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Sk8man

List of ice fishing tidbits/tips for newbies?

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It will work but you probably won't get quite as many holes with it if the ice is thick especially. If you already have it I'd try it anyway.

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Safety tip: Get a float suit as an essential precaution. I know they are expensive....but what is the price tag on your life?  Here is the one I and my son use which have been personally tested by both of us in ice conditions :lol:  http://www.idigear.com/arcticarmor1.php

 

It is the warmest suit I've ever experienced no matter what the conditions. I have the one with the extra lining which makes it very warm but it is not as easy as without to get on and off if you use layered clothing underneath. I have both the green and black complete suit and a jacket of the gold (yellow) and black. The green/black is great and doesn't show dirt etc. The yellow/black gets dirty very easily.

 

There are others too such as the Mustang Survival Suit  (example)  http://www.leisurepro.com/p-mstdfs/mustang-survival-deluxe-anti-exposure-flotation-suit?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=shopzilla&scpid=6&scid=scsho1404800&szredirectid=14202949529724319862510060302008005

Edited by Sk8man
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Ice auger consideration:

 

If you are into exercise and fitness a manual 7-8 inch auger is the way to go ....burn a bunch of calories :lol:

 

For the rest of us "dinosaurs" after a few thousand holes it was time for other options....

 

Power  gas augers -  great for thick ice conditions (over 12 inches) but very noisy (spooking fish), potential for leaking gas and fumes in your vehicle (don't ask how I know), and somewhat heavy and bulky to carry with you. If you fish up north a lot probably worth considering. I gave mine away.

 

Power electric augers - jury is still out on them....some recent improvements but again fairly heavy and "clunky" to deal with. No gas to mess with, no fumes, less noise. rechargeable batteries with decent charge times and quieter than gas augers.

 

Electric Drill conversion kit approach -  my favorite (Lithium Ion) and here is why:  Very light weight and compact, no gas cans and oil etc. to mess with, doubles as a great drill in the warmer months, very short charge times, and great power (torque) for drilling many holes without changing batteries. An extra battery can be carried in your jacket pocket to keep it warm but I've drilled 50 plus holes in 6-8 inch ice without need for a second battery. The key thing to success is selecting the right drill for the job.

 

After trying out several different battery powered 1/2 inch drills (Ryobi, Makita, DeWalt, Black and Decker (about the same as DeWalt but maybe not as durable) and Sears.

I tried the 18 volt Lithium Ion 1/2 inch Bosch Hammer drill/driver and wow! It blew the others away big time... It has both  high speed settings and  high torque settings with variable strength settings  from 1 -24. You need to use torque for this application. It is a virtual animal in terms of torque and could almost pull you into the hole if not careful :) . For the bottom part of the auger I used a 7 inch Lazer manual auger with the handle section removed. There are now a number of conversion kits available but I went with the only one I knew about at the time (6 years ago) the Icemaster because it also has a safety cord to prevent loss of the bottom half auger part if somehow the drill chuck were to loosen (never so far). I think it is by far one of the best investments I've ever made (drill) See pic:

I have used the DeWalt 18v drill for several years with a 6" mora auger that works well, I also have 4 batteries, I only get a half dozen holes out of a battery on 18" of ice.I keep the batteries in a insalated bag like a sixpack soft side cooler and if it real cold throw a hand warmer in with them.

You have to run the drill on low or the auger will kick side ways, keep your feet away from the auger when starting a hole the blade will cut through your boot and your foot before you can stop it.

I'd like to try a lazer auger 6" I think I could get more holes out of a battery. Anything I fish for will come through a 6" hole and if it won't I wasn't after it anyway. :lol: Have a safe season.

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Good tip about keeping the batteries warm before use.  I haven't used my auger in 18 inches of ice around here and I'm sure I wouldn't get nearly as many holes in stuff that thick but I have never needed the second battery even after 50 plus holes in 6-8 inches with the 7 inch Lazer. I've had the Strike Master and Mora manual augers and they don't cut nearly as well as the Lazer and I think it is the shape/angle of the blades that may be responsible for it.

 

Tip: Keep the plastic cover over the auger blades when not in use to avoid cuts to clothing and/or dulling of the blades. Some folks also drill a partial hole and leave the auger upright in it but changes in weather could cause it to be stuck or wedge and dulling can occur trying to retrieve it.

