Ice Fishing Basics
No ice is safe ice! Ice thickness varies across a lake. Avoid areas where there is flow (feeder streams and springs) or in-water obstructions (bridge pilings, docks and dam structures), since ice is usually thinner around these objects.
Always fish with a partner or in an area where several other anglers are present.
Let others know exactly where you are going and when you plan to return.
Place a cell phone in a plastic bag to protect it from moisture in case you get wet.
Always take along a throw cushion or wear a personal flotation device in case of immersion.
Ice-fishing is a cool sport
The glare of the sun, the solitude and fresh fish at the end of the day bring fishing enthusiasts to area lakes as temperatures stay below freezing for several days or weeks at a time.
Ice-angling is not just for the pro.
One of the great things about ice fishing is that tackle can be very simple and inexpensive. Short rods, light gear, light line and small baits are all that are needed for a good day of winter fishing.
Jim Bakalar of Poland has been ice-fishing for years.
He baits another hook, after pulling up a decent-sized crappie from Mosquito Lake.
“This is the perfect cure for cabin fever; a few hours of fishing, and you have dinner and feel refreshed,” he said as he sat in his single-man hut.
John Walczak of Campbell thinks there is nothing better as he sits in his two-man ice-fishing shelter. Walczak is old-school and fishes without gloves but usually ends up heating his hands over the lantern in between pulling fish out of the lake.
Walczak has gotten ice-fishing down to a science, making his own lures and rod and reel, even going a step further and sanding down the rod so the lightest tug can be noticed.
Both men agree that the secret for a good day of fishing is using several holes in the ice and changing bait often.
Sitting quietly baiting a hook, Walczak grabs his line and starts to reel in what he hopes is a decent-sized fish, when he realizes the reel and line have frozen. A quick fix of blowing hot air on the reel in his cupped hands, and he is back in business.
The solitude and nature are what draws them to ice-fish, and bringing home some fresh-caught dinner is icing on the cake.