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Ice fishing essentials

Post By: xavierk31      Posted: 9/13/2022 1:53:28 PM     Points: 4933    
Ok so this is for all the "ice fishing weirdos" - I'm gonna try and get into it on my own this year. I have the proper clothing, I have a couple rods I inherited from my dad, and I'm going to get a hand auger because I want the flexibility of fishing up in RMNP.
What other things are an absolute must other than a sled, a scoop and a bucket? Looking to do this on the cheap or buy it in stages if I can, and storage space is also an issue.

 Reply by: Dakota Dude      Posted: 9/13/2022 2:07:29 PM     Points: 2571
Sounds like you have what you need. If you want it to be slightly more enjoyable and have more action, get a flasher.
 Reply by: kottob      Posted: 9/13/2022 3:01:15 PM     Points: 229
Good boots make all the difference. A flasher will change your ice fishing experience as well, my buddy bought a Vex 12 at a flea market for under $100. Multitude of jigs and spoons will help, Its always good to switch up presentation.
 Reply by: Goosehunter82      Posted: 9/13/2022 3:13:57 PM     Points: 75688
Warm clothes and a flasher.
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: 9/13/2022 3:54:38 PM     Points: 5225
So far 3 recommendations for a flasher. A great pick up and will change your whole experience. However I will just say that there is definitely a personal preference when it comes to a flasher vs. a graph. My first fish finder was the Garmin Striker 4. Cheap (for what you get) and was easily the best purchase I've made. It is more of the traditional graph style display, vs the flasher style. I should say that the Striker 4 comes with a Flasher mode, so keep that in mind. Overall I am one that prefers the graph. I don't like the flashers and personally I feel like I know way more about what's going on below me using the graph and A-scope feature. Again, personal preference so just know what you like before you spend the money.
 Reply by: chodeman      Posted: 9/13/2022 5:27:43 PM     Points: 3471
Just my opinion, but Flashers and graphs both have pluses and minuses. Flasher is real time and can be crucial if you are fishing panfish, rainbows and walleyes. Often time I won't even look at my line when using a flasher. Graphs are critical when fishing Big Game Fish like Lakers and Pike. The graph will show you that the fish is there, but once you see them on the graph, I tend to stay focused on the line and feel. I have often wondered if I could only own one, which I would choose, and for me it would be a flasher (maybe). Hard to beat a simple classic Vexilar FL-8!

 Reply by: phidoux      Posted: 9/13/2022 5:41:26 PM     Points: 8973
Ice picks and a spud bar. Especially in the early ice season. Watch Craigs list for deals on equipment as they will start coming up with the ice season getting closer.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 9/13/2022 8:16:49 PM     Points: 24
Ice picks and spud bar!!! And wear your pfd! Flasher/ graph really does make a difference. Finally some bobbers and bobber stops. The dead stick normally catches more fish for me. Jaw jacker would be the next thing Iíd buy as well. Embarrassed to say the jaw jacker usually out fishes me.
 Reply by: dasflikken      Posted: 9/13/2022 8:56:20 PM     Points: 9529
A hut. That's how I got into ice fishing. A buddy of mine threw an old hut into the back of my truck and it was lights out after that. 12 seasons and waaaay more money than I'll admit to (my wife), it's my favorite activity. You don't have to get a great, big, or expensive hut, but get one. You won't regret it. If space is an issue, get a backpacking sized hut. They're usually the cheapest ones anyway.
 Reply by: dasflikken      Posted: 9/13/2022 9:02:34 PM     Points: 9529
Oh, and by the way, my fishing buddy passed away last year and I have 2 items left of his to sell. A Nils USA 8" auger, and a Vexilar 30 Lithium. Auger goes for $175 new, you can get this one for $100. The flasher goes for around $800, you can get this one for $600.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: 9/13/2022 9:38:35 PM     Points: 9902
Even if you never get a sonar, I feel that spring bobbers are essential for trout and panfish. They are also very cheap and take up little space.

