10 Pre-Ice Fishing
By Tim Allard
autumn coming to a close, ice fishing season is just around the
corner. Now's the time to audit your gear and make sure your
organized for first ice action. To help you get ready, here's a list
of 10 things I do to get ready for the hard-water.
up your batteries
It's recommended that during storage in the off season, you
periodically charge batteries used in flashers and underwater camera
systems. If you've been neglecting your batteries, charge them right
away. While you're at it, give your electronics an overhaul and make
sure everything is in working order. Without these tools you'll be
your auger an overhaul
Whether you use a manual or a gas-powered auger, give it an overhaul
before the ice hits, checking blades and tightening screws. For a
power auger, start it up, make sure you've got a spare spark plug
and enough oil for the season. If there's anything wrong with your
gas auger get it serviced right away by an authorized dealer.
up the shelter
It's a good idea to check your portable shelter and get it out of
storage to make sure everything is in working order. Things that you
might have forgotten about since your last outing (like a tear in
the material) or storage surprises (like mice nesting in the unit)
are problems to be dealt before your first ice trip of the season.
Simply assemble the hut and check for tears in fabric, tighten bolts
and nuts, ensure the tow rope is ok, and so on.
4. Get your
Take some time to ponder your past trips and stock up on items
you need for ice fishing. Here are a few suggestions: a headlamp
with fresh batteries, a thermos, a warmer pair of boots, a new ice
scoop, a minnow bucket and net, a tackle storage bag and see-through
plastic tackle boxes.
5. Get your
safety gear in order
Don't neglect your safety gear. Make sure you've got ice picks, a
throw line, a 2-way radio batteries with fresh batteries, a first
aid kit, and a bag of spare clothes in case you get wet.
With open water season still here take the time to investigate some
lakes you plan on ice fishing. Mark good-looking spots in your GPS
or on a hydrographic map and pay close attention to where there are
still healthy weeds; these spots are prime at first ice.
Did you bust a rod last year that you haven't replaced yet? Well
now's the time to carefully inspect all your fishing rods, replacing
any broken ones and adding to your collection. Also, to keep your
rods organized and protected consider buying a rod carrying case,
like HT's Rod Locker or Tackle Tote.
8. Spool up
Put some fresh line on your reels. Remember to first put a layer of
mono backing on if using braid. You might also want to lube reels up
with a cold temperature grease.
9. Get your
Hopefully you didn't store tip-ups in the heat over the summer. If
so, and you're using underwater models, they might have leaked
grease and will need to be lubricated. Also, check that you've got
enough line on the spools.
and overhaul your tackle.
Go through your tackle and make a list of what's missing (do you
have enough lures as well as terminal tackle). Stock up on these
items now before tackle shops run short once ice season is in full
swing. Once you've got your tackle, get it ready by popping paint
out of lure eyes, sharpening hooks, and organizing it in storage
These are just
10 things you can do to be better prepared for the beginning of ice
season this year. Take some time now to get organized, and have a
great hard-water season this year.
by Tim Allard