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Keeping Safe: Top Ice Fishing Safety Tips, As Winter Lakes Freeze

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Keeping Safe: Top Ice Fishing Safety Tips, As Winter Lakes Freeze - Ice Fishing Digest

As Old Man Winter roars in with his cold blasts of arctic air fishermen eagerly await the process of growing ice on lakes and ponds over much of the midwest.

As many anglers are starting to get out for the popular early ice fishing season thoughts should be on safety before traveling on early fishing season ice.

“Many of us can’t wait to get out on the ice each winter,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Ice fishing is a fun, inexpensive activity for anglers of all ages to get outdoors and avoid cabin fever.”

The DNR recommends a minimum of four inches of clear ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.

“Check ice thickness as you make your way to your favorite fishing spot,” Larscheid said. “Ice conditions change constantly and its thickness can vary across the lake. Trust your instincts – if the ice does not look right, don’t go out.”

Early season ice offers an incredible possibility for fishing success. If fish are finicky, we suggest cutting a progression of ice fishing holes and spend at least 15 minutes fishing each ice hole. Fishing with small live bait or small artificial ice fishing lures and light-weight ice fishing line are all good ice fishing advice.

7 Top Ice Fishing Safety Tips on The Ice

Frabill Deluxe Retractable Ice Picks - Ice Fishing Digest

Pictured: Frabill Deluxe Retractable Ice Picks – Ice Fishing Digest

  1. No ice is 100 percent safe.
  2. New ice is usually stronger than old ice.
  3. Don’t go out alone – if the worst should happen, someone will be there to call for help or to help rescue.
  4. Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
  5. Check ice thickness as you go out – there could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed.
  6. Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
  7. The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.

Top Basic Ice Fishing Safety Items to Carry

Palmyth Ice Fishing Gloves Convertible Mittens Flip Fingerless Mitt with Thinsulate 3M - Ice Fishing Digest

Pictured: Palmyth Ice Fishing Gloves Convertible Mittens Flip Fingerless Mitt with Thinsulate 3M – Ice Fishing Digest

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Best Tungsten Ice Fishing Jig Kit

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The Goture Tungsten Ice Fishing Jig Kit with Carbon Steel Hooks in Tackle Box - Ice Fishing Digest

The Goture Tungsten Ice Fishing Jig Kit with Carbon Steel Hooks in Tackle Box.

This fishing gift for men is full of some of the best winter ice fishing tungsten lures for catching bass, pike, trout, walleye, crappie, perch, bluegill, sunfish, and other fish species.

 

This fishing gift set makes an ideal choice as a fishing gift for the men in your life who love ice fishing.

The tungsten ice fishing jig kit is best used during cold days of winter for ice fishing. This tungsten ice fishing jig kit has ice fishing jigs of multiple shapes and sizes include ice fishing jig heads of different weights for ice fishing fish at different depths.

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The tungsten ice fishing jig kit also includes ice fishing grubs that have been designed specifically for spinning tackles– making them easy enough to use even if you’re just starting out to explore ice fishing!

And don’t forget about the secret ice fishing weapon, the ice fishing spoon…it’s the perfect ice fishing lure for targeting panfish like crappie, bluegill, and perch during winter because its wide edge helps keep your line away from sensitive areas where weeds grow thickest.

Goture Ice Fishing Jigs Tungsten Ice Fishing Lures Ice Fishing Gear Ice Fishing Kit Ice Fishing Jigging Spoons 6 Types, Pack of 27

$19.99  in stock
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as of May 12, 2022 8:44 pm

