Prepare Your Ice-Fishing Gear Now!

My personal favorite fishing season is approaching! I thoroughly enjoy hard-water fishing, and one reason I’m successful is because I prepare my equipment weeks in advance.

If you haven’t done so, the first thing I’d recommend is inventorying your tackle. I have a walleye ice tackle box and a panfish ice tackle box. That strategy makes fishing so much simpler, and with it, I can maintain a much more complete inventory.

Terry Tuma
Terry Tuma

Got tackle? OK, now check that your electronics are working properly. This is time to make sure everything works, not when you’re on the ice trying to drop a broken transducer down the hole. Make sure all your batteries are OK, too.

Onto the bigger equipment: Fire up your auger. With gas issues today, that is to say, ethanol, some small engines experience problems if you didn’t run and clear them adequately. Operate that auger with clean gas and swap out spark plugs or filters now, before the ice thickens.

And like your lawnmower, replace the auger blade before the cutting season. Don’t wait till you’re out on the ice to discover you have a dull blade.

With our terminal tackle, we need to replace fishing line on all reels. Ice fishing demands light line, and the thin-diameter stuff is more susceptible to nicks and cuts that’ll cost you fish. Replace that line now, and while you’re at it, make sure the drags on your reels are working. Then match your rods and reels to the species of fish you intend to pursue. Don’t take a walleye rod, for example, and use it to fish crappies. Yes, modern ice rods are that specific.

Decide now if you need new clothing or other equipment. Buy equipment sooner than later, or you might find yourself looking for hardware that’s out of stock.

Finally, try something new this season. Pick a new lake to fish, research a new tactic, or rig a rod with a new lure or new system. Force yourself to learn a little more. That’s part of the fun of angling. And you might just catch some more fish, too!

Shop Sportsman’s Guide great selection of Ice Fishing Gear!

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