Edited by Sk8man
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Good tip about keeping the batteries warm before use.  I haven't used my auger in 18 inches of ice around here and I'm sure I wouldn't get nearly as many holes in stuff that thick but I have never needed the second battery even after 50 plus holes in 6-8 inches with the 7 inch Lazer. I've had the Strike Master and Mora manual augers and they don't cut nearly as well as the Lazer and I think it is the shape/angle of the blades that may be responsible for it.

 

Tip: Keep the plastic cover over the auger blades when not in use to avoid cuts to clothing and/or dulling of the blades. Some folks also drill a partial hole and leave the auger upright in it but changes in weather could cause it to be stuck or wedge and dulling can occur trying to retrieve it.

Good point keep that blade covered when not in use, also after cutting your holes shake the ice and water off the blades or they will ice up and won't cut till you chip all the ice off the blades. Bad for the blades and hell on your fingers.

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Something worth mentioning came up out on the ice a few days ago (once again) and hopefully it won't generate negative feedback but it relates to the use of POWER AUGERS. One of the reasons I got rid of mine was because of the excessive noise it creates and when fishing in shallow water this can be a real problem. I usually drill a bunch of holes at various depths and angles with my drill and then start fishing one and let the others settle down before trying them. Here I am about 30 minutes into fishing the first hole with perch circling my jig and along comes a guy with a power auger and he comes within about 25 ft of me and starts drilling holes right near all my holes that I had been waiting to "calm down". The perch took off like a rocket and didn't return..after another half hour of waiting I gave up on that one and started fishing my other holes in succession....nothing in or near any of them. Given the current clear water conditions and especially in shallow water perch are easily spooked by noises (or even your shadow leaning over the hole sometimes). I guess what I am leading up to is try to be considerate and courteous out there not to mess up other folks by thoughtless actions....there is plenty of room out there without crowding out others and spooking the fish they are trying to catch (its tough enough as it is :lol: ).

Edited by Sk8man

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Excellent point Sk8man!! X2

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

Edited by EsoxAC3

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Sk8man I totally agree. Power and hand both have their place. I'll give you an example on over use, at a local pond so many people use power augers no matter how thick the ice all the home owners complained to the town. End result town has a new law no parking until 8am now on that stretch of road. .........here's a tip spend your money on a lazer or niles perfect for 12" and under and it's like a hot knife through butter.

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I fished Honeoye today and although there were some "lookers" there weren't many "takers" but I realized afterward that my general approach to fishing today might be worth mentioning as there were very few people on the ice other than my son and I because of the deep snow cover on the ice (other alternative reasons are possible too). Sometimes a blend of the new and the old surpasses the newest and greatest. Dragging many of the "stock" shelters (e.g. Clam, Frabill, Eskimo and others over deep snow can challenge the stoutest of heart and body. Some enterprising folks have built "sled" frames with runners to help with this problem made of everything from old skis, to PVC pipe or metal conduit. It provides less surface area for resistance from the snow.

I left my Clam Fishtrap Pro(two person)shelter in the cellar today and went with a more"old school" approach from the 70's and 80's. Some folks may recognize the shelter from that period but probably not newer folks to the ice fishing scene so I thought I'd show another alternative to dragging conventional (heavy) shelters out on deeply snow covered ice. The old trusty Polar Pal "igloo" which folds up and can be carried on your shoulder or in my case just transported in my sled with all my other stuff. It goes up in about 1 minute or less and only weighs about a couple pounds. Coupled with a fold up chair and sometimes a heater it is a welcome substitute for the heavier stuff. To stabilize it in the wind (about 15 mph or more gusts today I packed a little snow around it....no problems.

I carry 7 jigging rods/reels already set up with different jigs test lines,etc. so that when fish are fussy (esp. crappies, gills and perch) I can continue to present different selections to them with minimal effort and quickly despite carrying hundreds of different colored and shaped and sizeed jigs to change if necesary.

One other tip worth mentioning again because I failed to follow my own advice (and paid for it today)....keep the cover over the blades of your auger when not in use. If you notice in the pic there is a surgical quality slit in the left leg knee area leg of my float suit...doesn't pay to be in a hurry when fishing...