Features

  • 【Full Ice Jig Accessories】The kit comes with 27 pcs jigs. There are 11pcs drop jigs (two types), 4pcs spoons, 4pcs slick jigs, 4pcs minnow spoons, and 4pcs minnow spoons(smaller). Different shapes and colors meet all your needs. Our spoons are heavier than others, making it possible to sink quickly. All the jigs come with a high-quality plastic box.
  • 【Luminous & Bright Color Paint】The drop jigs and banana jigs are coated with fluorescent paint which makes them glow in the dark for high visibility. The ice fishing jigs definitely painted with bright colors on the whole body. Bright colors will bring amazing responses and be more attractive to fishing targets. The body coating is realistic and vivid which contributes to its highly reflective light and increases the hook-up ratio.
  • 【Sharp & Durable Hook】The tungsten ice fishing jigs are made of high-quality carbon steel for high performance and longevity which makes them even more dependable to use both in saltwater and freshwater. Neither going to corrode nor rust. Super sharp hooks with barb make it hard for the fish to escape once they bite down on it.
  • 【Unique Fish Attraction Design】Different types have different shapes and hook designs for different fish, to meet all your winter needs. Lifelike swimming posture is our basic requirement for every lure. The ice jigs also have a lifelike appearance, such as 3D eyes and flash surface to increase your odds of striking your catch.
  • 【Target Fishes & Worry-free Warranty】This is basically a target for walleye, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie panfish, bass, sunfish, etc. Besides the hook can be used with live bait. If you receive a problem with the quality of the product, or if the quantity is incorrect, please contact us in time. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

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Ice Fishing for Crappie: 5 Best Ice Fishing Tips

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Ice Fishing for Crappie - Ice Fishing Digest Magazine

When we start talking about ice fishing for crappie, hard water fishermen get excited.

For ice fishermen across the ice belt, crappie is one of the most sought-after species. It is rewarding for an ice fisherman to master crappie fishing on the ice. If you want to find crappie, jig for crappie, and catch crappie at night, you have to follow our best 5 ice fishing crappie tips.

1. How to Find Crappie Ice Fishing

It can be difficult to keep up with the movements of crappie during the winter season. Staying mobile and using a flasher are the best ways to find crappie in the winter. In 5-15 feet of water, early ice crappie will hold the cover of weed lines and thick weed beds.

The healthiest weeds hold the most fish because of their ability to produce oxygen and attract bait. During the winter crappie will move to the basin of the lake and suspend off the bottom.

In the top half of the water column, the crappie suspends where the highest oxygen levels and most bait will be located. The crappie will move back to the shallows after a while. You can use your flasher to mark crappie in the water column before you start fishing.

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2. Jigging for Crappie Ice Fishing

During the cold winter months when the fishing waters are frozen over, crappie will hold together in small groups called, pods or schools, they will feed on plankton that frequent heavy vegetation and structure such as underwater brush. and ice fishing lure for crappie that mimics plankton such as a tungsten ice fishing jig is the best ice fishing lure for crappie.

Jigging for crappie is the most popular way to catch crappie during the winter ice fishing season.

Our favorite crappie jigging method works like this:

  1. Drop your ice fishing lure to the bottom and then with your fishing reel – bring your ice fishing lure up a few feet and work a 1–2 foot section of the water column, and if you do not notice any fish action.
  2. Then, move your lure up a few more feet within that water column and perform that same jigging method, keep repeating until you notice some fishing success. The majority of bites occur when your bait is moving upward. You should move from hole to hole until you find active crappies.
  3. If you do not catch any crappie or the fish are just not biting you can opt for a fishing location change or you can try this ice fishing method at another point in the day – such as ice fishing for crappie at night.

Just like us fishermen, the crappie do not always feed on a dedicated schedule, so ice fishing at variable times of the day can oftentimes improve your ice fishing results and help you place more slab crappie on the ice.

3. Crappie Ice Fishing at Night

The peak bite times for crappie are dawn and dusk, with crappie feeding most active during the night hours. It’s important for you as an ice fisherman to take advantage of these crappie fishing times to catch the most active crappie in your ice fishing location.

Crappie jigging is most effective when done at night when fish are active and feeding. You should use crappie ice fishing jigs that are bright and colorful. Ice fishing lures such as soft plastic ice fishing baits can be added to a tungsten ice jig. This ice fishing lure setup will definitely attract the attention of hungry, (nighttime) feeding crappie.

