for Storing Your Ice Fishing Gear
By Tim Allard*
It can be tough to focus on properly putting away your ice fishing
gear with open-water fast approaching, but an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure. Here's a quick checklist of things to do so
your winter gear will be in top shape and ready when next winter
Put it on Paper
Keep a notebook handy to audit your gear as you store it.
Jot down a list of tackle and equipment in need repair or
replacement. Update the document during the off-season as you take
care of these angling errands. Also record any maintenance you do so
you won't be left guessing about tasks next year.
Overhaul Your Auger
Check your auger for damage. Now's the best time to get
repairs done and buy replacement parts, such as blades. If all's in
order, carefully dry blades with a towel and lightly coat them with
oil or a water-displacing lubricant to prevent rusting.
For gas-powered augers, follow the manual's maintenance schedule.
Clean and replace parts, like air filters, as recommended. Most
companies advise adding fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel gum deposits
during storage. Run the engine for 10 minutes to allow treated fuel
to reach the carburetor. Cover the power head on gas augers to keep
dust and dirt out of the engine. Store the auger in a safe place
where it won't get knocked over.
Remove batteries from handheld GPS units, 2-way radios,
headlamps and flashlights before long-term storage to prevent
leakage. Disconnect the battery to your portable sonar. Be sure to
charge it a few times between spring an autumn to keep its level
topped up. Carefully inspect all wires on your sonar unit its
transducer for cuts, kinks and other damage, replacing worn parts.
Clean the unit before storing.
Set up your shelter and allow its tent fabric to completely
dry to prevent mildew and mould from settling in over summer. Empty
all of its contents. Inspect it for damage and tighten loose
connections on the frame. Store your ice hut in a pest-free zone.
Check on it periodically too as I've heard plenty of stories about
rodents ruining tent fabric from chewing or nesting in it during
Rods and Reels
Take time to de-clutter these important items. Store
underwater tip-ups in a cool place and lay them horizontally.
Vertical storage may cause low-temp lubricant to leak out.
Loosen reel drags to prevent damaging washers. You may also want to
strip off old line now to reduce spooling time next season. Make
note of any damaged rods; replace or repair as needed.
Open tackle trays and let them dry thoroughly to prevent
rusting. Inventory and organize each, returning lures and terminal
tackle to their designated compartments. Remove any line or
soft-bait left on lures. Replace worn and damaged hooks as well.
After airing out trays I assemble them in a larger tote so all my
baits are in one place. This eliminates any guesswork about bait
whereabouts come first ice.
Don't neglect your ice fishing wear. Air out garments and
empty pockets. Ice can be hard on angling attire so inspect your
swag. Sew up any tears and replace worn-out items. Pay attention to
your boots. Apply regenerating products to leather and other
materials as needed. Boot insoles also may have thinned from use.
Replace with new, thicker ones for better thermal insulation come
*Tim Allard of Ottawa, Ontario is a hard-water expert and
author-photographer of the newly released book, Ice Fishing: The
Ultimate Guide. For information visit:
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