Winter is rapidly approaching, so people who live in some of the colder regions of the country are preparing for the ice fishing season. Although the sport seems simple, it is not quite as easy as it sounds. The fact is that there is more to it than just trying to stay warm. If you are not able to catch any fish, than you can hardly call your outing a success. You will find that there is plenty of hard work involved in catching fish during the winter. From making the hole in the ice to releasing the fish, there are many things involved in the process that you never really think about. But if these little things are not done correctly, it may very well result in lost fish.
Once you have arrived at the lake, it is a good idea to make a pattern of the holes that you would like to drill. Generally, you should make your first hole 10 feet from the shore. Then drill about four to eight holes in a line. Be sure to do all of your drilling when you first arrive. As you might imagine, fish are frightened by the noisy drill. Do the drilling once, and they will return to the spot before you know it.
The more common approach to ice fishing, called the passive approach, is done by using a set line. A set line is exactly what it sounds like. It is a line sitting still with a minnow on the end waiting for a bite. If you choose to use this method, you will be able to fish more than one hole at the same time, in addition to doing other things, such as cooking or making a fire.
A set line is usually rigged with a single small wire hook tied to the end and a split shot attached six to eighteen inches up the line. A minnow is hooked and the line is lowered to within inches of the bottom or into the strike zone. You can also use bear paws to add dropper lines to your main line. This lets you fish at multiple depths. Once you’ve put these lines down the hole, all you have to do is wait for a hit to set off your flag.
When you finally bring your fishing line in by hand, it is vitally important that you don’t give it any slack. To prevent this, grab hold of your line at the surface of the ice with your free hand. Start pulling before your occupied hand is extended as far up as it will go. When the fish is a few feet below the surface, check out how active the fish is. If the fish is still very active, it may be very hard to get the fish’s head through the hole. It is in your best interest to decide before the fish gets to the ice whether or not you are going to attempt to bring the fish through. Once you’ve been able to get a fish that far, you can rest assured that he’s all yours. Now that you are familiar with how to ice fish, dress warm, be safe, and find yourself a big, frozen lake with lots of fish.