The ice-fishing season is just around the corner, and now's the time to
check over your gear and make sure you are organized for first ice action! To help
you get ready, here's a list of 10 things to do to get ready for the hard-water season.
1. Charge Up Your Batteries
Manufacturers recommend that during storage in the off-season, you periodically
charge batteries used in flashers and underwater camera systems. If you've been
neglecting your batteries, charge them right away. While you're at it, give
your electronics the once over, and make sure everything is in working order.
Without these tools you'll be fishing blind.
2. Give Your Auger A Tune-Up
Whether you use a manual, a gas-powered, or electic auger, give it a once over before the
ice hits, checking blades and tightening screws. For a power auger, start it
up, and make sure you've got a spare spark plug and enough oil for the season.
If there's anything wrong with your gas auger get it serviced right away by an
First Light: Ice season is just around the corner, are you ready?
3. Spruce Up The Shelter
It's a good idea to check your portable shelter and get it out of storage to
make sure everything is in working order. Things that you might have forgotten
about since your last outing (such as a tear in the material) or storage
surprises (like mice nesting in the unit) are problems to be dealt with before
your first fishing trip of the season. Simply assemble the hut and check for tears
in fabric, tighten bolts and nuts, ensure the tow rope is OK, and so on.
4. Get Your Accessories Ready
Take some time to ponder your past trips and stock up on items you need for ice
fishing. Here are a few suggestions: a headlamp with fresh batteries, a
thermos, a warmer pair of boots, some chemicial heater packs, a new ice scoop, a minnow bucket and net, a
tackle storage bag, and see-through plastic tackle boxes.
5. Get Your Safety Gear In Order
Don't neglect your safety gear. Make sure you've got ice picks, a throw line, a
2-way radio with fresh batteries, a first-aid kit, and a bag of spare clothes
in case you get wet.
6. Scout Out Lakes
If you still have open water, take the time to investigate some lakes you plan
on ice fishing. Mark good-looking spots in your GPS or on a hydrographic map
and pay close attention to where there are still healthy weeds; these spots are
prime at first ice.
7. Check Your Rods
Did you bust a rod last year that you haven't replaced yet? Well now's the time
to carefully inspect all your fishing rods, replacing any broken ones, and
adding to your collection. Also, to keep your rods organized and protected,
consider buying a rod carrying case, such as H.T. Enterprises' Rod Locker or Tackle Tote.
8. Spool Up Your Reels
Put some fresh line on your reels. Remember to first put a layer of mono
backing on if using braid. You might also want to lube reels up with
To make sure you get all the best baits this season, fully
stock-up on lures before first ice hits.
9. Get Your Tip-Ups Ready
Hopefully you didn't store tip-ups in the heat over the summer. If so, and
you're using underwater models, they might have leaked grease and will need to
be lubricated. Also, check that you've got enough line on the spools.
10. Organize, Check Your Tackle
Go through your tackle and make a list of what's missing (do you have enough
lures as well as terminal tackle?). Stock up on these items now before outlets run short once ice season is in full swing. Once you've got your tackle,
get it ready by popping paint out of lure eyes, sharpening hooks, and
organizing it in storage cases.
These are just 10 things you can do to be better prepared for the beginning
of ice-fishing season this year. Take some time now to get organized, and have a great
hard-water season this year!
For a fine assortment of Ice Fishing gear, click here.