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Getting Started on the Ice

 

It was hard to believe, but by mid November many of our larger lakes had not frozen in. In the case of Lake Wabamun, my fishing buddy Arnold and I launched at the main dock on November 18th. It was unreal how this fall season was stretching out and quite frankly, I liked it but that has now changed.

The cold weather arrived Sunday November 25th with temperatures plummeting 10 – 20 degrees locking everything up solid. The little potholes were already frozen over and the ice was running 6 inches thick in the Edmonton area. The big lakes won’t be far behind. I can’t wait because I’m planning on getting back to some of my favorite haunts. Gull for big pike and whitefish. Star Lake for rainbows, South Buck for walleye and pike. It’s all good.

If you’re thinking of trying ice fishing this season, I would suggest you get at it. Yep, it’s colder, but that’s why we have long underwear, pop-up tents, catalytic heaters and girlfriends or boyfriends (we are Canadian). So, having conquered the cold, let’s look at what other things we’ll need to get started.

The first thing, a toboggan with bungee cords, is often overlooked but with all the equipment you will be packing across the ice it will definitely be appreciated. Another option is the Jet Sled available from The Fishin’ Hole as the high sides and deep basin make it excellent way to transport all your gear.

To effectively cut a hole in the ice I’ve tried just about everything. I’ve lobbed stones, used a jackknife, a hatchet, an axe, my dad once used a chainsaw (bad idea all around), a crowbar, a manual auger and finally a power auger. Given this vast experience I can say without prejudice that the ice auger is the tool of choice. Get an eight-inch model and make it a power auger if you can afford it. The manual ones work fine, but require some muscle power. My auger is an eight-inch StrikeMaster Laser Mag and it’s done the job beautifully.

After the holes are cut you’ll need something to scoop out the slushy ice. That’s where a plastic or metal ice scoop comes in handy. The metal is durable, but freezes readily to wet hands and the plastic model is less durable so I own both. After the holes are cut and cleaned, it’s all about fishing and staying comfortable. The pop-up tents work great for this. They cut the wind, generally have a built in chair and limit the light making it easier to see down the hole. You will also want to bring out some collapsible chairs. Nothing beats kicking back in the open air and soaking up the sun on a warm winter day.

That’s a good primer so pick your lake, pick your fish, bring your rods and tackle and have fun. Happy catching.


Previous Fishing Tips & Facts

(1) Selecting the right fly

(2) Road Trips

(3) The Roll cast

(4) Fly-fishing for Pike

(5) Walleye Tip

(6) Mountain Lakers

(7) Hints For Dry Fly Success

(8) Survival Strategies For The Silly Season

(9) Local Advise

(10) It's A Pink Year

(11) Ice Fishin Safety

(12) Third World Travel

(13) Casting Angles

(14) The Rocky Mountain Whitefish Rig

(15) Using Sinking Leaders

(16) The Pike Fisherman's Vest

(17) Walleye Tips

(18) Trophies Are In The Eye Of The Beholder

(19) The Right Tool For The Job

(20) Respect The Weather - Expect The Weather

(21) Approach

(22) Gearing Up For Ice Perch

(23) Do It Yourself Excersions

(24) Shots

(25) Atlantic Salmon Fishing Techniques

(26) Fishing Etiquette In Crowded Conditions

(27) Swinging Caddis Flies

(28) Selecting a Fishing Rod

(29) Pike Angling Retrieves

(30) Detecting The Strike

(31) Unmatch The Hatch

(32) Off The Grid Air Travel

(33) Practise

(34) How Deep Are They Biting?

(35) Netting and Landing Your Fish

(36) Texas Travel Tips

(37) Quick Tips for Triggering Strikes

(38) Be the Last Man Standing

(39) Water Temperature & Trout

(40) Visiting Reindeer Lake

(41) Stillwater Stratagems

(42) Those Crazy Cohos!

(43) Leaders & Tippets

(44) Big Water Strategies

(45) Small Stream Stealth

(46) DO I GET UP EARLY?

(47) ACCESSIBLE PLACES TO FISH

(48) Travelling Angler Tips

(49) Choosing The Right Fly

(50) They come out at Night - Our Friends that is

(51) Fishing at Night

(52) Having Troubles Catching fish?

(53) Having Troubles Finding Fish?

