Ice fishing is practice of fishing fish with lines and hooks or spears through the holes in the ice on frozen water (sea, lakes, rivers etc.). It is increasing in popularity, especially in far and remote areas.
Ice fishing has changed dramatically in recent times - modern ice fishing include battery operated sonars for finding the game fish, portable shelters for short or long time protection from bad weather, powered augers and saws for fast hole drilling, small but durable rods, strong lines even during very low temperatures etc.
Ice Thickness for Ice Fishing
Recommended ice thickness vary due to various reasons, like strong currents under ice, ice breaking due to strong winds etc. However, rule of thumbs thicknesses:
- walking - 4 inches (10 cm), although some anglers will walk on thinner ice, but that is not recommended,
- sleds and snowmobiles - 5–6 inches (13–15 cm),
- light cars - 7–12 inches (18–30 cm),
- trucks - 14–16 inches (36–41 cm).
Ice Fishing Equipment
Ice fishing equipment is very important for modern ice fishing. It helps achieve desired goal - catch a fish and enjoy time spent fishing. Ice fishing equipment can be pricy, but that price tag is often difference between successful fishing and returning home empty handed. If you are going for a fishing trip in remote area, expense of good ice fishing equipment is going to be just a small fraction of total costs.
Ice Fishing Rods and Reels
Ice fishing rods and reels are expected to operate properly under extreme conditions - wet during very low temperatures. Rods must be capable to stay strong and elastic - some rods may become very brittle and can shatter to pieces when under load. Reels must operate even when there is water dripping on them and freezing into solid ice - get a nice reel and be sure that it is assembled properly with proper winter seals. Otherwise, reels can stop to operate normally (high resistance) or can stop to operate entirely (frozen totally).
Ice Fishing Fish Finder
Fish finders for ice fishing have many features and one needs some time to practice operating these units. Their size varies from pocket sized, battery operated units to professional (practically military grade) units with features like:
- automatic bottom lock zoom,
- automatic interference rejection,
- smart power units with automatic regulation,
- large, multicolor screens,
- fish alarms,
- jiggle detection,
Before buying any of these units, be sure to check manuals and comments of people that bought such model before you - this can save you plenty of time and money.
Ice Fishing Shelter
Ice fishing shelter (also known as ice shanty, ice house, ice shack, fishing shanty, ice hut, darkhouse etc.) provides protection from bad weather. It is positioned on frozen surface. Fishing shelter can be one to two persons portable unit that provides protection from wind or even heated 7x14 feet (2x4 m) unit for longer fishing trips. Of course, when heating units are used, one must take care not to weaken ice - you don't want to wake up in the middle of the night swimming in freezing water - not the healthiest thing to do :o)
Ice Fishing Gloves
Ice fishing gloves must protect hands and fingers from cold wind, very cold water and must be waterproof. Such gloves are usually made from neoprene (waterproof, durability) and are fleece lined inside (additional warmth).
Similar request are simply a must for ice fishing clothes and footwear.
Ice Fishing Augers and Saws
Ice fishing augers and saws are usually power operated tools that make it very easy to make new fishing holes. Manual tools are also used, but for smaller holes in thinner ice. If you are going for a ice fishing trip with a group, usually one powered auger or saw with few smaller axes in all that is needed.
Other equipment is also needed or at least can be helpful: underwater fishing lights, skin protection creams, fishing hooks and spears, water/tea bottles, heaters etc.
Note: Ice fishing can be great adventure, just be aware of your environment ... If someone gets into the freezing water, immediately get that person out of water, take all of the wet clothes off, put dry clothes on, drink some warm liquid (not hot!) and warm that person (with some fuel heater or make a fire). Putting dry blanket on wet clothes will not warm that person - this works only in movies.