Essentially makes the rod tip extra sensitive, and easy to see the lightest strikes: [log in for link]

This link is just one style out of many.
 Reply by: johnski      Posted: 9/14/2022 7:59:54 AM     Points: 3229
I sure like a hut to get out of the wind on those nasty days. My days of standing out in the wind are over. A comfortable chair, a cup of hot coffee and snacks and I can stay out there all day...well until the winds try to send me to Kansas.
 Reply by: Barnacles      Posted: 9/14/2022 8:26:05 AM     Points: 4310
Agree with everyone above --- spud bar and picks are #1 and 1A for me.
I have too many expensive hobbies, so I still don't have a flasher, jaw jacker, shelter, or even a bucket.

One more thing that you hopefully won't ever need, but this is free:

Some of my favorite places are an hour away from any rescue.
Be prepared to get yourself out if you go down.
Several of these videos out on youtube that are very helpful.

[log in for link]
 Reply by: JKaboom      Posted: 9/14/2022 9:46:46 AM     Points: 703
- *** Phidoux's safety gear recommendations are definitely essential *** A pfd as others suggested is a great idea too that I use and a 50' piece of paracord with a #2 end (I just use a short piece of steel pipe tied on). If you go through, you have your pfd and you chuck the rope out so if someone can help pull you is invaluable. Tie the other end around you or your pfd NOT your sled as it can take you down. Never had to do it and hope I never do...
- Malty falcon's suggestion of spring bobber is essential, really helps with the light strikes.
- I would get a hut before any electronics, I fished over 30 years without electronics and it did make a big difference when I bought some about 6 years ago. But when I got a hut 10 years ago (won it in a tournament) it was by far the best thing I added. I would suggest as dasflikken did a small backpacking type one (I always strapped it into my jet-sled jr.) I had this one and getting ready to get this one [log in for link] (the other one wore out after 10 years). This is the one I am going to get either this season or next depending on my budget [log in for link] For now though it's back to the bucket and good gear/boots/clothing will be just fine, it did for over 30 years.
- One last thing and that is a "depth finder" so you have an idea of how deep the water is (especially when fishing with very light teardrops) [log in for link] $3. Essentially run it to the bottom then bring it up however far you are going to (I usually do about 18" off the bottom to start) then hand line it up and drop your righ without the depth finder. It's old school but still a good method.
- My entire jet-sled jr with hut, buckets, rods, cooler, snacks, ion power auger - under #50.
 Reply by: johnski      Posted: 9/14/2022 5:49:45 PM     Points: 3229
Okay and once you have all that stuff, get a few hand warmer packs at your local hardware. Some for the pockets and I really like the ones that stick to the socks and help keep the toes toasty. I too am a graph man. I am on high alert when I see the echo approaching and it adds so much excitement to the whole experience.
 Reply by: Elrod      Posted: 9/16/2022 6:23:18 PM     Points: 115
Ice scoop is #1. A bucket topper or a chair of some sort is #2. No body can stand all day, and I understand you'll get piles from sitting on the ice. A reel up type fiberglass tape measure and a heavy weight is #3. You need to know the depth you're in before you hand drill a bunch of holes. Take it from me. A flasher comes after you can honestly say you had a good time.
 Reply by: xavierk31      Posted: 9/20/2022 4:39:52 PM     Points: 4933
Thanks everyone!
 Reply by: gsn1574      Posted: 9/20/2022 7:11:24 PM     Points: 2194
dasflikken, if your still looking to sell that Nils, I'd be interested in purchasing it. Email me at if your interested.
 Reply by: GoNe_FiShIn_11      Posted: 9/20/2022 7:33:46 PM     Points: 10574
I always drag some sort a chair out and never use the thing. Well I put my coat on it at times. I never sit when fishing. Even fishing off the boat. If Iím sitting in a hut I donít fish near as long. Iím usually on the move. Unless I find the honey hole. Then usually stand over it.

My gear is usually ice picks, auger with drill, couple of small boxes of jigs and spoons with a few rods. Clothes appropriate for the day. Good boots and cleats and gloves. Punch holes until you find um.

Fish Finder is a must once you get serious about ice fishing.

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