How to Lose Less Fish on the Ice

Fishing winter crappie

Most fish are lost back down the hole by ice fishermen due to a lack of preparation. Here are five set up tips to help you be prepared for ice fishing success:

ice fishing hole3When you first get on the ice and auger out your fishing hole, you are anxious to drop a line in the water, aren’t you? Considering most fish are caught on the first offering into a fresh hole, you need to be properly set up and prepared to catch them.

1. Make sure the hole is clean and there are no ice chips or chunks to entangle your fishing line.

2. Keep the ice hole clear of all obstructions.

3. Your heat source should be close enough to keep you warm, but far enough away that it doesn’t damage your line.

4. If night-fishing, make sure your light source is nearby but doesn’t spook fish by shining down your ice hole.

5. Your ice fishing skimmer needs to be close-at-hand to assist with smaller fish and your gaff should be ready to bring that fish-of-a-lifetime through the hole. Keep your ice fishing hole smooth and slush free with one tool, the Bass Pro Shops Chipper Skimmer.

Be properly prepared before dropping a line and you’ll put more fish on ice.

Remember safety first. Ice fishing can put an angler in some dangerous situations. Icy waters and bone-chilling air are deadly. Before going out on the ice, prepare safety equipment and know ice safety precautions. Make sure the ice thickness and quality is safe to venture out on and use the "buddy" system and have a fishing partner.

1 arrow pointRead: Anglers, Start Your Augers, It's Ice Fishing Time (video)

1 arrow point Read: Choosing the Best Ice Fishing Combo

Read: Itty Bitty Baits for Ice Fishing1 arrow point


By Larry Whiteley, Host of the award winning
Outdoor World Radio