Ice Chips (by Montana Grant)
By angelamontana

There are always new tips and tricks to make our days afield better. The picture shows a few tips and ideas that have helped me to become a better Ice Man. There are probably no new ideas but we all appreciate any help we can get when ice fishing.


Comfort on the ice is paramount. Cold toes, fingers, faces, and butts will drive you off the ice. Try cutting a 5-gallon ice bucket lid to sit on. This quick fix, allows you a place to sit while leaving access to maggots, snacks, or other gear. Standing all day gets old fast. You could add some foam onto the seat for cushion but usually we have on so many layers of clothes that we wear our padding. Back in the day, we used to use an old metal milk crate, or bucket, attached to a sled for our seats. A paint can full of charcoal briquets would add welcome heat to our behinds while warming a sandwich or our fingers.


The rifle cartridge, with a metal loop is another tip I was shown by a Brother Ice Man. He added molten lead to a 30-06 brass cartridge with the wire loop inside. I have kept it for decades as my favorite bait tool. This idea allows you to pop eyeballs out of the fish for bait. Attach them to your hook, or jig, and hang on. Perch especially love an eyeful of food. This trick has saved the day many times. Keep an eye out for these tools at the bait shop or make one yourself.


Many of our lakes have a silty bottom. When fish feed on the bottom, they stir up the silt and attract others over to the feeding frenzy. When things get slow, use a cord to drop a heavy washer to the bottom and lift it up and down a few times. Keep your eyes on the fish finder or your rods for the upcoming bites.


Scent is also important when ice fishing. Try using a vial filled with cotton balls. Drill a few holes in the vial to allow them to get wet and attach a cord. Add a gel scent to the cotton balls. Glow scent in salmon flavor works great for trout, shrimp flavor works well for perch. Once you have loaded the scent bomb, sink it to the bottom. You may need to add a weight or rock to the rig for ballast. I have also suspended the scent bomb or just floated it in the ice hole. Every time you drop your jig into the hole, it is re-scented. The globs of gel scent will also attach themselves to your line and slide down to your jig.

Even Old Ice Men can learn new tricks! Try these out and enjoy.

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at