We are getting ready for our first ice fishing adventure of the winter. Rumor has it that the ice is indeed forming atop Snag Lake. This lovely little lake is located about a 2 hour drive from us…somewhat in a north-western direction. The weather there is much colder than here because not only is it further north, but, the elevation is much higher as well. It is our usual first lake of the season to freeze over to a safe enough thickness of ice. There is an exploratory excursion planned for a brave few (not me) to check the lake for ice in a few days.
Getting things together is not a big deal as we keep our ice fishing supplies in these handy buckets which double as comfy seats. Our neighbor who has lived in and fished the area lakes for many years was kind enough to make the seats for us. Everything that we need fits inside these with room to spare for the last minute addition of bait, lunch and coffee thermoses.
Here is what we take along inside the buckets:
- a small plastic tackle box with an assortment of hooks, lines, leaders and the ever useful needle-nose pliers (for taking hooks out of fish, clip line and even hooks if necessary
- a good stainless steel knife that won’t rust (to gut/clean fish or for cutting bait)
- a small flat file or a triangle file (keep hooks sharp)
- Tylenol or Ibuprofen and any necessary medication
- matches or a lighter just in case
- a fish bonker, plastic bags to carry our catch home
- ice chip and slush scooper (and a spare one in case one breaks)
- short plastic fishing rods with appropriate line and hooks depending on fish type
- extra line, headlamp, good grip type glove, toilet paper
- a gaff hook secured to bucket for those ones that slip off just inside the hole
- personal urinals (no pee on the lake)
- water bowl and biscuits for the dogs
In the sled we also bring a tent, a propane ceramic heater, an ice auger, a fish finder (for the deep water lakes only), plastic covered mats for the dogs to lie on, and wooden foot rests with hinged flap to go over the ice holes (my husband made these at my request; as soon as I clear a fish from the hole I like to smack the flap shut with my foot to prevent those sneaky “get-aways”).
Once the ice is confirmed as thick enough…12 inches at least…we pull just one sled with the snowmobile. At the start and end of season, when the ice is thinner, we split the load in two and each pull a sled.