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Prepping for Early Ice!

Guest Blog by: Mitch Bradshaw 10/16/2013
Itís that time of year again...when a select group of fisherman begin going stir crazy waiting for the lakes to freeze over. While the others are out braving the chill on the water in hopes of catching an aggressive and large fall Brown trout or spending their time in the fields hunting Elk, Deer, Ducks, etc. - this group is preparing and getting their gear ready for "early iceĒ. 

I, personally, am almost completely ready for this upcoming ice season. I recently purchased my first portable shack Ė a Frabill Trekker II Ė so I have been slowly making some modifications to that. I purchased a new, stronger, and longer pull rope; bought a replacement window; patched a small hole in the side; cleaned out the bottom of the sled; tightened all the bolts and screws; ran steel wool over all the poles; purchased an overhead light - for fishing after dark; and lastly I took fine sand paper and Armor All to the sled bottom to help reduce drag. I would love to put some Hyfax runners on the sled bottom to help prolong the life of the sled but I havenít done this yet.

In an attempt to be prepared for first ice, I also re-spooled most of my comboís, cleaned up a few reels, re-lubed and added new leaders onto my tipups, put fresh gas in my auger and ran it a few times (which turned a few neighbors lights on), re-organized my jig boxes, and re-charged all of my flasher batteries.

I plan on shopping at a few stores and purchasing some of the new and latest jigs. I hope to get into the high country for my first outing either the weekend of Oct. 26th or Nov. 9th (I'll be out of town the weekend of Nov. 2nd).

I can't be the only one chomping at the bit to get out! So what have you done to prepare for the upcoming ice season?

I am excited to hear others' tips and tricks on how they prepare for the ice season and I look forward to seeing some of you out on the ice this season!
Sunrise on Christmas MorningPB Walleye so far 25 inches 14 inch girth12 inch Black Crappie which got me 2nd place in an ice fishing tourney in Wisconsin
Blog content © Mitch Bradshaw
Member comments
opencage, CO   10/16/2013 2:07:48 PM
Well, now I got the itch too! Good write up, I just got into ice fishing last winter, and I like it. I never thought I'd enjoy sitting in the cold so much, but it's not any crazier than asking my neighbors if I have their dog's hair for fly dubbing. Fun fishing!
FishWhacked, CO   10/16/2013 2:37:27 PM
Nice write up and way to get us all excited for the ice! I'm slapping my old Nordic twin tip skis onto my Jetsled XL tomorrow. I use my Vex all year so it's charged and ready. I plan on heading to BPS soon to browse their ice fishing gear and probably buy too many ice jigs and pick up some new spoons. I always build at least one new ice rod per season using old, broken full size rod pieces. They work great for Mac fishing due to the stiff flex. I'll be starting my ice season the 1st or 2nd week in Nov too in the high-high country. Bring on the colder temps and ice!!
IceFishingFool, CO   10/16/2013 3:50:17 PM
after 42 years ordered a new pair of Sorels, oiled and waxed them. Put new plug in Auger, sharped 2 sets of extra auger blades, charged flasher batteries, made extra rod savers (someone always wants one when they see mine) Packed extra gloves in Rod bag, Filled shed heater propane tank, Tightened rod holders on sled, Tied some more of my 3 go to colors of Ice flies. Sharped/checked all hooks. Made list of what was missing in tackle boxes. Made 2 more 48 inch Laker rods, Moved grumpy old man hat front and center on closet shelf LOL
Flyrodn, CO   10/16/2013 4:30:19 PM
Me, I'm going to stay in denial and fish any open water I can find right up to the bitter end!!!
Clure29, CO   10/16/2013 4:55:08 PM
I am also SO ready! Ordered 2 new combos, had to upgrade the tackle box. Old one is just beat up from years of use and abuse. I had also been looking online for a few years for a new blade for the auger. Finally found one on eBay for a great price! About time to re-line the poles that I will be using. Flasher battery all charged and ready. Auger tuned up and checked out. Checked the bait pucks to make sure they were cleaned and ready. To my surprise I still had waxies in one. Still alive from April!! Wow! Where will you find ice at the end of the month?! TIGHT LINES!
Mitch Bradshaw (MNBassFisher), CO   10/17/2013 9:41:12 AM
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one! IceFishingFool - your Sorels lasted you 42 years!?! I feel like you should send that information to Sorel as success story to their quality!
FlyFishingJoe, CO   10/17/2013 6:17:20 PM
I've been pumped for ice fishing since I moved to Colorado in July! I've bought a ton of ice line, new tungsten jigs, a new jig box, a Tuned Up Custom noodle rod, a Striker ice fishing coat (the zipper went out on my Artic Armor coat) , new gloves, Frabill cap etc! I'm so ready...
Flyrodn, CO   10/17/2013 10:59:31 PM
I'll go, but you should know, I do have all the necessary gear for most species. Been icing since the early 70's. I just prefer open water. My body doesn't take cold like it used to.
Dakota Dude, CO   10/18/2013 7:19:20 AM
the wait is finally coming to an end. Pretty soon we will be able to slide the sleds over hard water and get the auger blades wet. I've been waiting all year. It's my first season ice fishing in Colorado so I am not entirely sure what it will bring, but regardless I can't wait to flip over my otter cabin, fire up the heater, and drop the lines down the water. I've watched a lot of your videos since I moved here from South Dakota after graduating law school. Let me know if you need a fishing buddy or some one to brave early ice with.
Mitch Bradshaw (MNBassFisher), CO   10/18/2013 9:00:31 AM
Dave - I have a big heater for the size of my shack so if we go - I'll crank her on high for ya! Dakota Dude - that sounds good man, shoot me and email via my profile on here! Where-abouts in CO do you live now?
IceFishingFool, CO   10/18/2013 9:44:34 AM
Dakota Dude, Early icing with IceFishingFool is never a dull moment. Several can attest to that. I was ask lake side yesterday, if I was going to be the first on the ice again this year -) . Watching the snowflakes this morning, almost had me going to double and triple check everything.
Flyrodn, CO   10/18/2013 11:10:45 AM
Ok, I will go, and we'll set up a time. Just remember I'm a bit of a coward, and consider 4 inches of ice marginal. Although, I have ridden with Bud once on his ice sled, so I've either a bit of courage or a lack of common sense.
IceFishingFool, CO   10/18/2013 11:40:56 AM
I still think it would have been cool, to chainsaw a long trench in the ice for Dave to get out a long rod and whip the ice into submission LOL
JKaboom, CO   10/20/2013 8:12:28 AM
I've bee working the fall bite but it's high time to get the gear ready !!!
Mitch Bradshaw (MNBassFisher), CO   10/20/2013 8:29:30 PM
That sounds good Dave! 4" plus is not a bad rule of thumb. I've been out on some sketchy ice before and in the grand scheme of things, it's not worth it.
Mitch Bradshaw
Guest Blogger