Ice fishing is one of the most popular winter activities for those who are avid anglers. If you are going to try out ice fishing, then having the right ice fishingaccessories is important. The fishing rod, reel, clothing, shelter and essential ice fishing gear are all part of staying warm and safe as an ice angler.
Ice Fishing Accessories
Here are some of the things an ice angler shouldn’t head out on the ice without. While you don’t need everything, pick what will make the fishing adventure fun and successful.
Reels, Rods and Line
- Spinning Reels – This is a good ice reel and is usually a 500 or 1000 size. They handle lighter lines well and are good with short ice rods.
- In-Line Reels – This is an older style reel but still more than able to add to your fishing experience. They can deal with light line and will help with line twist that you sometimes get with spinning reels.
- Rods – There are many rods to select from and it should be specifically engineered for ice fishing. These rods are shorter in length than warm weather fishing to make jigging easier and to keep the angler near the hold. They vary in size and power.
- Combos – These are a rod and reel set that come together. They can sit anywhere on the price scale and quality can go from mediocre to stellar. Do your research to see if there is one that suits your fishing style.
- Tip-Ups – These are the rigs you set up then sit back. They will let the angler have multiple lines in the water. They are a set up that sits over the hole and has a spring-loaded flag. The flag releases when a fish is hooked.
- Line – Choose your line depending on what you’re fishing for. The lighter weight is good for smaller fish, but some braided line is better if you are targeting the big ones. Make sure the reel can handle the weight you choose.
- Boots – These are a must-have. Boots that are waterproof and preferably insulated will keep you warm and dry. There is nothing worse than having cold, wet feet when fishing.
- Gloves – Another necessity. The cold and wind out on the ice can be bitter. Get gloves that are waterproof and have flexibility so you can deal with lines and bait easier. Longer wrist coverage is a good thing to have as well. Throw in some hand warmers for extra heat.
- Layers – Layers are going to keep you warm. Long underwear, shirts that wick moisture away, and sweaters are a plus.
- Outerwear – Even if you have a shelter, warm pants and a good jacket are important. They should insulate and keep the wind and wet out. Floatation suits are a little pricey but well worth it when you are warm and dry.
- Hats – Anglers should at least wear a toque, but one with ear flaps or a balaclava is even better.
You aren’t getting any fishing done if you don’t have a hole in the ice. Augers will drill that hole easily. You can get ones that are gas-driven and others that are done by hand. The gas ones are more expensive but also easier to use. They come in sizes ranging from 6”-10”.
Strikemaster Lazer Mag PowerIce Auger – An easy to use auger has a 42cc, 2.5HP powerhead. Its transmission is solid as it is made with heat-treated steel gears. Its twin Lazer blades are stainless steel, and the auger comes with a collarbolt, allen wrench, blades and blade cover.
Strikemaster Hand Auger – This two-piece manual auger that has well-designed handles that can be adjusted depending on the user’s height. Blades are high alloy carbon steel so the angler won’t get much jarring and the drilling should be smooth.
While many anglers will brave the ice without a hut, having one is often helpful on those cold, snowy days. They can keep anglers safe and warm.
- Hub Shelters – These have a frame inside that will expand and then lock into shape. They are the most inexpensive shelter but are not easy to move.
- Flip-Up Shelters – These are expensive but have some great features. They have a sled as their base and often have seats and gear spots. When you want to change fishing spots, it just collapses on the sled and you can move along.
- Cabin Shelters – This style of shelter has a hard plastic floor that has covers that flip up. They can fit into the back of a small truck and they set up similar to a tent. You’ll need to add a sled to your cost to move it.
Sleds are an important part of making the fishing experience enjoyable. It allows the angler to tow things to their spot and then move as needed. Some sleds can hitch up behind an ATV or snowmobile, and others can be pulled by hand. They are great to get things from the car to the ice.
Tackle & Extras
Tackle boxes, bait storage, and other accessories are all things an angler will need on the ice.
Bait buckets or a cooler is great and can keep live bait ready. Lures are also a must and there are some great ones specifically for ice fishing. If you want to go all out then a fish finder can help find where the fish are sitting.
After the Catch
Once you’ve caught a fish, what do you do with it? Keeping it cold is important. Bring a good cooler with some ice in it to keep and transport the catch in. You may also need a space to fillet the fish and a fillet knife to do it.
Ice fishing can be really enjoyable no matter how cold it is. The key to enjoying it is having the right gear to stay warm, safe and actively catching fish. You can do this no matter what budget you have. Quality accessories don’t have to be overly expensive.