(54) Stay Skinny To Catch Fish

(55) Tips For Fishing With Kids

(56) The Wonderful Woolly Bugger

(57) Wading Safely

(58) Double Your Fun

(59) More About The Red River

(60) Rookie Rod Buying Tips

(61) Hook Sharpening

(62) Going Light

(63) Hopper - Dropper Rigs

(64) Tips For Buying A Pontoon Boat

(65) Fishing Tips and Facts for Sturgeon

(66) Three Flies to Live by

(67) Reading Rise Forms

(68) Tips and Facts for Early Season Success

(69) A Fly for All Seasons

(70) Ice Shelters – Seeing is Believing

(71) Effective approaches to working small streams

(72) Unburdening the Travelling Angler

(73) 5 Flies for Anyones Fly Box

(74) Road Trips

(75) Dry Flies for High & Dirty Water

(76) Tips For Dealing With Biting Bass

(77) Summertime and the Fishin’ Ain’t Easy

(78) Depth and Light

(79) Rigging Large Dry Flies

(80) Best Rod for Spring Angling

(81) Stream Etiquette for Floaters

(82) Tackling Whites Through the Ice

(83) Angling Tips for Finding Books

(84) Winter Smart Open Water Angling

(85) Fall Primer for Pike

(86) Packing Tips

(87) Tips and Tackle for the High Country

(88) Hunt them Shallow

(89) Polarized Sunglasses
The smart anglers’ advantage.

(90) Fishing Tips for Early Season Flyrodding

(91) Know Your Knots

(92) Alternative Thoughts about Ice Fishing

(93) Tips for Mexican Bonefishing

(94) Techniques for Tantalizing Grayling

(95) Understanding Fly Leaders & Tippets

(96) Catfish on the Fly

(97) Get Your Backswimmer On

(98) Reading the Sonar

(99) Insect Identification Made Easy

(100) The Sinker and Floating Plug

(101) GADGETS & GIZMOS for "OLD GUYS"

(102) Fishing Drop Offs

(103) Stay On Fish

(104) Landing The Big One

(105) Fighting Fish on a Fly Rod

(106) North Saskatchewan River - Be River Aware

(107) Backswimmer Pothole Trout Frenzy

(108) Hunt for Suspended Fish

(109) Reading Your Waters Before You Cast

(110) Setting Up Your Bait Casting Reel

(111) Fishing Journals

(112) First Casts of the Season are at a River Near You

(113) The Crazy Whitefish Days of Last Ice

(114) The Bait of Choice

(115) Shallow Water Jumbo Perch

(116) Getting Started on the Ice

(117) Plan an Ice Fishing Getaway

(118) Brookie Season

(119) River Fishing is Heating Up

(120) Become a Better Angler

(121) The Forgotten Pike

(122) Get Out Your Plugs and Spoons

(123) Slip Bobber is King in Spring

(124) See You at the Show

(125) Red Hot Whitefish

(126) Staging Walleye

(127) The Lure of Lake Whitefish

(128) Great Rainbow Fishing At First Ice

(129) A Simple Approach to Ice Fishing

(130) Big Pike Combo Approaches

(131) Gearing up for Fall Whitefish

(132) River of Gold

(133) Bottom Bounce Your Way to Success

(134) Small Stream Fun

(135) Consider the Spawn and Water Temperature
for Early Season Fish

(136) I Believe - The Glow in Glow Jigs

(137) Tricks to Improve Your Ice Fishing

(138) Trout Fishing is Red Hot

(139) Dealing With Fishing Pressure

(140) All I Want For Christmas

(141) Staying Warm on the Ice

(142) Hunting Big Browns in Lakes

(143) Where Did All Those Walleye Go?

(144) Keep an Eye on the Weather, Fury of a Storm

(145) Great and Affordable Fishing on the West Coast

(146) Lake Whites in the Summer? You Bet

(147) Prime Time for Lakers

(148) A Slip Bobber is so Much More

(149) Ice Fishing for Pike and Walleye

(150) Catching a Big Pike

(151) Purchasing a Rod

(152) Catching Rainbows through the Ice

(153) Gearing up for the Snow and Ice

(154) Gearing Up For Pike

(155) Getting the Most out of Your Fly Fishing Set Up

(156) The Bottom’s Up in Fishing

(157) Fish Where They’re Biting

(158) Three Standard Walleye Presentations

(159) Two Early Season Presentations for Pothole Trout

(160) Tackle Tips for Catch and Release Fishing

(161) Keeping Your Head Above Water

(162) HEALTHY BAIT CATCHES FISH!

(163) Beginner Baitcasting Tips