Ice Fishing 101 – Gear, Techniques & Safety Tips with Wyoming game and fish department and my724outdoors.com!
Learn how to ice fish with this ice fishing 101 video. We show everything a beginner needs in order to get started ice fishing. From how to ice fish safely to what to pack, this video is a good place to start if you’re new to ice fishing.
Ice fishing gear is highly specialized. An ice saw, ice auger or chisel is used to cut a circular or rectangular hole in the ice. The size of the hole depends on the type of fish sought, generally suggested is 8 inches (20 cm). Power augers are sometimes used. If these tools are not available, an axe may be used to chop the hole. A skimmer, a large metal spoon with holes in it, is used to remove new ice as it forms and to clear slush left from making the hole. During colder periods most ice anglers choose to carry a heater of some type. The heater is not only for warmth but also for keeping an angler’s fishing hole from freezing. When temperatures fall to -20 °F (-29 °C) or colder it becomes very hard to keep a fishing hole open.
Three main types of fishing occur. The first is using a small, light fishing rod with small, brightly coloured lures or jigs with bait such as wax worms, fat heads or crappie or shiner minnows. The angler sits at the hole in the ice and lifts the pole every now and then, producing the jig effect.An ice fisher cuts a hole into the ice with an ice saw. An ice auger and snow shovel is visible in the foreground.
The second is using tip-ups, which are made of wood or plastic, and have a spool of line attached, with a thin piece of metal that goes from the spool to the flag. Black line is put on the spool and a swivel is placed at the end of the black line. Then a piece of fishing line with a hook is attached to the swivel. Worms, power bait, grub worms or small minnows are placed on the hook. The hook with bait is placed into the water under the ice. The depth that the bait is placed goes according to several theories. One theory is the bait is placed one meter under the ice. The second is that the bait is placed two to three metres under the ice. The third is that the bait is suspended one foot (30 cm) above the bottom of the lake. When the fish strikes the bait the flag is lifted which notifies the angler that a fish is on the hook. The angler pulls the line in and the fish fights. The angler will allow the line to slip through their hands during the struggle. Finally, when the angler can get the fish’s head into the hole in the ice, the fish is quickly lifted onto the ice. This allows for less-intensive fishing.
The third method is spear fishing. A large hole is cut in the ice and fish decoys may be deployed. The angler sits in a dark ice shanty called a dark house. The angler then peers into the water while holding a large spear which has four or five points. A line can be attached to the points. The fisher waits for fish to appear, then plunges the spear into the water. This method is often used for lake sturgeon fishing. In the United States many states allow only rough fish to be taken while spear fishing.
Becoming increasingly popular is the use of a flasher, similar to its summer cousin the fishfinder . This is a sonar system that provides depth information, as well as indicating the presence of fish or other objects. These flashers, unlike most typical fishfinders, display the movement of fish and other objects almost instantaneously. The bait being used can often be seen as a mark on the flasher, enabling the angler to position the bait right in front of the fish. Underwater cameras are also now available which allow the user to view the fish and observe their reaction to the lure presentation.
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