Whether you refer to your enclosure as an ice shanty, hut, shack, house, coop, tent or any other terminology, you’re creating a shelter to keep out of the wind so you can focus on the enjoyment of comradery, or solitude, and the catch of the day. Here are a few must-have essentials forstocking your ice fishing tent that will contribute to the experience.
Though you’ve got your shelter set up, there isn’t much more to protect you from the elements. It’s essential you protect your skin. Since you typically stay in one place while ice fishing, your extremities can get cold quickly. Bring a hat, gloves, a mask, googles, a scarf, thermal gear such as long underwear and heavy socks, heavy boots, and certainly some hand and boot warmers. Plan for the worst—in fact, you might want to consider bringing a spare set of everything.
Depending on whether you’re trying ice fishing out, or planning on making a habit out of it, you can choose between different types of tools. You’ll need an auger, but for irregular fishing trips, you may want a hand-crank auger. Gas-powered augers are a good investment but can only be used for ice with a thickness of six inches or more to avoid cracks due to the vibrations. You should also account for the added weight to your gear.
Buckets and Sleds
Buckets can tote your gear to your desired destination, double as a seat, or hold the fish you’ve caught. Though some ice fishermen drive their vehicles to their desired fishing hole location, most park their car and walk. When transferring your fishing gear from a parking lot to your on-ice local, sleds can be incredibly beneficial. By utilizing a sled, you can load all of your gear and drag it to the hole. If you have any children and decide to bring them, the sled can even carry them.
With handy buckets, a sled, and shelter, if something happens, you’re covered—whether there’s an accident or exhaustion and discomfort from extreme weather and temperature sets in.
No doubt your fishing tent has ventilation. You’ll want to bring a portable heat source. Smokeless bonfires and grills offer a clean heat source with very little smoke emitted. They can be packed up and toted around. They get hotter due to the oxygen holes on the bottom and top which is why there’s barely smoke. Moreover, you can cook on them when you get hungry, allowing you to stay longer and enjoy your time. As with any heat source, take the proper precautions and maintain air circulation.
Proper safety equipment is the most critical aspects of ice fishing. If you’re a beginner, it is recommended you go with an experienced ice fishman your first few times. This way you can learn the importance of procedures and how to properly execute them. The equipment you should bring is a headlamp, ice picks or an anchor, a first aid kit, and a few blankets. If someone does fall through the ice, the blanket will help immensely. Additionally, a map may not seem like safety equipment, but you should always bring one. It’s easy to get disoriented in the cold, surrounded by whipping winds. When you’re finished ice fishing, you’ll need a map to help you find your way back.
Ice Fishing Rods
Of course, you’ll need a fishing rod in order to ice fish, but this should be separate from your normal rod since they’re shorter and have a smaller radius. These rods provide sensitivity to help you feel the slightest nibble. The line that you’ll want to use is especially for ice fishing is thicker and braided to withstand the cold, whereas ordinary line (monofilament) may become brittle over time.
There’s much to consider as you build your list of must-have essentials to stock your ice fishing tent. Next you will need to decide where to go fish. The Monadnock region boasts acres of lakes, ponds, and rivers. Check them out here. Be sure to learn if ice-fishing is allowed!
At the end of the day, you want to set yourself up for success and maintain safety while out there. The rest should just be fun and relaxation.