Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques

What you need to know for successful ice fishing. Types of poles, lines, lures and safety on the ice.

| December/January 1992

7 A.M. I pulled into the parking space and saw that my pal Jimmy had beaten me to the spot. So I carefully made my way out onto the thin, black ice. I had learned early on that commotion on ice will scare away wary game fish. This spot is funny though. Not only do you have to get there at first ice, but you have to be the first one on it. Just one day of fishing is enough to chase the browns off their submerged sand bar for the rest of the season.  

"I just got here—nothing yet," Jimmy said as I approached.  

After 10 years of fishing here, I knew the bar in detail. I chopped a hole gingerly and saw the ice was just thick enough.  

"What will you give me if I catch a trout on the first jig?" I asked.  

He had hardly mouthed his snide retort when my little two-foot jig pole took a nose dive towards the hole. What would soon be a tarragon-broiled brown trout flopped wildly on the ice. It was on the very first jig of the lure.  

Although tip-ups are more common, jigging is the more dynamic and productive method of ice fishing.  

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