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Edited by Sk8man

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I think the problem is you're too close to the hole - SCARING THE FISH :rofl:  It must of been slow if you took time to pose for photos. Does look awful pretty out there.New sled looks good, you should post a picture of your old sled "rigged up"!

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How ironic. I plan on going fishing tomorrow and am leaving my Otter 2 man home and am taking the jet sled with my Polar Pal. It's a shame they don't make these anymore. Great light weight shelter.

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Yes Steelie and I even remember some guys used to use nylon tents with the center section of the floor cut out and anchor them outside with screw in ice anchors but a lot of times just mounding snow around the outside can provide enough to hold them down.  I was thinking when I posted that at least this may give somebody an idea if they see the Polar Pal at a garage or lawn sale or something. :)  Good luck with the fishing.

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I used to do the same when walking. Still have the polar pal and always seem to use it once a year. Unfortunately, mine is not as stealthy looking as yours :)

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:yes:

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Useful tips/suggestions regarding ice fishing in the Finger Lakes

 

1.     Some of the common baits used for jigging for panfish and perch, bass, and walleyes in the Finger Lakes are:

        Fathead Minnows

        Spikes ( fly larvae also known as "maggots")

        Waxworms (larvae of the greater Wax Moth)

        Mousies (Rat Tailed maggot)

        Mealworms

        Red worms, garden worms and nightcrawlers (usually pieces)

        Cut up pieces of fish, minnow heads, perch eyes or other species eyes

        Various plastic tubes, minnow immitations, immitation worms etc.

        Some additional commonly found baits are: cut up small pieces of shrimp, and canned corn

 

2.      A lot can be learned by either looking down the hole and watching your jig operate in clear water, by using a flasher such as a Vexilar , Marcum, Lowrance etc. or the use of an underwater camera

         A lot of times without using these methods it is assumed nothing is below you and often this couldn't be further from the truth. During the winter fish often become sluggish, slow to respond, very fussy, and

        appear to maintain their curiosity about line movement, the jig itself, scent attractants, or the bait but they are reluctant to actually bite the bait and may nudge the line or jig or maybe even "mouth" the bait without biting it.

        They can do this without a detectable movement in your line or jig and unless you are closely visually observing them. They sometimes just appear "disinterested". They may repeatedly come back to the jig and bait many times without

        biting and it is very frustrating indeed. It may be that they just aren't hungry, they have fed earlier or at night, they are actively feeding on something different than your bait (e.g. fresh water shrimp and may be "stuffed" with them). Again, if you weren't actually  watching you'd assume there was nothing there.  There is another common thing involved that may escape your attention but it is critically important and that is that some (often tiny) part of the jig hook is exposed (e.g. the very point). The hook always needs to be completely

        covered and especially when the fish are "fussy". Another thing that is a problem and wouldn't be realized without the above visual methods is that the jig may be spinning and that may trigger them to be very cautiously avoidant

        because that motion is probably not "natural" in appearance to them in their environment.  Constantly vary your jigging motion and the speed of it. Don't be reluctant to jig just under the ice either especially for gills and trout as well.

        Vary your jigging depth periodically....they are not all oriented toward the bottom (especially Crappies and bass etc.). When looking down the hole and the fish all of a sudden take off (possible predator nearby) observe which

        direction they went and if they don't return fish for them in that direction.

 

3.    The use of swivels should be avoided as they can "spook" the fish and appear as "unnatural" If a small barrel swivel is desired it should be place about 3 ft. up the line from the jig. Small "fast snaps" can be useful if changing jigs frequently

       but often tying directly to the jig is the way to go. Use the lightest lb test line (2 lb is not uncommon) you can for pan fish and perch. Use a very light fluoro leader in clear water and in shallow (i.e.most of the time). If fishing where pike and pickerel abound  and fishing

       15 ft or more of water you may wish to increase the test of the line (to a max of 6 lb test of clear line). Check your drag settings frequently because in the extreme cold they can easily stick.

 

4.     If your hole is constantly freezing over in the cold (especially if not in a shelter) pour a little coffee or tea in it as it will warm it enough to keep it free for awhile at least.

