Home » How to Ice Fishing – A Fun and Rewarding Activity

How to Ice Fishing – A Fun and Rewarding Activity

Hey friends! This is a guest post from fellow blogger Paul Watson. As midwesterners, we ice fish every year. By following Paul’s tips, you can make your ice fishing hobby a fun and safe event! Are you looking for a winter hobby? How about ice fishing for Perch? Ice fishing is a great way to gets out and enjoy nature’s winter beauty, spends time with friends and family and catch supper while you are at it! If you have never been ice fishing before,

there are a few things you need to know before you go for the best ice fishing boots on the market.

Making the Necessary Preparations

Do Your Research

  1. Talk to other fishers or visit a sporting goods store to find out where the best place to ice fish in your area.
  2. Learn about what people are using for bait and also what methods are working.
  3. You can even go out with a guide for your first time. Having an experienced guide show you the ropes is one of the best ways to learn the basics. Plus, they will have all the gear, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on supplies just in case you don’t care for the sport.

Know Your Limits

There is a bit of danger involved in ice fishing. The ice could break, although breakage isn’t a regular occurrence it can happen, and you need to be prepared just in case. Just as it’s important to stock a winter car survival kit, it’s important to follow the rules below for safety on the ice.

  1. Always test the ice before you head out to drills your hole. If it seems shifty or soft, don’t go any further. A good way to test the ice is to stick an ice pick in it as you slowly walk out. If the pick breaks through, then the ice is too thin, and you should turn back.

Recommended Reading: Ice Fishing The Ultimate Guide: Catching Walleye, Pike, Trout, Perch, Crappie, Sunfish, and More in the Cold

The ice should be at least 6 inches thick for safe walking and also 10 inches thick to drive on it.

  1. Just a note about driving on the ice, no matter how thick the ice is you should always drive slowly. The weight of the vehicle can create pockets of air under the ice in front of you.

If you go too fast, you could drive over the ice with only air supporting it there is a good possibility it will break.=

Making Yourself More Comfortable

If you want comfort while you are fishing, follow these tips:

Recommended Reading: Ice Fishing for Kids (Into the Great Outdoors)

  1. Dress warmly in layers and don’t forget something to sit on! Dressing in layers will allow you to take off and put on clothes as the day warm up and cools down.
  2. Don’t forget a couple of pairs of the gloves and waterproof boots. Avoid fishing waders or hip boots due to if you fall in the water, these can weigh you down making it hard to get out.
  3. Take an extra bucket or fold up a chair to sit on so you can enjoy the day without sitting on the cold hard ice!

Laurie’s Note: We go ice fishing with the kids at least once a year. Ice fishing is a somewhat passive sport. Rick loves to ice fish, but the kids and I can get bored pretty quickly. Here are our tips for being comfortable and having fun, from the wife and kids’ perspective:

    1. Bring something to do. We bring books to read and the kids bring art supplies and small toys
    2. Bring camping chairs and blankets
    3. Bring food to eat. A good array of snacks always combats ice fishing boredom ๐Ÿ™‚
    4. Get a good ice house and heater. The more like home the ice house feels, the less likely they’ll complain about boredom. Our ice house is similar to the one below (we bought it used for $150). It’s big, but there are six of us and it gives us more than enoughย space and with the heater keeps us plenty warm, which equals more time on the lake.

Clam 9102 Six Pack 1660Mag Upsable


Ice Fishing Safety Tips

Ice fishing safety is a matter of using your common sense. Be sure to take a few sensible precautionary measures, and always pay attention. And always keep in mind that ice fishing safety is up to you.

Your safety is critical, so along with making sure the ice is safe:

  1. be sure to have the proper warm clothing, such as a good pair of gloves, a warm hat and winter boots, ideally equipped with traction devices.
  2. If you plan to drive any vehicle on the ice, take special precautions. Always check the ice thickness by make test holes with your auger. If you are driving on the ice, watch for any holes or large chunks of ice. It is best to refrain from driving on ice whenever possible.
  3. Check the ice thickness before going out on any frozen lake. Be particularly aware of variations in ice thickness due to various conditions such as springs, inlets, and outlets, tributaries, etc. On both rivers and lakes, warm inflows from springs can create areas of the thinner ice.
  4. If someone else falls through to be sure to act quickly by calling 911 or the appropriate emergency number for your region. If you do fall through the ice, make sure you don’t panic. Use your ice picks if you have them, or any other sharp tools to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. Try to get out on the ice you just walked on. Do not go forward but go back to the last safe ice that supported you.
  5. If you are alone and go through the ice, take a few seconds to get over the cold shock. It is unwise to go out on ice alone, especially if you can’t swim or are physically unable to handle an emergency, should one arise.

Ideally use the buddy system; the best idea is NEVER to venture on the ice alone. You may want to have a good length of strong rope and possibly a life preserver. Having taken all of these precautions, you are now ready to try and catch some fish!

Author Bio

Paul Watson is an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring expert who loves to fish and hunt. On his site, http://outdoorchoose.com, he shares tips on how to make your hunting and fishing excursions both exciting and successful.

*This post contains affiliate links


  1. Huh. Well being from Texas I don’t know the first thing about ice fishing, so this was neat to learn about! Down here we can pretty much just do regular fishing since our lakes don’t freeze over, so I guess that’s nice? No special equipment needed, after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I like that y’all still make time to go outside in the cold. Down here everyone stays inside the second it hits 40 degrees, so it’s nice to see people still go outside.

    • paul says:

      if you have a chance to go ice fishing, try it. It’s really interesting. Should you have any question, let me know and I will give you the answer.

  2. Although I have lived my entire life in the Midwest, I am missing two critical winter experiences, ice fishing and snow mobiles.

    Thanks Paul for the great tips for beginners to get out and appreciate the beautiful winter!

  3. Michael says:

    I have lived in the east coast and now I live in Texas. I have never gone ice fishing. The post was informative and useful. Ice fishing sounds interesting,. I might try ice fishing with the help of a guide, of course, when I am up north :).

  4. katscratch says:

    Great article! I’ve never been myself, but have friends who live on a large lake and just upgrade their ice house this year. It always seems like such a great community, too — on the ice, I mean. Visiting each other via snowmobile and swapping beers and hockey stats, etc.

  5. Janeen says:

    Yay! We enjoy ice fishing with the kids yearly too. Admittedly, I’m always nervous that somehow one of the younger ones will end up down the hole, but I know there’s no real chance if we take precautions. I’m always amazed how many folks venture out on the lake before I’d personally feel safe. Where I grew up in SE Alaska, the local skating lake may be open one day and have skaters the next. Makes me nervous! I prefer ice thick enough for vehicle traffic, although that makes for more time with the auger.

  6. I am a huge fan of fishing in gent, but I have never gone ice fishing before. Maybe it’s the cold or the danger of falling through the ice that’s holding me back. If I ever do go ice fishing one day, I will definitely take the suggestion of having a guide.

Comments are closed.