With the open water disappearing onto a thin sheet of ice, winter can be a frustrating time of year for many anglers. However, when it gets cold enough and the ice approaches five inches, let the ice fishing games begin! Make sure you have portable ice fishing protection to stay ahead of the weather.
If weather conditions allow, ice fishing equipment can consist of at least a couple of ice fishing rods, a snail, and a bucket to sit on. Winter often doesn’t play well, however, and as such, most anglers need extra protection from the elements. In the far north, extreme cold can produce small scale-like structures that can be towed on ice and become part of an ice fishing shanty town on the lake in the next few months. For the rest of the country, ice fishermen rely on more portable ice fishing shelters.
The key to any portable ice fishing house is that it remains “portable”. This temporary structure needs to be movable from the truck to the center of the lake and back while it is highly bundled. I got a homemade portable ice fishing shelter. It’s made of plywood, tarpaulin, and lots of duct tape. It’s so heavy that a tandem of sleds is used to pull the animal across the ice, and it’s almost all I can wrestle in the back of the truck.
Once my portable ice fishing house is set up, I’m pretty much committed to this small area. A lighter structure, like an ice fishing tent, may be sufficient protection to block the wind and keep you on the ice. One of the best ice fishing tips I’ve learned is that consistent success on the ice often depends on being able to move. It may take multiple holes drilled to reveal the deep channel, weed edge, or solid substrate that can be key to some hot fishing action in these cold circumstances.
If you don’t have a portable ice fishing house and are fairly new to the game, ask. There may be a friend out there who lets you borrow one to see if this guy is right for you. Whichever portable ice fishing protection you prefer, stay safe. Do not fish alone and check the ice depth as it is unlikely to be of uniform thickness all over the place. And don’t forget to renew your fishing license to keep on having a Happy New Year!
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and in the US state of Michigan.