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Ice Fishing 201 - Beyond the Basics

 

Dress warm and comfortable

CLOTHING AND STUFF YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR PERSON

  • Dress warm, dry, and in layers - Insulated wind-proof and water resistant - Hoodies are nice
  • Insulated water-proof boots - felt pack type or Mickey Mouse are most popular
  • Hat, facemask, or balaclava - a LOT of body heat is lost through the head
  • Baseball or other billed cap - in case a heavy hat gets TOO warm
  • Gloves and SPARE gloves - fingerless wool for fishing are nice
  • Scarf or neck protector - wind and/or snow down the back of the neck is VERY CHILLING
  • SUNGLASSES - SNOW BLINDESS SUCKS!!
  • Spare bag of clothes (including towel) in car - JUST IN CASE you get wet
  • Don't wear the boots you will fish in driving to the spot (gives you spare DRY shoes or boots in car)
  • Ice cleats (Creepers) or cleated boots - CONCUSSIONS SUCK!!
  • Ice picks - pieces of broom handles with nails will work as will old screwdriver
  • One handed pocket knife - you should ALWAYS carry a pocketknife according to grandpa
  • Whistle and a compass - WHITE OUTS REALLY SUCK!!
  • Flashlight - L.E.D. headlamps work great
  • IF FISHING ALONE - Flotation Vest - PFD - you can wear one under your parka

NO ICE IS "SAFE"

FISHING ACCESSORIES aside from rods, reels, Slammer Tip-Ups, and terminal tackle (Ice fishing depth finder, lures, hooks, leaders, line, split-shot, bobbers, and bobber stops etc ....)

  • Hole scooper OR TWO - preferably metal
  • Multi-tool w/ pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, hook sharpener etc. (Leatherman, Gerber, others) OR
    pliers, scissors, screwdrivers (phillips and slotted), hook sharpener
  • Fishing towel - to wipe off goo
  • Jaw spreader and/or hook remover (depending on species)
  • Foam kneeling pad - Cardboard wrapped with duct tape also works
  • Rod holder or rod cradle (bucket mounted or free-standing) - I prefer a Slammer Tip-Up for a free standing hook-setting open ice rod-holder, the little red Tackle Tamer Rod-Holder for a bucket mounted in-shanty rod holder, and the Orangeville Hooker for a free-standing fold-up rod cradle
  • DO NOT LAY YOUR ROD ON THE ICE!!!
    PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR ROD!! - IGNORANCE GETS RODS SUCKED DOWN HOLES!!!
  • Gaff - with TIP COVER!!
  • Stringer - good idea to stringer female steelies under the ice to keep them from freezing
  • Plastic bags - size according to fish species being kept - keeps the slime off the gear

Muskegon Lake Perch fishing

MORE FISHING ACCESSORIES - not always necessary, but things to consider if you want to catch more and bigger fish

  • Portable Depth Finder - Strikemaster PolarVision and others - size of a flashlight
  • Portable Fish Finder - Flashers are awesome i.e. Vexilar and Marcum - LCD's will also work
  • Underwater Camera - Aqua View is most popular with most models - Aqua Cam (from Menard's), Harbor Freight's camera, and Homier's cameras also work fine and have a Sony camera
  • Handheld GPS - to find the hot-spot
  • Lake Map - HotSpot fishing maps are about the best
  • Sled type flip-over shanty - Bring up again - also good for sight fishing
  • Artificial weeds - ReelWeeds, other commercially available -  fish tank supplies, hobby shops for make your own structure
  • Hole Covers - Slamco lightweight, freeze-proof, folding, insulated, solar heated hole cover - avoid foam as it could get frozen into your hole
  • Wind-Jigging devices - Slamco Wig-Jigger attaches to your Slammer Tip-Up
  • Small snow shovel - nice for clearing an area for your stuff in heavier snow and/or slush
  • Snow brush - nice for dusting snow off accessories
  • Longer "stand up" rods for standing on the ice and fishing - good for moving from hole to hole while jigging - if you have the room and aren't in a shanty, a 4 to 6 foot rod works FINE ON THE OPEN ICE
  • Sitting on your ass in a shanty?? - use a short enough rod that's comfortable
  • SWISH RODS - for deep water perch fishing - they are hard to beat - if you know someone who has some and doesn't use and/or want them - BUY THEM!!


Pentwater Lake

ICE CHECKING AND HOLE MAKING GEAR
  • Spud bar or Ice Chisel - CHECK THE ICE!!
  • Hand Auger - Laser Augers work GREAT
  • Spare Blades and tool for the screws of your hand auger are a good idea
  • Gas Power Auger - DON'T RELY ON JUST A POWER AUGER!! (Dave's last year on PM Lake ....)
  • Electric Ice drills - IceGator Power Head has VERY GOOD REVIEWS!!
  • Auger Adaptor's for Cordless Drills - Minimum 18V GOOD drill - 6" diameter hole OR LESS - Ice Master is best - has a collar and a strap that wraps around drill - most others (i.e. Nymrod) ARE A JOKE - loosens in drill chuck and you lose your auger head to bottom of the lake
  • Ice saw - for cutting spearing holes - CHAIN SAWS ARE A BAD IDEA!!

TRANSPORT GEAR

  • 5-Gallon bucket OR TWO - preferably with lid - also acts as a seat
  • Plastic "milk" crates work nice as do plastic totes - lightweight, sturdy, and waterproof
  • SOLID minnow bucket or old cooler for live minnows - styrofoam liner in a 5-gallon bucket works fine - JUST a styrofoam bucket is NOT a good choice - battery operated aerators are nice too
  • Soft or hard cooler for spawn - DON'T LET YOUR SPAWN FREEZE!!!
  • Gear bag - keep your small itmes CONTAINED
  • Ice Fishing Rod Case - DON'T HAVE YOUR RODS AND REELS IN A MESS!!
  • Backpacks - work well for transporting gear
  • High walled sled - i.e. Shappel Jet Sled - Frabill, Otter, Viking
  • Bungie cords to secure your gear in the sled
  • Sled cover, plastic tarp, or even blanket to keep snow and slush off of gear in the sled
  • Snomobiles, ATV's, Utility Vehicles - WEAR YOUR HELMET !!! C.O. Chris Simpson will get you!!

White Lake

COMFORT GEAR

  • Snacks - something to drink and munch on
  • Propane or White Gas Heater - style, size and type depending - HAVE ADDIQUATE VENTILATION!!!
  • Gas Lantern - for light and/or heat
  • Lighters and Matches - a couple disposable lighters and some waterproof matches
  • Hand warmers - different types (Jon-E lighter fluid, charcoal stick, Liquid-filled bag w/ metal disc, disposable)
  • Toe Warmers - DISPOSABLE TOE WARMERS ARE A GOD SEND !!!!
  • Mittens are warmer than gloves
  • Hand muff that wraps around your waist (with a hand warmer works great)
  • Chair - usually more comfortable than a bucket
  • Portable Shanty - sled flip-over Lodge style works great - other types i.e. Muskegon manufactured Viking, accordian style Alumatents (make your own with plywood ends, canvas or plastic tarp middle and conduit pipe poles)
  • NOTE: Muskegon Awning's Lodge was available BEFORE the Clam flip-over type portable shanty
  • Permanent Shanties - Have to check on them almost every day

SAFETY GEAR - some good things to have handy in case someone falls in if you're away from the public - a good idea to be fishing with a buddy or a group as well

  • 50' - 100' Rope tied to a boat cushion OR a manufactured throw bag
  • Snow shoes - weight distribution for rescue
  • Flares or flare gun
  • Emergency blanket
  • Cell phone