Author Topic: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing  (Read 2731 times)

Offline thinblueline

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Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« on: Mar 11, 2021, 12:31 PM »
I am just now turning 50 years old and I have never ice fished. Iíve been a fisherman my whole life but never on ice, even though Iíve lived a half hour south of Green Bay for the past 18 years. I have zero equipment for the sport, and I know if I ever got into it,  Iíd have to have the latest and greatest in rod and reel outfits, auger, electronics, clothing, etc... Iím really debating if I should just leave the sport alone to avoid pouring that kind of money into another hobby. I hope to retire in about four years, and thereís a part of me that thinks if I really get the fishing bug in winter, Iíll head south to find open water. I also donít have an ATV or snowmobile, and Iíve had some knee and ankle surgeries that will make long distances across snow covered frozen lakes a bit of a pain. Iíd be curious to know how many of you ice fish just to pass the winter blues, and how many do it because they love it more than most other outdoor activities. Iíd also be curious how many of you still love doing it after you have passed the half century mark, and how long you plan on going with this sport.

Offline ICEHOLE

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #1 on: Mar 11, 2021, 12:37 PM »
I am just now turning 50 years old and I have never ice fished. Iíve been a fisherman my whole life but never on ice, even though Iíve lived a half hour south of Green Bay for the past 18 years. I have zero equipment for the sport, and I know if I ever got into it,  Iíd have to have the latest and greatest in rod and reel outfits, auger, electronics, clothing, etc... Iím really debating if I should just leave the sport alone to avoid pouring that kind of money into another hobby. I hope to retire in about four years, and thereís a part of me that thinks if I really get the fishing bug in winter, Iíll head south to find open water. I also donít have an ATV or snowmobile, and Iíve had some knee and ankle surgeries that will make long distances across snow covered frozen lakes a bit of a pain. Iíd be curious to know how many of you ice fish just to pass the winter blues, and how many do it because they love it more than most other outdoor activities. Iíd also be curious how many of you still love doing it after you have passed the half century mark, and how long you plan on going with this sport.

Do you like the cold?
Do you like spending money?
Do you have space for the extra gear?
Are you willing to be outside of your comfort zone once in a while?
Do your feet sweat?
Wife?
Do you have muscles or a machine?
Ok with spilling your coffee before you make it to the ice?

there are more but i gotta get back to work!

i suggest link up with someone who does it regularly and hang out a few times before making the plunge...but you are asking ice fisherman if you should ice fish  ???

Offline GOTICE?

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #2 on: Mar 11, 2021, 12:45 PM »
Like they say, How do you get a million dollars ice fishing? Start with two million.
No its not that bad, but yes it can add up pretty quick if you let it. I love ice fishing better than soft water fishing but living in Columbus Ohio our season is short.
 I would suggest if you take it up to start small and work your way up. I started with two schooley rods and a bucket. I would fish open holes other people had left because I didn't have an auger. Now I have 5 shanties, dozens of rods, vexilar and three augers.
I am 59 years old and still walk everywhere I fish with the exception of Erie. When you go out 5-6 miles a sled is a must have. As I stated start small before you go all in.

Offline PikeKing23

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #3 on: Mar 11, 2021, 12:56 PM »
One "trip" south to find open water in the winter would probably cover a great basic setup.  A couple thousand on beginner level ice gear would go a long way.  You don't have to walk far to get going.  A machine can come later.

Offline primepin65

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #4 on: Mar 11, 2021, 01:04 PM »
Hey there! Welcome to the site! I'm sure if you spend some time browsing all of the different sub-forums, you'll find a wealth of knowledge about the sport to get you up to speed on how things go.

