So, you’ve chosen your lake, set aside the time, and decided you want to try your hand at ice house fishing. I’ve found it to be a great way to relax and, once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a rewarding way to earn your dinner. That said, it’s critical to do your research and make sure you’re all caught up with the best ice fishing house supplies that you will need.
For me, good equipment is necessary to enjoy the process, and enjoying it is necessary to catch fish. Let’s see what’s out there.
When I began to prepare for my first outing ice fishing, I was woefully unprepared. I thought a big jacket and four walls to block out the wind would keep me sufficiently warm.
Little did I know that without an insulated seat, the ambient cold will get to you, one way or another, no matter how prepared you think you are. I’ve personally found that those two pieces of ice fishing house supplies to be the two most important when it comes to enjoying the experience.
Many people swear by sitting on their bucket, but I say they’re crazy. Sitting for hours on something with minimal insulation is just a nightmare, and you lose a lot of body heat.
Maybe they just have better circulation than I do, but I don’t know if I’d still be ice fishing today without insulated chairs. Personally, I’m a fan of the Clam® Chair, which you can get at any sporting goods store with ice fishing house supplies.
In addition to a nice, warm seat, I find it necessary to have a good shelter for the long haul. Depending on your budget, there are a few approaches you could take.
I must have seen re-purposed trailers a hundred times. That can be expensive and, if done wrong, disappointing and cold.
One of the most important parts of being able to enjoy the experience is keeping yourself comfortable Staying out of the wind is crucial as well.
DIY Ice Houses
Too many times I’ve seen big, do-it-yourself shelters that just don’t get the job done. I imagine these people thinking they’re saving money, but it’s actually quite inexpensive to buy a shelter, there’s a number of good ones on the market.
For budget ice fishers, Cabela’s sporting goods sells a serviceable ice fishing shelter, and the brands Shappell and Frabill sell similarly priced shelters of similar quality for a price point of roughly 150-200 dollars.
Breaking the Ice
By this point, you’ve got an idea on how to manage the temperature and staying comfortable, but now it’s time to get down to business. Breaking the ice.
First things first, you’re going to need an auger. The auger is one of the most fundamental pieces of ice fishing house supplies, hands down.
I’ve heard of some awful ways people have tried to make a hole in the ice. But, anything but a specifically designed piece of machinery is asking for trouble.
If you’re not familiar with ice fishing, you might be asking what is an auger? A fair question, I was confused at first too. Despite the technical term, it’s essentially just a drill for the ice.
I must advise against using anything else to break the ice. An auger is the safest way to get through the ice. That’s because it runs the least risk of cracking the ice, which is very dangerous.
There are a few on the market at the moment, and I’ve had no problems with the cheaper ones, such as the Eskimo Hand Ice Auger (about $50) here in Wisconsin.
That said, you may want to consider a gas-powered model, such as the Eskimo Sting Ray 33cc with 8″ Quantum Auger, running about $250 if you live further North, like Canada, where the ice tends to get thicker.
But when it comes to augers, though, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’ve got the budget for it, it’s a smart move in the long-term to buy a heavy-duty auger that can last you for as long as you keep ice fishing.
What sort of rod do I need to go ice fishing?
Typically, in my experience, ice-fishing requires a rod a bit longer than I grew up with. Once I got used to it, though, the 24-40 inch rods started to make perfect sense. And I began to really understand the specifics of hovering over a hole in the ice.
For me, the various rods I’ve gotten over the years are some of my favorite ice fishing house supplies. In time, you too might have a whole slew of various rods for various purposes.
So, now you know longer rods are generally more common in ice fishing. Now it’s time to think of the reel. Generally, ultralight reels are the go-to, and ice fishing specific models are actually much cheaper than their open water counterparts.
When I go ice fishing I try to stay modest in terms of my catch. So I tend to be happy catching perch, crappie, and bluegill. Which are a relatively common prey when ice fishing.
For these fish, I prefer inexpensive rods. I have enjoyed variously using my 13 Fishing brand Widow Maker Ice Rod. Also like my Frabill brand Straight Line 101, and my Cabala’s Tourney Trail® Ice Combos over the years.
Time to hit the ice
Now it’s time to put all these pieces of equipment to use! If it’s your first time using an auger, you might want to bring along someone who knows how to use it. It’s easily the most technical part of the whole process.
With a little patience, you can figure it out on your own. Once you’ve got your hole and set up your shelter, you get to enjoy the relaxation.
Depending on your luck, you may have either a productive first year or an educational one. Considering you’ve done your research on ice fishing house supplies, you can expect at least some success.
In just a few seasons you’ll become a wise old fisherman, and you’ll be looking forward to every winter. That’s how I feel about it and I hope you will too, it’s a great way to spend your winters.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below. Thanks.