Updated: Aug 22
There is no need to wait for the summer months to enjoy the luxury of casting out your lines in hopes for a bite. Ice fishing is an enjoyable sport that can challenge anglers in the winter months. Here are some tips for staying safe on the ice, what gear you’ll need, and some tips on how to do it right. This blog will cover these questions and tell you the basics of what you need to know.
Safety When Ice Fishing
Any outdoor activity has a certain element of risk involved, which is why we want to cover the safety basics before you go ice fishing. Safe ice should be your number one consideration when fishing. At Mattawa River Resort, our resort staff auger the holes for our guests and frequently check for ice thickness to maintain safety. However, if you don’t have this luxury, it is essential to check if the ice you are standing on is thick enough before stepping foot on frozen water. The general rule of thumb is that 4 inches thick is permissible to stand, walk, and fish on frozen water. Ice thickness can vary depending on where you are on the water, so ensure you are checking the thickness periodically. It would be best if you considered having an ice spud on hand with you to check the ice in front of you. Ensure you have all the proper attire to keep warm and carry an ice pick that is easily accessible to you to get a physical grip if you start sliding. It pays to be prepared! On a final note – never go fishing alone. Always make sure you have two sets of hands rather than one in case of an emergency.
Ice Fishing Gear
Ice fishing is quite different from regular casting on the lake, which means that your fishing gear will differentiate as well. The essential equipment includes a rod, an auger or drill, hooks, lures, jigs, and ice rods. Having a chair can make your time on the ice more comfortable, and a sled is an easy way to haul your fishing equipment onto the water. As for your clothing attire, make sure that you are layered up properly when you are on the ice, especially for spending long periods out in the winter weather. Have a waterproof jacket and pants on and rubber-soled boots. Consider purchasing ice cleats as they provide you with traction when walking on snow and ice.
Ice Fishing Tips
Once you are on the ice, your first order of business is to drill the hole you will be fishing in. Aim for an 8-10 inch hole that is large enough to pull fish through but too narrow for people to fall in. There are various fishing techniques to consider, including jigging and tip-ups. Jigging is one of the most common and preferred methods of fishing. You can use ice fishing jigging lures or ice fishing live bait while jigging. Drop your line and jig up and down or sideways but try not to move your bait too much. You should feel the extra weight of your jig or lure so that you can notice if there is fish on your bait instantly. Tip-ups have also become a popular method of fishing for ice anglers. You can set up multiple fishing lines below the ice and don’t have to be in the equipment’s immediate area to detect a strike. It triggers a small flag that indicates you have a bite. This can allow you to cover more ground without having to be right beside your fishing gear at all times.
Ice Fishing on Mattawa River
If you are ready to embark on your ice fishing adventure, discover the incredible Mattawa River fishing that awaits you at our scenic Mattawa River Resort. Whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting, we offer guided fishing tours for every level of experience. Our waters are home to a large variety of fish, which always makes for an exciting day on the water. Indulge in this exciting activity that the whole family can enjoy and delight in the beautiful scenery and wildlife surrounding you. Book your accommodations today and experience an array of winter activities at Mattawa River Resort.