As far as starting to ice fish at 50, I don't believe that it is too late for you! I'm not familiar at all with the Green Bay area for ice fishing as I'm from the Finger Lakes region of New York, but I'm sure there are tons of places that you could fish with short walks from the parking lot. You could also make a post on the Wisconsin sub-forum to find a fishing partner that would be willing to take you out and bring you back on the bigger bodies of water. For gear, I would start out by looking for mostly used equipment like an auger, flasher, and shanty. Most areas that have decent ice fishing have tons of posts on facebook marketplace, craigslist, garage sales, and local fishing forums for used equipment that you could deck yourself out for a fair price. I personally wouldn't start out buying used rods/reels unless you are an avid open-water guy and know what to look for on an abused rod/reel. You can get used jigs/lures on marketplace as well. I would guess that you could get fully loaded on gear for less than $1000 if you're willing to do some leg work online.

Personally, I prefer ice fishing to open water anymore since I don't have a boat. Winters where I live are inconsistent and ice varies greatly from year to year. I've been ice fishing for 16 years and have no plans to ever give it up.
"The mountain without is merely a crutch to help us deal with the mountain within."

Offline MumbleSEED

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #5 on: Mar 11, 2021, 01:13 PM »
Been a member since 2010 and this is your 3rd post?  Thinking about getting into it now?  I'd say what are you waiting for?
If only God would come down in the form of a man and explain everything to us.

I know a Guy who walked on water and it wasn't frozen.

Look at where Jesus went to pick people. He didnít go to collegesÖ he got guys off the fishing docks.

Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #6 on: Mar 11, 2021, 01:19 PM »
Hey there! Welcome to the site! I'm sure if you spend some time browsing all of the different sub-forums, you'll find a wealth of knowledge about the sport to get you up to speed on how things go.

As far as starting to ice fish at 50, I don't believe that it is too late for you! I'm not familiar at all with the Green Bay area for ice fishing as I'm from the Finger Lakes region of New York, but I'm sure there are tons of places that you could fish with short walks from the parking lot. You could also make a post on the Wisconsin sub-forum to find a fishing partner that would be willing to take you out and bring you back on the bigger bodies of water. For gear, I would start out by looking for mostly used equipment like an auger, flasher, and shanty. Most areas that have decent ice fishing have tons of posts on facebook marketplace, craigslist, garage sales, and local fishing forums for used equipment that you could deck yourself out for a fair price. I personally wouldn't start out buying used rods/reels unless you are an avid open-water guy and know what to look for on an abused rod/reel. You can get used jigs/lures on marketplace as well. I would guess that you could get fully loaded on gear for less than $1000 if you're willing to do some leg work online.

Personally, I prefer ice fishing to open water anymore since I don't have a boat. Winters where I live are inconsistent and ice varies greatly from year to year. I've been ice fishing for 16 years and have no plans to ever give it up.

Agreed ..after this season I suspect some deals for used equipment..as the pandemic anglers give up the sport . I would start with the safety basics first ..cleats ...spud..and picks ...then some good warm clothing. A good Jet sled ..some basic gear ..tip ups..some simple jigging rods ..as for an auger ..lots of choices hand..gas/propane...electric..cordless drill . If you can find a buddy and/or a new friend that could show you the ropes for an outing or two to let you decide if this is a sport for you .
Give a man a fish he eats for a day .Teach a man to ice fish he has an obsession for a lifetime

Offline Walted

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #7 on: Mar 11, 2021, 01:53 PM »
Join date 2010? You have been thinking about this for a least 11 years. Might not be your thing.

Offline jrjach75

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #8 on: Mar 11, 2021, 02:06 PM »
It might be worth it to hire a guide for a day, or half day trip. That will give you a taste of what all equipment you might need, and a good guide would at least teach you some technique.

Offline FG Steve

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #9 on: Mar 11, 2021, 02:11 PM »
Iíd be curious to know how many of you ice fish just to pass the winter blues, and how many do it because they love it more than most other outdoor activities. Iíd also be curious how many of you still love doing it after you have passed the half century mark, and how long you plan on going with this sport.

I too am a soft water fisherman.  I am in my 50's and ice fish because I love it.  I plan to do it until I am physically unable.

I have the same all-or-nothing disease.  This will be a terrific retirement activity, but don't jump in without spousal support.  Not everyone is lucky like me to have married a fishing partner.
 Happiness is a wife who can outfish you.

