Given the advances of the past couple decades, ice fishing equipment has come a long way. Gone are the days of freezing your tail off, hunched over a hole with a rod cut from a summer pole attempting to catch fish through a hole in the ice. Today’s equipment allows for unprecedented mobility as well as great comfort to allow for longer and more successful trips to the ice. Below is a list of the top 10 things that you can get to make your time on the ice more productive and enjoyable.
10) Ice Fishing Plastics
Today’s plastics are revolutionary in that they at times catch more fish than live bait. This normally comes from their scent and durability. Using one piece of Berkley Powerbait to catch a dozen fish is not uncommon.
9) Wheel House
Gone are the days of 3 hours to move your permanent ice house. With a wheel house you can jack it back up, hook it up to the truck and move on down to your next ice fishing destination. A great way to cover more ice and not dread moving from a hot spot that has gone south.
8) Glow Jigs
Perfect for those low light times or when fishing water that is murky, many of today’s jigs come with glow paint on them that often increases catch rates immensely. Popular models include the Lindy Frostee and the Genz Bug. Simply place the jig next to a light source, preferably an LED light source, and your jig will illuminate very bright to draw in the fish.
7 Underwater Ice Fishing Camera
Nothing has increased people’s understanding of the underwater world more than this piece of equipment. The underwater camera allows you to watch everything that is going on beneath the ice on a TV screen. It allows you to use minor adjustments to coax more fish into biting your bait.
6) GPS with Lake Contour Software
The advent of the GPS allowed for people to bring high technology with them wherever they went. Couple that with lake contour software, and we can go directly to the structure we see on our GPS. This saves unknown time finding new spots as well as pinpointing the exact spot that was successful in the past. Lakemaster makes excellent contour software for Garmin and Lowrance devices.
5) Modern Ice Fishing Rod
Today’s ice fishing rods are built specifically for high performance ice fishing. With a spine that allows one to play the fish as they fight, these rods are far superior than the rods of yesteryear. You can even tailor the action of the rod to fit the fishing you are doing from ultra light for panfish to a heavy duty ice rod for northern pike.
4) Portable Propane Heater
Nothing is worse than being cold while a hot bite is on. The beauty of today’s heaters is both their portability as well as their heat output. Some models are even safe indoors, and are great for heating up your portable or permanent shelter. Mr. Heater and Coleman are the major brands in this space and both produce excellent heaters to keep you on warm and content on the ice.
3) Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
Lightweight and extremely portable, the tent-like ice shelters you can purchase today allow for comfort, style and charm all while providing you opportunity to follow the hot bite. The shelters go up and come down quickly and really keep the elements at bay. Clam, Eskimo and Eastman all produce a high quality portable ice shanty for your ice fishing needs.
2) Gas Powered Ice Auger
Today’s ice angler is all about moving to keep on the hot bite. Couple that mentality with an ultra sharp gas powered ice auger of today and you can make swiss cheese of any lake you are on. By punching many holes before you start fishing you can move at will and not spook the fish if they have moved slightly in one direction. You will find high quality models from Strikemaster, Jiffy, and Eskimo to quench your thirst for catching more fish.
1) Ice Fishing Flasher
Perhaps no tool is more powerful than the ice fishing flasher. Allowing the fisherman to see the entire water column as well as their bait leads to more fish on the ice. Utilizing a flasher combined with the many holes you punched with your ice auger you can move quickly if no fish are below a hole. With varying colors to mark how big an object below the flasher is, you can see when a fish rises to take your bait. They are invaluable when fishing for suspended fish like crappies which would otherwise be overlooked.
With all the technology and innovation afforded to ice fishermen today there is no reason catching more fish needs to be a pipe dream. If you combine even 3 of the items listed above you will greatly increase your chances are catching more and bigger fish.
John is an avid outdoorsman who loves to fish and hunt. For more information on ice fishing please check out Modern Ice Fishing. For more information on specifics please see Ice Fishing Flashers and Underwater Ice Fishing Cameras