Ice Fishing Tips for Both Beginners and Experienced

Fishing continues to be quite a popular hobby. Enthusiasts are eager to go fishing whenever they have some free time, and some spend the whole day doing nothing else.

There are all kinds of fishing. Most individuals do this when it is not too cold outside because sitting outdoors all day and freeze is not something for everyone.

On the other hand, certain part of fishing fans believes that nothing beats fishing in winter when there is ice and you can sit on the lake without having to worry about anything else.

Ice fishing is a bit different than regular fishing. If you want to find out more about it, make sure to continue reading this article.

Finding the Fish

First-timers might have a bit of a problem locating the fish. Luckily for them, they can make use of ice fishing finders. These devices have become quite popular recently.

Continue Moving

two people walking on ice

Following the point of locating the fish, if you are having problems, do not hesitate and just move on to the next spot. It is a very similar situation to one when you are fishing while on a boat or just sitting and casting the rod near a lake.

No bites mean that you need to change the location. It should not take too long to gather all your equipment and move.


While it should be obvious, you still hear stories about how people went ice fishing but drowned. The ice was too thin and they overestimated their abilities.

Before you walk on ice, make sure that it is thick enough to actually fish on. Otherwise, you risk your life for absolutely no reason. Even if you want to go ice fishing at all costs, risking your well-being is simply not worth it.

Ice Fishing Boots

That is right. You can improve your safety and comfort even more by purchasing special boots for ice fishing. Some would probably say that this is just frivolous spending but if you have a hobby that you really enjoy, there is no reason not to invest as much money as you want.

Follow the Law

If you are an avid fishing fan, you should be aware that there are certain regulations about fishing. Of course, it does depend on the country and its government. The bottom line is that you need to make sure not to break any because fines can be quite big.

Keep Up with Trends

New equipment and techniques

There are a lot of changes happening in the world of ice fishing at the moment. New equipment and techniques are introduced quite often. If you want to keep up with everything that is happening, make sure to follow the news on television and the internet. Or if you prefer, read magazines as those are still popular among fishing communities.

Be Prepared

You have definitely seen guys walking on ice and carrying a number of different roads ready to use them at moment’s notice.

Overdoing things is not something that will necessarily take you somewhere. Instead, try to think about the fish you are going to pursue, how deep you are planning to go, what kind of lure you will be using, and so on.

Coming with everything prepared beforehand is always recommended. You will thank your lucky stars when there is no need to make a switch during freezing conditions.

Pay Attention

Once you become more accustomed, you should start to feel the weight of the jig and lure and determine whether something changes, meaning that the fish is around it and wants to take a bite.

If you have problems with determining the weight, it may be that the lure is too light, or perhaps the line is too heavy. And do not forget about the weather.

Watch the Lines

Professionals will tell you that they know whether the fish took the bait by looking at their lines. Ice fishing is similar in that regard, though you will need to spend some time with it as it takes time to acquire such skills.

Do Not Jerk

Avoid sudden and sharp jerks when fishing. Consider the depth you are fishing in because the deeper you are fishing, the more stretch you will need. Experienced ice fishers will tell you that the best method to go with is a steady yet decisive upward lift.

Prime Time

Even in ice fishing, you can expect to get a better haul if you stick to prime time. Plenty of fish are at their peak when it is early morning or late afternoon. If this is the time you can go fishing, then, by all means, go for it. The early mornings are definitely the best choice, and not just in terms of catching more, but the fact that you would have the rest of your day free.

Ask Advice

If you are not the only one out there, be sure to approach other fishers and ask them for any advice that you might have. They should be more than happy to give you a hand and offer tips, even more so if they have been doing this for longer than you. Of course, do not expect to get every secret, but a bit of friendly advice certainly helps.

Have Fun

a man with a camera during sunrise on the ice

The most important thing is to remember that it is all about enjoying yourself and having as much fun as you can. If you feel like ice fishing is not for you, then do not struggle and move on to the next thing.

To sum everything up, if you are looking to go on an adventure and try ice fishing for the first time, things should be more clear after reading this article. Do not forget that first times are always tough, but once you gain more experience, you should be perfectly fine and be able to enjoy yourself much more.

What do you need for ice fishing?

Out of the many sports out there, ice fishing is one where you don’t want to go without proper gear. Not having what you need can lead to a dangerous and uncomfortable experience. Whether it’s the first time you go ice fishing for the first time or not, you should always be prepared when you embark on this incredible challenge. We know that the list of things you can bring for ice fishing is long, but we stick to the essentials this time.

