Winter Means Ice Fishing

Posted by MNAngler On December - 2 - 2010

It’s December. Which means it’s winter. Officially. Which means it’s cold. So while most of you are thinking about Christmas shopping (mine is done, by the way), we fisherman are waiting for lakes to freeze over enough to sit on a bucket. While that may be a strange concept to those of you in other parts of the country (like Troutrageous), when you live in Minnesota, it’s a common practice.

What else are we fishing addicts supposed to do in the winter? Punching weights are good, but it would have to be pretty hefty to punch through ice. Especially ice two feet thick like it gets in some areas of the state.

So as I was getting my ice fishing gear ready, I thought it might be apropos to redirect you to some of the posts I wrote last winter. I’m not usually one to self promote, or to recycle posts, but these are articles I think are pretty useful, and that I’m particularly proud of.

The first is about ice fishing equipment. If you’re going to brave the cold, you should at least be prepared. While you don’t have to run out and buy all of this stuff yourself, you should at least be dressed properly and have your own ice fishing pole. Buddy up with some more experienced ice fisherman and they should have much of the other equipment.

Now if you read the list in that ice fishing equipment post, you’ll see a heater listed there. The heater doesn’t do much good in the open air as it would be like trying to heat, well, the Earth. But having a heater in a portable shelter, or ice house can get pretty nice. However, having a heater in an enclosed space while on frozen water would seem like you’re crying out for a Darwin award.

Well, it’s not. It’s actually quite safe. I spent some time figuring out why, which resulted in the post, Why It’s Safe to Use a Heater While Ice Fishing. I even went a step further and talked about how some people even have bonfires on the ice.

What I didn’t get to last year was writing about the cities that appear on the ice every year. People spend so much time on the ice that they even have addresses and the postal service delivers mail to them. And some of the houses in these cities would put middle-class America homes to shame. They have wall-to-wall carpeting, video games, and even satellite TV. You’d forget you were sitting on solid water except for the hole in the floor where a fish is pulled out of every few hours (if you’re lucky). I hope to write about some of those houses and cities this winter.

I started ice fishing in earnest last winter. As goes with most fishing outings, some days were good, some days were bad. I don’t get too excited about panfish (which is generally what you fish for out on the ice), but there can be a lot of excitement if a Northern Pike or nice-sized Walleye hits your bait. I have yet to experience that excitement. But it isn’t for lack of trying.

So I’ll be out on the ice again this year. Some days I’ll be enjoying a cozy time in my neighbor’s portable shelter, other days I’ll be freezing my extremities off. Either way, I’ll be feeding my fishing addiction, hoping for a tug on my line. Without it, I’d go stir crazy waiting for the ice to melt so I can pursue my true passion. Any tug on the line is better than none, even if it’s not a bass.

6 Responses to “Winter Means Ice Fishing”

  1. Kirk B Cahill says:

    We have caught many nice bass while ice fishing. The same baits that work for bluegills and crappie will also catch a few bass. Think about ice fishing over your late fall honey holes and you will find them.

    • MNAngler says:

      That’s interesting. I think I’ve only ever seen one bass pulled out of an ice hole, and that was a pic in a mag or on the internet. Seems to me you’d have to be right on top of them to land one. Thanx for the tip, though. I’ll give it a try this season.

      • Jody says:

        I have caught a few bass through the ice. All on shiners. One was 4 lbs, the others were pretty small. I don’t know how I would target them specifically though.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MNAngler, Kari Murray. Kari Murray said: Winter Means Ice Fishing via @MNAngler […]

  3. Mel says:

    Ice fishing is a lot of fun! Somedays are Diamonds and others are Stones, but, I love the preparation, drilling holes, and finding fish who are willing to have some fun on a cold winter’s day. Thanks for the review of some of your past posts. Appreciate it!

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