If the night fishing is tough, we then recommend sticking with a simple ice fishing setup consisting of an ice fishing pole with a live crappie minnow or even a fathead minnow to convince picky fish into biting your bait.

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Where fishing regulations allow, a glow stick or underwater light can be used to help illuminate your bait and underwater fishing area when ice fishing crappie at night. Using the glow stick or underwater light fishing trick for ice fishing crappie will help you to attract small baitfish and plankton all of which crappie are attracted to feeding on.

Ice Fishing Gear Talked About in This Story

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4. Where to Ice Fishing Crappie

Heavy Vegetation

You can find out where the crappie is holding by looking at the seasonal patterns that affect oxygen and light levels. Remember that when ice fishing crappie you’ll find them in and around shallow vegetation during early and late ice, and in the basins or deeper water areas during the mid-winter and late winter ice.

Underwater Ledges

The crappie prefer ledges because they give them quick access to deep water during the winter. The best crapping fishing ledges can be found close to where creek and river channels intersect with each other, along the outer sides of a river bend, and along the edges of the bluffs. There are sunken brush piles on the ledges that are home to the largest concentrations of crappie.

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Concrete Pillars or Concrete Pillions

There are many attractive features for wintertime crappie near concrete pillars or concrete pillions, whichever the case maybe. The sun warms the concrete of the pillars and/or pillions and the water surrounding those bridge supports, which attracts the fish. Crappie in and around concrete cover can be found at a number of depths across the span of the bridge, thanks to the fact that the bridge will have a supporting row of pilings running from shallow to deep water all of which locations would be suitable to fish for crappie in the winter. These winter sanctuaries are enriched by savvy anglers who like to try to stack the odds in their favor in the coming winter months by tying brush piles together and then dropping them next to the concrete pillars and pillions thus creating amazing winter crappie habitat.

5. Using Ice Fishing Sonar for Ice Fishing Crappie

There are a lot of benefits to having an ice fishing sonar unit on the ice.

You can easily find the drop-offs, holes, and hidden structures under the water that can concentrate fish in the winter. The important transition zones between the hard and soft bottom areas can be found with the help of a sonar display.

By making use of an ice fishing sonar you can literally watch the crappies’ reaction to your ice fishing lure, you can then adjust your ice fishing jigging strategy to help entice the crappie to strike. Which makes the use of an ice fishing sonar system very favorable among many a fisherman.

At a range of price points, there are many options for ice fishing sonar units. Basic units start at around $300, while feature-loaded ice fishing sonar combo units that include underwater video can cost up to $1,000.

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It is difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison of all ice fishing sonars because they have so many different features.

Instead, ice fishermen should choose between the flashers and the liquid crystal display units, which are the main categories of portable sonar.

With the same starter costs, it’s difficult to decide whether to buy a flasher or an LCD unit. There are pros and cons to both styles and they will help you catch fish.

It is up to the individual to decide which basic and advanced features are worth having, and whether or not to pick an ice fishing sonar or underwater camera package for ice fishing.

There is no perfect ice fishing sonar unit for every ice fisherman, and there is no shortage of options. When shopping for an ice fishing sonar unit, remember to consider your budget, target species, style of fishing, and comfort zone for learning new technology. Regardless of the ice fishing sonar unit you choose, it will no doubt help you put more fish on the ice this winter.

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In Conclusion

Remember to stay mobile and make use of your ice fishing electronics until you catch some fish. Don’t forget when ice fishing for crappie it’s a good idea to mix in live bait like fathead and crappie minnows for when the crappie are just not biting on your ice fishing lures of choice.

You can also try ice fishing for crappie with ice fishing lures that mimic minnows for those larger, more aggressive feeding crappie, because these ice fishing lures usually represent baits that mimic the typical food source, plankton, which crappie actively feed on.

We hope that these ice fishing tips for crappie this ice fishing season and ice fishing seasons to come.

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