Ice fishing is one way to get someone started in fishing as a sport. What I like about ice fishing is you don’t need a lot of gear to get started. As a VT Fishing Guide, I recommend for beginners to get your gear at your local fishing shop or Walmart.
Get Your License
The next step is getting your Vermont or New Hampshire fishing license, and you’re going to need an auger to get through the ice. Augers for ice fishing come in a variety of sizes. You really don’t need a high powered auger unless you plan on spending a lot of time on the ice in a hut. Start off with an inexpensive hand auger in the six to eight-inch range.
Choose Your Pole
Now you need to choose a fishing pole for your ice fishing adventures. A simple ice fishing pole will do unless you want to spend the money on a fancy one. A tip-up is a simple trap that allows you to set a sinker and minnow to fish. Once the fish below the ice take the bait, the flag pops up alerting you that you caught a fish.
Next item on the list is a set of warm clothes and an ice scooper. Don’t forget to dress warm, bring lots of snacks and drinks. You might be thinking that earthworms would be the perfect bait, for ice fishing because that is what you used the rest of the year. For ice fishing live bait like minnows is ideal. That is what the fish naturally eat during the winter season.
Clothing is crucial when you are out in the elements during cold weather on a slab of ice. Make sure you dress in layers. A good pair of insulated underwear, insulated snow pants, and a heavy winter jacket is a must. Don’t forget your fingers and face! There are many types of gloves on the market. Most people find that fingered gloves tend to leak more heat than mitten/glove combo. Bring an extra set of gloves and a head sock. The head sock will allow you to keep your face and head warm without being too cumbersome.
To Shelter / No Shelter
Of course, using a shelter is preferred for ice fishing because it protects you from the elements like snow, freezing rain, etc..
There are many different types of portable shelters on the market today including flip overs, hub style, and cabin style. For your first time out fishing go with a VT Fishing Guide or rent a hut to see if it is worth investing in for the future.
Test The Ice
Don’t take it for granted that the ice is thick enough to fish on. Many people make the fatal mistake that just because it is cold out that the ice is strong enough to support your weight. They even go to the lengths of driving vehicles on the ice without checking first. Many have lost their cars to the bottom of a lake because of this simple procedure.
Pick a spot on the ice that is not to close to anyone else and drill a hole and measure the thickness of the ice. You can also check at your local tackle and bait shop to see what the current thickness of the ice is.
The most important thing to remember about ice fishing is having fun. You may not catch a ton of fish, but enjoy the sport and fellowship with friends and family. Of course, the added bonus is bringing home a big fish for dinner!
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