First Ice Prep


This weekend’s Arctic blast has got me full speed ahead thinking about my upcoming ice fishing season.  Every year, the new ice fishing season presents us with opportunities to learn new things, overcome past obstacles and just flat get a fresh start on things.

But the season doesn’t start once the ice finally forms on your favorite early ice lake.  In fact, it should have already begun.  What shape is your gear in?  Have you inventoried that mess that you “put away” last year? Did you hose out the sled base on your portable shelter, or are there still dead bait, sawdust and candy wrappers?  Better set it up in the garage and check it out…

How about the auger?  Did you put fuel stabilizer in it and fill the tank?  Or better yet SEF 94, the ethanol free super fuel for your small engines? Wipe the entire unit down with a light coating of oil like Amsoil MP or WD-40? No?  Well, better get busy…drain old fuel, fill with fresh, change the spark plug etc., etc.

Inventory those tackle boxes. Replace those favorite jigs and baits now, while the selection in stores is at its best. Don’t think that hot bait is still going to be on the shelves come mid-February, and they won’t be stocking more until next year! If the hook is bent, or rusty, replace it! Sideline the stuff you haven’t used in a couple of years, and make room for the good stuff.

Now, check and charge batteries, put some fresh line on the reels, get some fresh waxies, maggots or your bait of choice and go hit the lake!  Yes, go now, BEFORE it freezes!

This is the time of year that fish start moving into the places that they will spend most of the hardwater months. They are looking for cover/structure that will provide food and security through the long dark period ahead. AND they are hungry. They know the lean times are ahead, and the ones that have seen a season or three are aware they need to make plans to get through another one.

Find those bigger fish now, and know they will be there when you come back in a month or so. Keep a couple for dinner, but don’t put a hurting on them now, for they might decide this isn’t such a great place to winter.  Examine their bellies to see what the food of choice is and file that away.  And if you have one, get to work with the underwater camera and find more of those choice morsels.

Bloodworms burrowing in the bottom on a mud flat?  Crayfish working a rockpile or gravel area? Small minnows on a weedbed or down timber?  All of this info will help you write that playbook for the first game of the ice fishing season, and help you get a leg up on the competition.

Eatin' good in the neighborhood


This is one of my favorite times of the year.  I look forward to first ice from the day I put the gear away in spring. It’s been too long since I landed a jumbo perch through a hole in the ice, but you know what?  I’m ready…literally .

Join us for the Snappy Sport Senter annual ice season kickoff Saturday November 17th in Kalispell.  65th anniversary specials, seminars all day and a chance to meet and discuss all things ice. Look for seminar schedules here real soon!