Offline A man called horse

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #10 on: Mar 11, 2021, 02:21 PM »
You can ice fish successfully for almost nothing.
A hand line, warm clothes, a spud, a license which u already have. I seem to have more success when I hit the ice as a minimalist rather than taking all the toys.

Offline WALL E GATOR

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #11 on: Mar 11, 2021, 02:26 PM »
I never fished on the ice till I was about 48. We used to drive by going Steelhead fishing and laugh at the idiots sitting out there on the ice in the cold. Now I am one of them idiots. Like others said find someone to go with and see if you like it. I have about 10k in gear now including the SnowDog to pull it all out on the lake. I have more and more fun every time I go. Gave up Skiiing and Snowboarding, just to much for this ol' fat man. But I love to sit in the Flip or hole hop around the ice chasing fish. Gets me out in the Winter and for me that is about 80% of it, just get out n do something.
FISH ON! and Tight Lines

Offline thinblueline

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #12 on: Mar 11, 2021, 02:57 PM »
I joined this site years ago to start a little research but didnít post much cuz I didnít have anything to contribute. I think at the time I was remotely interested, thatís why I joined, but knowing my tendencies to go all in, I figured I better step away at that time. Now my kids are gone and Iím thinking I might want to get into it and get what I need before I find myself on a reduced retirement income. That should explain only three posts since 2010. Thanks for the commentary gents.

Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #13 on: Mar 11, 2021, 04:14 PM »
I joined this site years ago to start a little research but didnít post much cuz I didnít have anything to contribute. I think at the time I was remotely interested, thatís why I joined, but knowing my tendencies to go all in, I figured I better step away at that time. Now my kids are gone and Iím thinking I might want to get into it and get what I need before I find myself on a reduced retirement income. That should explain only three posts since 2010. Thanks for the commentary gents.

Be warned this sport can be addicting ..but it has many levels ...novice angler to super gadgets and gizmos angler ..any level can have great success in both fun and catches.
Give a man a fish he eats for a day .Teach a man to ice fish he has an obsession for a lifetime

Offline Tuma

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #14 on: Mar 11, 2021, 05:00 PM »
Go for it.  Now is a great time to find deals on used equipment.  If you get a fair deal you can resell it and get your money back if you donít like it.  Must haves would be cleats, picks, and warm clothes.  Then see if you can find someone to go with.  I much rather go with someone than by myself.  To start you donít need to buy the best rod money can buy.  You have no clue what you want to target or prestation you will be using.  Get a cheap set up until you fine tune what you want to do.   Itís all about having fun and getting out of the house.  You are never too old to try something new.
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Offline vanhln

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #15 on: Mar 11, 2021, 05:19 PM »
I joined this site years ago to start a little research but didnít post much cuz I didnít have anything to contribute. I think at the time I was remotely interested, thatís why I joined, but knowing my tendencies to go all in, I figured I better step away at that time. Now my kids are gone and Iím thinking I might want to get into it and get what I need before I find myself on a reduced retirement income. That should explain only three posts since 2010. Thanks for the commentary gents.

The first thing is, you need ice and Green Bay should give you that.  Like others have said, start small and see if you like it. 

I'm hooked...

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #16 on: Mar 11, 2021, 07:01 PM »
I could easily outfit myself with everything I use in a season for $1000. I dont use a sled or anything, I have enough headaches as it is. I stay warm and catch lots of fish, what more do I need.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Offline Walted

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #17 on: Mar 11, 2021, 07:17 PM »
I joined this site years ago to start a little research but didnít post much cuz I didnít have anything to contribute. I think at the time I was remotely interested, thatís why I joined, but knowing my tendencies to go all in, I figured I better step away at that time. Now my kids are gone and Iím thinking I might want to get into it and get what I need before I find myself on a reduced retirement income. That should explain only three posts since 2010. Thanks for the commentary gents.
Understood. Hope I didn't come across as a jerk. As others have said it doesn't cost much to give it a try. Especially since you are already an open water guy. You have everything you need to get started except a way to get through the ice. A hand auger can be purchased cheap and converted to a drill later if you so chose. One more thought is if you live near Green Bay and you are an open water fisherman then you must know someone who is an ice fisherman that would let you tag along. Good luck whatever you decide.

