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Ice Fishing Basics

7 Rules to Catch More FISH Through the Ice?

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Mastering the Ice Fishing Basics will help you join that Elite group of fishermen that catch fish virtually every time out. I've categorized the ice fishing basics into 7 simple rules, that can make you the "envy of the ice".

Isn't it kind of fun to have everyone else wondering what the heck you're using? or why you're getting bites when it's pretty slow for everyone else? Just having being successful nearly every time out, makes it well worth knowing these rules...

Rule #1... Know Your Fish!

Understand the wintertime behavioral patterns of the species you are targeting. Know their typical behavior during early, mid and late winter seasons, as the water temperatures below the ice are changing. Knowing what structure your species holds to, and 'why'. These are critical aspects of successful ice fishing.

Any article on ice fishing basics will mention this because it's a basic concept, but not easily mastered. Different species react differently to dropping water temperatures. Different species prefer different submerged structure, for various reasons.

Feeding habits change for various reasons. Some fish species, like Lake Trout, are more adapted to cold water, than others. Please read my pages on commonly targeted Ice Fishing Species for more detailed information.

Rule #2... Know Your Lake

More specifically, know your lake's waters and structure and where to find Healthy underwater vegetation. Also, it pays to understand how the vegetation may have been affected by fluctuating water levels in the fall, or by fall weather conditions.

Understanding various types of underwater structure and vegetation, as well as how to find these things is an important topic, that deserves an 'in-depth' look.

A mere mention in a page about ice fishing basics is grossly inadequate. More in-depth information appears on the various species pages, for example ...Ice Fishing Walleye.

There are pages on several other species as well, for your enjoyment.

Rule #3... Be Prepared

Proper planning is key. Visualize what you might need, given any situation. Clothing, food, transportation, tackle, and equipment.

Being prepared means having everything you need, along with several items that simply increase your catch.

ALSO... It's not enough just to have the right tackle, the right equipment, it's got to be in good working condition.

The more you get into ice fishing, the more you'll want to 'Gear-Up'. This link takes you to another of my pages that can help you to be prepared. Ice Fishing Equipment

Rule #4... Be Versatile

Versatility is a major component of ice fishing basics. Being able to find what works. Having a decent selection of lures, jigs, colors, plastics and baits.

Knowledge of multiple rigging options, line types, lure and jig combinations, etc. Trying different movements, different jigging techniques, drop speeds, depths, scents, etc. Being versatile is extremely important within the scope of ice fishing basics.

Again, this is covered in more depth on the page... Ice Fishing Species.

Rule #5... Mobility is KEY

It's possible to punch a single hole through the ice, sit down and catch fish all day long, and that actually happens quite often, but those aren't the days when we need information on ice fishing basics.

Let's face it, fishing all day long in a hole that is not producing is just silly. I mean, it has its advantages, if you just want to kick back and drink a few brews, but wouldn't you rather catch fish while you're there? Once a spot cools off, or you just can't trigger a bite, its time to move.

Use your flasher to check for fish in the other holes you drilled earlier, or drill some holes on the opposite side of the bar or hump, or find another likely area altogether. This is especially productive when fish are easily located.

Fish a hole while it's hot, and then go introduce yourself to some new fish. Move on as the fish move on. Mobility is a huge advantage to ice fishermen. And a crucial part of ice fishing basics. If you're not quite sure what I mean by a flasher, read this page... Ice Fishing Species.

Rule #6... Expand Your Knowledge

Continually strive to learn. Learning the ice fishing basics is a good starting point, if you're a newbie, remember this: Good fishermen are never satisfied. They're always looking for more, something to give them an 'edge'.

Learning more about recent technological advances, or new lures hitting the market, submerged structure, effects of weather patterns on fishing, lunar phases, it goes on and on.

How about the fisherman that knows every trick in the book? He's always looking for new information, new tricks of the trade. He's still learning because he likes catching fish, and being the guy that "knows every trick in the book".

Ice fishing has its share of intricasies, tips and tricks. Spend some time, especially during the offseason, to broaden your knowledge base. Keep your eyes open for something to add to your arsenal of tricks. Finding new techniques will also add to the anticipation of the upcoming ice fishing season.

Rule #7... Positive Thinking

Obviously this applies to much more than ice fishing basics. Thinking positively affects all aspects of life. The Power of positive thinking applies to ice fishing basics as much, or more than any of the rules.

Visualize your idea of the perfect day on the ice, from start to finish. Feeling great, beautiful weather, appreciating your wife's smile, choosing the perfect spot, over the perfect structure and the bite that leads to a story for the grand kids.

Visualize it and believe it!

Above All, Have Fun! Thanks for reading this page on ice fishing basics. I hoped you enjoyed it. Good luck ice fishing!

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