Preseason preparation tips for the upcoming ice fishing season
The mercury hasn’t been rising quite as high, and the days are getting shorter. Soon we will be walking on water again. Though I’d never will away the open water season, you’d better believe that as soon as those accesses freeze, I want ice all the way across the lake!
How much time do we have to prepare? That’s anyone’s guess. So start now to be ready to hit the lake as soon as that ice appears. First make a list of what you need to repair or replace and also what items you want to purchase before hitting the ice.
Examine your gear. Remember all those things you were going to fix or adjust last season, but then just stashed away without taking another look? Make those poor decisions right!
Start with the big stuff, check over your shelters and make sure mice haven’t chewed extra ventilation. Patch holes by sewing them up or use a patch from your shelter manufacturer. You can find replacement parts on their websites.
Check the tubing in your flip-over shelters and adjust any loose screws or nuts. Make sure the poles slide and lock as they should. Lubricate the poles with either a silicone spray, WD-40, or my favorite: a gun lubricant called Rem-DriLube, by Remington. Either spray directly on the pole, or I’ll saturate a rag and wipe it on the tube making sure to get all sides. (Pre-season shelter tips)
Attend to your ice augers. Check the blades so there are no nicks or burs on the cutting edge, and replace if necessary. Make sure all nuts and bolts are secure and ready for use. Service your power auger if it didn’t run quite right last season, or if you didn’t follow the proper storage procedure to prevent a plugged carburetor. (Pre-season auger tips)
Fire up your electronics. Clean your sonar units by wiping down the face of the unit with a damp cloth or with whatever the manufacturer suggests. Check the cords on underwater cameras and clean up the camera lens and screens. Charge batteries and make sure all electrical connections fit securely. (Pre-season sonar preparations)
Check over your heaters. Clean them and check the fittings to prevent any leaky disasters.
Pull out all your ice fishing clothing. Take inventory of what you have and make sure it still fits! Pair your gloves and make sure your hats fits snug. Check over your boots and make sure there are no cuts or tears. Being comfortable with warm, dry feet allows you to spend more time on the ice.
Give your ice rods and reels a once-over. Clean the reels and lubricate bearings to prevent premature wear. Respool reels with fresh line to make sure you have the best chance at landing big fish.
Organize your tackle boxes so you know what you have. Make sure hooks are sharp and rust-free. Pick up a couple more of those favorites that helped put numbers of fish topside last season.
Don’t overlook safety equipment. Have ice picks, a lifejacket, a section of rope, and a good ice chisel or spud bar.
After going through all your ice fishing gear you will know what you have to repair or what you have to replace. Ice fishing gear is showing up in all the sporting goods stores already and now you will have the best selection. Get prepared now, because hard water will be here before you know it.
Good luck fishing and stay safe!
Check out more hunting and fishing tips by Jason Revermann HERE.