Five Ice Fishing Tips for Beginners


The holidays are over but, for most of us in the north, we are still walking in a winter wonderland every time we step outside. The lake might be frozen and the boat might be put away, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still go fishing! Ice fishing can be just as relaxing and rewarding as its summertime counterpart. Here are a few tips to help beginners pull some lunkers through the ice:

1. Do your research

There are a few things you should research before drilling a hole in the lake and dropping a line. First and foremost, ensure that the ice is thick enough to safely stand and fish on. When it comes to techniques and tactics, not only should you take into consideration the color of your jig (should you be using artificial as opposed to live bait), the depth of the water where you decide to fish also matters. If you are fishing for pan fish, shallow water is where you should be fishing; however, if you are after a bigger catch, you will have to fish in deep water. A good sonar depth finder is a necessity.

2. Cover the hole

Once you find the right spot on the lake and use your auger to drill, be sure to leave some chunks of ice in the hole. If you clean out all the ice, it allows light to penetrate the depths of the water which will discourage fish from coming around. Leave some ice in to stop the light from getting to the fish.

3. Chum your spot

Whether you are using live bait or artificial lures, you should be chumming your hole to attract the fish to your location. Cut up fish, egg shells, glitter and fish attractant, dead minnows, bread, etc. can all be effective. Experiment and use what works best for you.

4. Use a bobber

Fish are less active and less energetic during the winter months, so they probably won’t hit your line as hard as they do during the summer. Using a bobber will help you know when to set the hook and keep your bait at the exact depth you want it.

5. Have fun!

Whether you are at a friend’s ice fishing cabin or roughing it out in the open, ice fishing is a rite of passage for many and provides great memories with friends and families. As long as you dress appropriately and put safety first, fishing is enjoyable any season of the year!

Do you have any tips that we forgot to post here? Let us know in the comments below!