It's that time of the year again, where the lakes start freezing or are already frozen depending on where you live. So we all know what that means, time to get out all the ice fishing gear and hit the lakes. Here are a few tips to help you be more successful at ice fishing.
You always want to make sure you have all the right equipment before hitting the lake. Here are a couple of the more important equipment you need for ice fishing, always have proper winter clothing, back-up winter clothing in case you fall in the water, fully charged cell phone, so if anything happens you have a way to contact someone, if you are out fishing alone. You also need a bucket, ice scoop, auger, bait, tip-ups or fishing pole and you tackle. You want to make sure you always go through your check list every time you hit the lake.
Once you are out on the ice, finding the right depth matters. Most fish will generally stay in a specific depth during the winter, which can make it easier to find them. If it is a common lake you have fished regularly during the summer months you will know all the premium spots and depths of the lake. If you aren't familiar with the lake you can hop online and look for a map of the lake and it will show you all the different depths of the lake and you can check out the depths for the species you are looking to fish for.
Now that you have found a spot to fish, you can start drilling holes in the ice for your tip-ups, if you have some and a couple of holes to fish from while waiting on your tip-ups to go off. Remember to spread out the placement of your holes. If you put them close to each other you have the worries of them getting tangled when there is a fish on and some people say having them close together loses you chance of catching a fish as there are too much bait in one area.
You are ready to start fishing, some people say you ice fish like you are summer fishing, which isn't true. You want to make sure you are going slow and steady as fish don't expend as much energy during the winter months.If you are looking to give your fishing a jump start, you can always chum the hole before you start fishing. Sometimes chumming your hole can actually bring more fish to your area. You can use minnows or wax worms and let the fish go to town. Always have different types of bait with you, as you never know what the fish are looking to eat on that day. If you move your bait or jig too fast, a fish might let it go to save some energy. If you are going to be fishing for bluegills or perch, you want to fish the bottom as they love to feed off the bottom during the winter months.
Now that you have a few tips for a successful ice fishing trip. Get off the computer and put those tips to the test. Always remember to be safe and know the thickness of the ice before walking or driving out on the ice. You don't want to start your ice fishing trip having to turn around right away from falling in.