There is nothing worse than getting ready to drop a line in the ice and then you can’t find half the things needed. Having a good organizing system for your ice fishing tackle box and storage helps make sure you don’t leave things back onshore or hidden in the depths of a random tackle box.
There are going to be variables that play into tackle organization for everyone. It depends on where the angler is fishing, the species being looked for, and the water environment. A well-organized tackle box and storage means that there will be everything needed within reach and finding it will be easy without having to drag every piece you own out on the ice.
Starting to Organize
It’s important to think through what you need and when it will be needed if you are going to get organized for being out on the ice. Diversification and nested storage are great for that. 3 categories can help divide content are:
- Ice Space
Having the right tote and tackle bags, tackle boxes, line boxes and the ever-needed Ziploc bags are all important as anglers sort their fishing gear out. Items such as big totes aren’t for on-ice time. They are used to hold the majority of tackle all the time. It’s from the totes that the angler selects their gear before heading out on the ice. These totes keep things organized to make selection easy. It’s a bit of everything that can meet the needs of a family outing, to more targeted fishing experiences.
The goal with these totes is to keep as much in original packages as possible. This will take up a little more space, but it keeps things from tangling, getting lost, or being damaged. It’s a good system that means anglers have access to lots of variety but don’t have to carry large amounts of things out on the ice. If you have backups in the totes, then it’s simple to track things that you need to replace on the ice and then later in the totes.
What Should You Store Where
Home, Vehicle, Camp
These places are where the biggest tote(s) and other storage should be. These are bigger storage items and probably shouldn’t be out on the ice. It’s the go-to place when you are missing items or need to replenish things. It’s great to have if you are out fishing for a few days or are doing a lot of travel. It can hold lots of things to keep everything stocked up.
- Hitch Pins
- Auger replacement parts and tools
- Batteries for lights
- Extra clothing such as gloves, hats and sweaters
- Bait pucks, pliers, scissors and snips
- A Lighter And Any Spare Parts Or Accessories For A Heater
This is a deep box that is designated for the fishing line only. It’s easy to keep everything organized so you can see when something needs to be replaced. It allows various types of lines to be kept,meeting all the ice fishing needs.
Lure Tote – This is a slightly smaller tote that keeps lures organized and ready to go. It is mainly used to be a restocking box if there are lost items out on the ice. It is a backup inventory for longer trips.
Once the large totes are stocked and ready, then it is time to determine what is going out on the ice. There is no need to haul every piece of fishing gear that is in your possession. Here is what should be organized for on-ice time:
On-Ice soft-sided bag – This is going to be the go-to bag with lots of Ziplocks containing tackle and other things that can tangle. It can hold a selection of:
- Soft plastics – These can be kept in their original packaging and be put into categories such as size, shape and color. Freezer bags are tougher than regular everyday baggies.
- Panfish tackle – Include various baits and separate them into types. Again, keep the original packaging for easy storage in Ziplock bags.
- Walleye tackle – As this is a bigger fish, it needs a different tackle then the panfish. Select baits you prefer and put in one per bag, so you have many colors.
- Jigging raps should be packaged separately as well so they aren’t damaged.
- Bits and Bobs – Bobbers, sinkers, hooks and other odds and ends for ice fishing should have a small tackle box that can sit in the soft-sided bag.
On-Ice hard goods bag – This is a tackle bag that holds lots of small boxes plus your snips, pliers and tools you may need out on the ice.
- Box A – Rippen Rap variety
- Box B – Slab Rap
- Box C – Spoons that will have a high turnover
- Box D – The box of oddities –jigging raps, out of the package things, extra baits
These are the final things you can organize for easier fishing. These are the small things that can be kept on your person. These will allow easy access, so you don’t have to dig through the other storage to find things.
- Utility Box – A small box to hold panfish jigs along with some horizontal leads and baits.
- Utility Box 2 – A box a little larger to hold the bigger plastics and bare hooks for those larger fish. These are great if they have flip lids for easy access.
These suggestions are just one way to be organized when it comes to ice fishing gear. It won’t be perfect for everyone but it’s a good start to thinking through how things should be cared for and stored. Figuring this out makes heading out on the ice a breeze. An angler will have everything necessary and it will be accessible. Getting organized takes some work at the outset but it will be more than worth the effort once it is all in place.