ups rigged, auger, spud and safety equipment in hand, I'd like to ask... If you assume I've been reading a lot on here, and have the VERY basic equipment and safety knowledge down pat (in theory, at least), what would you tell me as a first-timer that I might not have found in in all the "help-me-i'm-new" threads?  Even if it's something silly, or not really a big deal, or just something you wish someone told you before you went out the first time, I'm interested in your last minute sage wisdom.

Thanks in advance,

Welcome to the Shanty :tipup:

Welcome! Youíre off to a good start by joining the site.

#2 Dress warm and try to go with an experienced ice angler!

Wet things in temperatures below 32* freeze. Sometimes itís water on your line. Sometimes itís your gloves. Sometimes itís your tipiups in the hole. Sometimes itís your sled or shack. The list goes on. I know that seems obvious but I believe many of us seem to not think about it until something is frozen to the lake or your gloves are rock solid.

Another thing is make sure you read and understand ALL local and state regulations pertaining to the waters you fish. Species limit numbers, season dates (so you donít keep out of season fish), regulations like the number of lines and hooks (<óó-big one, itís usually different from state to state). Some guys donít think much about laws and regulations and get upset when people try to tell them that what they are talking about is unlawful. Itís guys like that that ruin the sport for the rest of us. Which leads me to my next tip... donít listen to those guys. As an angler, itís our responsibility to abide by the regulations. We literally pay for those regulations when we purchase our fishing license.

Next, garbage in - garbage out. Donít leave the ice a mess (bait is ok, dead minnows and such, but not bait containers). Bring a small receptacle to store youíre garbage.

Bring a pair of hemostats for hook removal and if you are fishing pike they make jaw spreaders for real cheap and they come in very handy (a necessity in my opinion, I wonít tipup fish without them).

Make a checklist of gear the night before to bring out with you on the ice. You will soon learn how easy it is to forget stuff, especially when packing light. I always seem to forget my scoop or my cleats....

Give yourself enough time to safely get off the ice whether that be late ice when ice can melt quickly in the warm wind or if itís dark and you need light to see.

Always bring a light source. A flashlight, headlamp, lantern. Something. A cell phone light even works in an emergency.

Be gentle with your auger. Donít bang the blades onto the ice. Donít lend it out either. Other people ALWAYS have a knack for screwing up your auger blades... Youíre brother would probably be ok especially if he is learning too. REMEMEBER... even if an auger blade is too dull to cut the smallest amount of ice, it is still plenty sharp enough to cut your finger off. Respect your auger blades. You could literally kill someone with them if you were hapahazard enough. Razors.

Invest in quality gear. Whatever your price range is. Whatever the gear is. Shop around a bit, read some reviews, and find a deal. Then, learn how to properly use it. A $10 dollar item that you know inside and out will benefit you more than a similar $100 item that does the same things.

If youíre pulling a sled, put a long pull rope on it. Like at least 6í-8í. Not only does it make it easier to drag, it distributes your total weight load (you + gear) more across the ice.

When on early and late ice (and thinner ice in general), when not alone, walk single file with the leader using a spud bar to check ice thickness (if alone, you are the leader, bring a spud). Not only does it distribute your groups total weight (a few guys fully loaded with gear can easily push 1000 pounds no problem), it makes sure that everyone in your group is traveling on safe ice. If it held the first guy, chances are extremely likely it will hold the remaining line of guys. Spud in front of where you want to walk, not at your feet. If you are spudding the ice you are directly standing on, that defeats the purpose of the tool. You want to know when ice is unsafe BEFORE you step on it. Not after, rendering your spud useless and your day ruined or worse... This paragraph applies to all ice anglers, amateur to professional. We seem to lose a few legitimate Ice experts a year the last few years the way the ice seasons have been unseasonably warm.

Thatís all I can think of off the top of my head and Iím sure I covered some things youíve read up on and are prepared for. Hopefully, more will chime in soon. Good luck this season and stay safe guys!

P Meyette:
welcome  and i hope you enjoy very good infromation to be gotten from here enjoy like i do

Thanks for all the thoughts.  Although I don't have a sled, yet, if I do start using one, I'll remember the long rope length... never thought about that.  I'll keep in mind about spudding far out in front of where I'm walking, too.  I should definitely do the checklist, too.  It amazes me what I'm capable of forgetting.  And holy cow, that auger blade is sharper than I thought!  I knew in the back of my mind that it was sharp, but went and took a closer look after I read your comments, and that sucker ain't no joke.


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