Offline fishsluggos

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #18 on: Mar 11, 2021, 07:27 PM »
I don't have to listen to the bride nag. And there's no bugs. Gotta go flagup  :tipup:

Offline thinblueline

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #19 on: Mar 11, 2021, 07:31 PM »
Understood. Hope I didn't come across as a jerk. As others have said it doesn't cost much to give it a try. Especially since you are already an open water guy. You have everything you need to get started except a way to get through the ice. A hand auger can be purchased cheap and converted to a drill later if you so chose. One more thought is if you live near Green Bay and you are an open water fisherman then you must know someone who is an ice fisherman that would let you tag along. Good luck whatever you decide.

Didnít take you for a jerk at all. Iíve got a pretty thick skin. Iíve probably been cussed out or threatened at least once a week on average, every week for nearly 29 years, so youíre gonna have to do more to offend me.

Offline bogtrotter

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #20 on: Mar 11, 2021, 08:42 PM »
Find a friend who ice fishes - - Go out with him (or her) a few times - - And see if you like it.

Offline Unclegillhunter

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #21 on: Mar 12, 2021, 05:29 AM »
Find a friend who ice fishes - - Go out with him (or her) a few times - - And see if you like it.
This is the way to go. someone who is in the sport will be able to cut the purchasing and learning curve way down. I am 67 and plan on doing it for the duration. one thing you should understand most of us started with one rod a hand auger and a bucket. we didn't go out and buy it all at once. I say go for it!
Keep it safe! JDL

Offline Roccus

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #22 on: Mar 12, 2021, 07:19 AM »
You can ice fish successfully for almost nothing.
A hand line, warm clothes, a spud, a license which u already have. I seem to have more success when I hit the ice as a minimalist rather than taking all the toys.
This is the best advise yet.. ice fishing can be as simplistic or as complex as we make it..
I was ice fishing  before you were born, simple gear,like a tip section of a fly rod with line holder taped on that was made from a coat hanger, axe and tire iron made the hole, a colander raided from the kitchen cleared the ice chips..bait was grubs found in golden rod pods and tipped an old tarnished Al's gold fish.. it can be that simple, obviously,  things have changed, we no longer have to stuff news paper in our boots for insulation,  clothing and quality gear can be had for a reasonable price..or.. you can make your own..no matter what you decide., a day out of the house in the clean crisp air will provide victim D and exercise and if you do catch a fish it will be a bonus..and you dont need to spend a fortune.
"A mans got to know his limitations"

Offline VTLakers

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #23 on: Mar 12, 2021, 08:14 AM »
Stop second guessing yourself and buy some cheaper stuff before you go all in to see if you like it. Then next year, go all out and buy all the toys and gadgets and brand new rods and reels you can afford, if you find a love for the sport like many of us have done. It can be the cheapest or most expensive sport you want to turn it into.

Offline Fish Farmer

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #24 on: Mar 12, 2021, 09:26 AM »
I am just now turning 50 years old and I have never ice fished. Iíve been a fisherman my whole life but never on ice, even though Iíve lived a half hour south of Green Bay for the past 18 years. I have zero equipment for the sport, and I know if I ever got into it,  Iíd have to have the latest and greatest in rod and reel outfits, auger, electronics, clothing, etc... Iím really debating if I should just leave the sport alone to avoid pouring that kind of money into another hobby. I hope to retire in about four years, and thereís a part of me that thinks if I really get the fishing bug in winter, Iíll head south to find open water. I also donít have an ATV or snowmobile, and Iíve had some knee and ankle surgeries that will make long distances across snow covered frozen lakes a bit of a pain. Iíd be curious to know how many of you ice fish just to pass the winter blues, and how many do it because they love it more than most other outdoor activities. Iíd also be curious how many of you still love doing it after you have passed the half century mark, and how long you plan on going with this sport.

I'm 51, I do it less now than I did when I was in my 20's when it was new water and new sport for me. Vermont winters can be long, but can also be short. If I'm able I'm open water fishing into December/January for steelhead/salmon I'll do it.