Proper clothing& footwear

You don’t need to have years of experience in ice fishing to know that you will need warm clothing. Don’t you know how many layers to wear? Try as many as possible and then add one more. If you think that going outside your house will give you an idea of how cold it will be, you should think twice. The weather can freeze on the lake, especially if it’s windy. If there’s also some light snow coating the ice, it will blow up in your face. You don’t move a lot; your extremities tend to get cold quickly, so you will be freezing quicker than expected.

We recommend you dress for the coldest winter. Even if you bring some hand warmers, a heater, or an ice fishing shelter, you should still get some extra clothing to stay warm.

The best ice fishing lures

With ice fishing, you won’t be able to mimic live bait when it sits entirely still. Many ice anglers prefer using jigs. The best chance to aggravate the fish is to jig the lure up and down, especially when you don’t want to use live minnows.

Ice fishing rods and line

Many new ice anglers think that they can use the same rod that they have used all year for ice fishing. However, that’s a big “no-no” for ice fishing. The side of the regular rod is made for long and accurate casting, which is entirely useless with ice fishing.

You need a short and small radius rod to feel every bite you get. Be prepared not to get the same tug feeling and nibble you have when you fish open water because the lure won’t move much. As a result, the fish will nibble calmly without you even noticing it.

The most important difference between cold and warm water fishing is the line. If you leave a regular fishing line in the icy water for a long time, it will get brittle, and the fish will quickly go with your lure. However, the ice fishing line is braided and thicker than the regular line. You will be able to catch in close quarters and pull the line hand over hand. It’s a line that withstands cold weather very well.

Ice fishing rods and line

Ice Auger

The most efficient way to drill a hole in the ice is with an ice auger. There are many types of ice augers to select from, and you can have your pick between models to use by hand and models that are automatically gas-powered.

When you look for an ice auger, you should think about how often you want to ice fish and your budget. We recommend you opt for a gas-powered auger if you have a generous budget and like going ice fishing. A gas-powered model will put less strain on your part and you will drill your holes faster than with a manual model.

If you still need time to decide if you will regularly go ice fishing or not, you should use a hand auger. You can also use a drill insert auger that you put into a battery-powered hand drill.

Buckets and Sleds

Even if there are many ways to travel onto the ice, the sled is the most efficient and affordable method to pull your rods and tackle box. With ice fishing, you don’t know how far you will need to go and you don’t want to carry the large and heavy equipment by hand. You will have to walk a lot until you get to the right fishing spot most of the time.

We recommend you pack some buckets in the sled to carry your gear and catch. You can also use the bucket for sitting down while fishing. Don’t forget to have lids for the buckets so that you can sit on them with the fish inside.

Safety equipment

Irrespective of what you may believe, ice fishing is just as dangerous as fishing. However, you need to have adequate equipment and an action plan if things go south. Wear a life vest every time you go on the ice and a tape measure to see how thick the ice is. Even if you see other ice anglers on the ice, it doesn’t mean that you can go as well. Use common sense and the facts about ice thickness.

  • Less than 4 inches- don’t fish
  • 4-6 inches- go carefully and check the thickness as you move
  • 6-8 inches- the ice is safe for you and other ice anglers
  • 8inches and up-you can even drive on the ice with a vehicle

If you fish a state lake, you can benefit from maps to help you discover your location. It’s relatively easy to get lost and disoriented on the ice. Always go with an experienced ice angler if this is the first time you go ice fishing. Also, always inform friends and family members about where you are going.


Even if you don’t need a fish finder for regular fishing, you will need one with ice fishing. You don’t have the same key points to check out as you do when the water is warm. Experienced anglers know that fish like weeds and stumps, but how do you find them when everything around is frozen?

The fish finder informs you about the water’s depth, temperature, and graphic images of the fish location. It will confirm if you fish in the correct area or you need to find a new fishing spot. In cold weather, fish like steep drop-offs in the base of the lake.

Heat and ice shelter

Having heat is nice when ice fishing, even if you don’t have an ice shelter. You can use a gas heater hand warmers for your hands. As for ice shelter, some consider it to be useless. However, why not have a pleasant and warm experience, if possible? Ice shelters come in various sizes and shapes, so have your pick according to your party.