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Ice Fishing 101
Old 01-01-2009, 08:46 PM
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Default Ice Fishing 101

After reading Bowhunters questions in mountainmafias post, it dawned on me that not everyone has ice fished. Since I am rather familiar with the subject I thought I might post a little info on how to get started, you never know, maybe someone out there has been thinking about it but just did not know how to get started. I will list all the essential items a person would need to get going.
first you will need a way to make a hole though the ice!!! most common method in my parts is a gas powered auger.

the one in the picture is a jiffy. This one was my grandfathers and he gave it to me last year to use for the next generation. There are other brands and I am sure they are reliable. this jiffy is probably almost as old as I am and she is still making the holes. in the picture it is broken down and this is how we would transport it. when you get to the lake, the auger part slides right onto the motor and pin is slid in place and you you are ready to go. they also come with an extension in case there is some really thick ice. one of these will probably run about 300.00. if you are not looking to spend those kinda duckets, they make hand held ones. one you use one them in 2-3ft of ice, you will be ready to spend the 300.00 duckets!!!

Next, you will need some traps, or also called "flags" up here. here is one of mine all folded up and ready to take to the lake.

Now, not everyone uses these, in fact, it is quite common for people to use an actual pole. But up here we are allowed five holes a person and you cannot hold five poles, so we set these in the holes. here is one ready to go down the hole.

once I have my trap all ready to set in the hole, I take a weight and put it on the the hook and I sound out the bottom lake (I just keep dropping line until I do not feel the weight anymore) I have a button (like one on a shirt) that I put on my line when I put it on the real. I hold my button while my line is dropping so it will slip through the holes. once I find the bottom, I pull my button down 2-3 feet and reel the line up to the button. once I get a fish I can always reel my line back to where the button is and I am right back at the same depth. once I have the button set I pull up my line, take the weight off, and put on my bait. we almost always use live bait, smelts especially, but you bait may vary to what kind of fish you are taking. if you are using live bait you will want to set the hook right in front of the dorsal fin so the hook is perpendicular to the fish. failure to run your hook like this can result in a lot of stolen bait. once my bait is on, I put it in the hole and I let it drop down with my line until it is all down.
Now I set the flag on my trap and put it in the hole. the next picture has the flag in place.

this picture shows the reel and the how it trips the flag. you will notice a small piece protruding out of the side setting against another piece. when the reel turns it pushes the other piece away from it and thus removes the piece holding the flag allowing it to pop up.

A couple of other things you will need is a spoon and a small cooler. They make special spoons that are about 6 inches around with holes in it. they are for removing the slush after the hole is drilled and for maintenance while you are fishing. The small cooler will help you lug your bait around with you. you will want to take it to every flag, along with your spoon.

I start my holes a little ways off of shore and put them in a straight line, my last tap can be 150-250 yards away. this is why I use these particular traps, they have a nice tall flag. they sell all kinds of traps but most are junk and hardly hold any line. if you are going after big fish, you will want at least 150-200 yards of line on your reel and you will want at least 50 yards in between traps to let the fish run.
this will vary for certain places. here, we mainly fish brook trout, landlocked salmon, and lake trout (togue). this is why I have one to traps in by shore, they are set for brookies, middle ones salmon, and my last ones for togue. knowing your fish and what they eat will greatly increase your chances. for example, salmon and togue prefer smelts, but brook trout prefer shiners (where I fish anyways).

once your traps are all set, this is where the fun starts (or hopefully starts). all you have to do know is watch for flags. once I see a flag up, I grab my spoon and my bait and I walk on out. walking gives the fish a chance to swallow the bait. Fish don't attack the bait when you are ice fishing, at least if it is live bait, they put it in their mouth and swim away. if you get to your trap and the reel is still turning, WAIT. once the real quits turning the fish is dealing with the bait, hopefully swallowing it. let the line sit a few minutes and then take your trap out of the hole. grab the line in your hand and slowly bring it to you. once you feel resistance give the line a good snap and keep her coming. this sets the hook, and you don't want to given any slack. one the fish gets close to the hole and he sees the light, he will want to run. if this is a small fish, not a big deal, if it is a big one, you are going to need to let him tire himself out. you will use your fingers as a drag and let the line slip between your fingers with some resistance. once he quits running, start bringing in the line again. if he needs to run again, let'em. repeat until he is tired and you can position him to get him through the hole. I had to let a fish run for about 20 minutes one time, but it was well worth it. get his head straight in the hole and slowly bring him up. get the head on the ice and grab him and pull him up. wallah, you just got a fish. rebait and repeat!!!!

Ice fishing can vary from state to state. like I said, some people use a pole as we see in moutainmafia's post. rules are still the same, you need to let the run if they need to.
lots of things can make you successful, knowing the fish you are fishing, knowing the lake you are on and where the holes are. the fishing holes can vary greatly from summer to winter, at least here they do. As Paul stated before, food is harder to get in the winter.

These are just a few tips on equipment and how to work it. Most of you probably knew this so hope I did not bore anyone! if you are a first timer and this is your first year giving ice fishing a go, I wish you much success. God Bless.
Romans 12:2

2 Donít copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know Godís will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Last edited by davidlt89; 01-01-2009 at 09:58 PM..
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