I walk where I can, but don't in heavy snow and I don't have a 4wd vehicle now so some spots can be off limits if access isn't plowed. I rarely tip up fish, mostly jig for panfish which can be found within easy walks.

Other than several augers and a used flip over, I still have the same bucket, jigging rods and cheap sled from many years ago. I have a boat fish finder which I can use of ice fishing if needed.

I'll continue to do it until the wife finds a way to pay our trips to Florida/Arizona in the wintertime when we retire.

Offline WALL E GATOR

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #25 on: Mar 12, 2021, 09:30 AM »
I started cheap. Hell I think my first time out I had a Kiddie pole, cause thats all I found on short notice. Maybe spent a couple hundred to be mostly outfitted , auger, scoop, schooley, n a better pole than that kiddie pole I started with. Now 5 years later I bought a SnowDog to Haul all my crap out on the ice and I have more fun every time I go. Wooohaaaa!
FISH ON! and Tight Lines

Offline Light liner

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #26 on: Mar 12, 2021, 09:46 AM »
Yes, more time on the water is always better.
Champlain
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Offline Roccus

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #27 on: Mar 12, 2021, 10:39 AM »
Yes, more time on the water is always better.
My Dad, always said that days spent fishing dont count against your time on earth..
"A mans got to know his limitations"

Offline Snitch#8

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #28 on: Mar 12, 2021, 11:13 AM »
I'm 63 and have been fishing for about 55 of them, both on the water and ice.  I live near Saginaw Bay where we have an abundance of walleye and perch.  There is also a good population of blue gills, crappies, bass both large and small mouth, pike, trout and a number of other species.  The reason I mention this is because Green Bay is pretty similar to what you can catch.  Yes, a machine to get out is essential, but not a must.  I have a bad heart and lungs and I still do a lot of ice fishing.  I get out on the shelf ice along shore during first and last ice.  This time of the year is a great time to find fish in the shallows.  I also have a quad for traveling great distances but that can wait.  Along with the shore ice, I'm pretty sure Green Bay has a number of marina's, cuts/ditches, rivers and other fish holding places along it's shore.  All of these are easily accessible to walking.  As stated above, start building your equipment now, before retiring.  But, you don't need it all at once.  You can find entry level flashers for about $250.  As far as I'm concerned a flasher is a must.  I have (2) walleye rods and two bluegill, crappie, perch rods.  I spent about $25 dollars for each rod.  As for the reels, I use in-line reels for bluegill fishing, each cost about $20 and I use the same reels I use for open water fishing for my walleye rods.  I just swap them from long pole to short one for ice fishing.  If you want to be comfortable in bad weather you will want a flip over shanty.  They can be had for a couple hundred bucks on Craig's list and at your local auction.  You will also need a good suit.  Your suit will most likely be the most expensive piece a gear you will buy.  Don't splurge.  A good one might run about $400.  As stated above start our slow and add to your collection every year.  One good place to check is the thread about "pay it forward" on here.  There are a lot of ice fishermen that have more equipment then they will ever use, who are more then happy to share.  I found it very rewarding when I gave my old jiffy auger to a fellow Vet.  If I were you I'd start with; a second hand suit to keep you warm, a flasher, a couple of poles, a spud-this is a must to check the ice and open a hole, a few jigs and a good pair of boots.  You most likely already have them and possibly a suit, so your ahead of the game.  Also like stated above, if you don't have friends to take you out to show you the ropes, there are a lot of guys and gals on here, who would be more then happy to help you get started.  As for how long I plan on ice fishing, I have three buddies that I ice fish with, who are in their mid-80's.  Some day, I hope to be doing the same!  Hopefully all the comments on here will guide you in the right direction.  And, welcome to the sport, you'll love it! 

Offline thinblueline

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Re: Should I Get Into Ice Fishing
« Reply #29 on: Mar 12, 2021, 12:40 PM »
Thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your comments and advice guys. Thank-you very much for taking the time to respond.

 



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