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Icefishing at Dark


Ice Fishing - A Perfect Way To Spend A Winter Day

By Toni Grundstrom

There is a draw between a lake and a fisherman. The summer brings out your boat, warm breezes, and fishing under the bright blue sky.

When the snow puts an icy blanket over it, the lake continues it's frosty invitation. Eskimos do it. So do polar bears and seals.

People in Norway, Sweden, New York and Minnesota do it too. What is it? It's ice fishing!

Wherever there's a lake with ice thick enough to walk on, you will find people ice fishing. This charming sport has entertained fishermen in the 'off' season for ages.

Putting on layers of warm, dry clothes, you can't help but feel a part of the long line of ice fishers before you.

Although the concept of the sport seems simple, it is not as easy as it sounds.

People often think that ice fishing only involves digging a hole in a lake and then throwing your line into it. The fact is that there is more to it than just trying to stay warm (although that is often a big part of the experience).

After all, it is called ice fishing. If you are not able to catch any fish, than you can hardly call your outing a success. You will find that there is more than your share of hard work involved in catching a fish during the winter. From making the hole in the ice to releasing the fish, there are a lot of little things involved in the process that you never really think about.

But if these little things are not done correctly, it may very well result in lost fish.

Once you have arrived at the lake, it is a good idea to make a pattern of the holes that you want to drill. Generally, the experts say to start your first hole about 10 feet from the shore. You should then drill about four to eight holes in a line.

You may want to drill several lines of holes that create a grid or fan shape in order to thoroughly cover the structure on which you are working. Be sure to do all of your drilling when you first arrive. As you might imagine, fish are frightened by the noisy drill. Do the drilling once, and they will return to the spot before you know it.

There are two basic approaches to ice fishing. There is the active and the passive approach. The active approach is jigging (done by hand or with a wind-operated tip-up), while the passive approach is done by using a set line. Most ice fishing is accomplished using set lines.

A set line is exactly what it sounds like. It is a line sitting still with a minnow on the end waiting for a bite. If you use this method, you are able to fish more than one hole at the same time, as well as do other things, such as cook or make a fire.

A set line will usually be rigged with a single small wire hook tied to the end and a split shot attached six to eighteen inches up the line. A minnow is hooked and the line is sent to within inches of the bottom or into the strike zone. You may also use bear paws to add dropper lines to your main line. This lets you fish at multiple depths. Once you've put the lines down the hole, all you have to do is wait for a hit to set off a flag.

Here are a few ice fishing safety tips: Watch your step. Avoid ice fishing near feeder streams or known springs; brush, logs, plants or docks; multiple ice cracks or ice that is popping or otherwise audible; and dark-colored ice that may be weak. Spread out. Too many people congregated in one area may be more than the ice can safely support. Disperse weight and fishing holes.

You've caught the fish, now what?

When bringing in the line by hand, you have got to make sure the line doesn't go slack. As you are pulling with one hand, grasp the line with the other before letting your first hand go. You are going to also have to judge quickly how green the fish is before it reaches the surface.

If it's too active, the fish will be harder to bring up through the hole, and you will run the risk of losing what you have worked so hard to catch. Once you do have the head through the hole, the fish is all yours. Now that you have the basics, what are you waiting for? Get out on the ice and start fishing!

Toni Grundstrom is a freelance writer. When I work it is in the Marketing field and when I play it is outside. Don't let the winter keep you inside. Click here for information on a great cabin fever reliever.

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