ICE CHIPS and TIPS#1
By Montana Grant

Posted: January 1, 2021

Ice fishing is full of chips and tips. This series will introduce you to some commonsense tips and tricks to make you a better Iceman! Here are some great tips to help you spend more time on the ice catching fish rather than freezing.

                SITE SET UP!

When you first hit the ice, pick a place to set up your gear. Some Icemen bring way more gear than needed. Once you locate some good spots, this may be fine, but until you find a good location, travel light.

Consolidate your gear to a sled that can easily slide atop the frozen water. Design your sled to carry your bucket seat or serve also as a seat. You will also need a shovel to move snow. Don’t be afraid to move around.

Honey holes are based upon where the fish are. This means inflows, geothermal features, depth, structures, and topography. Look for areas that constrict where fish will swim. A narrow between to larger areas is an example. Set up where the fish are forced to navigate to your set up. These choke points are a good idea.

Many Icemen find their best Honey Holes in the Summer using boat and electronics. These hot spots are then stored on a GPS for later. Lakes where tons of Christmas Trees are submerged are good spots. Help do the work and it will pay off.

Ice men with tents and huge sleds of gear are less likely to try a new spot, once set up. I never use a tent or ice shanty. If it is so cold and miserable that I may need one, I stay home and wait for better weather. That’s easy for me to say since I am retired and can fish anytime. If you work for a living, choice of fishing time is more limited.

When I get to a promising spot, I begin by shoveling out an area for me to fish in. I feel the light excites the bite! Usually, this area is about 4x8feet. I shovel the snow upwind to keep the wind off my holes. Then I drill my holes. If I am allowed 2 rods, I drill 3 holes. One hole is for more electronics, spaced over and between my two rod holes. If the spot is productive, save the location on your GPS. Remember that ice moves but the GPS will stay the same. 

Once the holes are drilled, I use a ladle to clear the hole of ice chips. My sled is set so I can operate both rods and sit comfortably. The center fish finder is on alarm, so it chirps when fish are near.

I also create an ice level fish storage area. This is simply a close spot where I can throw my fish. The cold and ice will flash freeze my catch which is humane and perfect for fresh eating.

Catch a fun time!

Montana Grant