 

5.     Change jigs and baits frequently if you aren't getting results. Spending 15 or 20 minutes per hole is a good yardstick measure. If no action move on. In this regard, Drill a bunch of holes    when you first arrive rather than waiting so that they

        can have a chance to calm down for a bit and allow any fish that were spooked to return.

 

 6. If your rod is relatively stiff the use of a spring bobber (lightweight small diameter stainless steel wire with loop at the end andoften a bead installed at the tip of the rod which the line runs through)  can help detect very light hits.

Edited by Sk8man

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Using tip ups for larger fish like pike and trout first look in the hole to see if the reel is moving and line going out if so let it go until it stops...wait a few seconds and carefully and gradually lift the line until you feel resistance then pull and hand line in carefully. A common mistake that is made is to pull on the fish while he is still running and often the fish has the bait either partially in his mouth or possible even cross ways and the hook may not be engaged so when you pull it does not actually hook him and pulls free. Most trout and pike will stop briefly after running the first time and turn the bait around in their mouth and swallow it and then continue on....that is when you pull on them so that the hook has a better chance of being lodged in their throat or mouth. The same applies to still fishing for them with alewives or smelt or shiners.

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Great info!! I'm a hands on learner and that's the way I teach so I'm always bringing newbies with me so I can show things in person. When we gonna meet up and fish together sk8?

Get your FREAK on!!

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Pikefreak you've definitely got it down cold as far as the learning goes and I guess a couple hundred folks that fished the Conesus thing would agree :lol:  I'm up for the fishing pretty much anytime conditions permit. I'll send you my cell number in a PM.  Les

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For someone who's only ice fished a few times, this thread has a TON of good info. Thanks everyone who posted.  

I have a question for you also. 

 

What type of line is best for deep jigging lake trout through the ice?

 

Here are some of the things I've read:

- mono is no good because it absorbs water; also high stretch not good for hooksets down deep

- braid also absorbs water. My summer outfits use braid with a fluoro leader; they iced up real fast this past weekend.

- fluoro curls and gets brittle in the cold

 

I've seen some lines marketed for ice fishing.. like a Teflon-coated braid.. just hype?

 

What is your go to line for this type of ice fishing (when you are fishing deep)?

 

 

 

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Lively 1 Your question is a great one. I'm hoping some of the very capable laker jiggers on here will offer some clarity to this issue. I mainly jig for perch, gills, walleye, and the occasional "accidental" trout or pickerel/perch and usually with 2-4 lb line. Fishing in relatively shallow water most of the time I have various lb test/types of line on my jigging reels depending on conditions. Jigging for trout in deep water requires a quite different mindset and equipment selection. When I used to specifically fish for lakers on Skaneateles and Owasco way back when I used standard Berkley Trilene mono usually 8 to 10 lb test on stiff jigging rods or even on what was considered an "ultralight" rod back then. My current jigging setups for trout are quite different I use either 24-30 inch ice jigging rods (medium stiffness) with ultralight reels with good drags spooled with 8-10 lb Seguar fluoro or a Shimano Bantam bait casting reel on a short graphite rod spooled with 10 lb Power Pro and an 8 lb. Fluoro leader. I know many of the laker jigging experts will have other effective options. The only thing I've noticed with the braid is that it "floats" onthe water and may not get down quite as quickly but using heavier jigs and spoons this may not matter. What does matter is the ability to feel light hits  etc. so having line that doesn't stretch and a rod that is stiff enough but still sensitive (graphite in my case). It should be noted however that graphite can get quite brittle in the cold so you can't "max it out " like you might in warmer weather and therefore have to be a little more careful (especially with a big heavy fish)

Edited by Sk8man

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Dealing with sensitive bites:

 

When fishing for panfish and perch the standard short light weight jigging rods may not be sensitive enough to detect very light bites or "mouthing" by fish. When weather conditions are windy and or it is snowing it is hard to detect line movement that might be involved in this fish behavior too. As an aide to assist in the detection of these very subtle behaviors it can be beneficial to use a wire extension to the tip of the rod such as a "spring bobber" or a homemade device made from a single strand of stainless steel wire gauged from .022 to .026 inches (stiff enough but sensitive and flexible enough for the job) in diameter with a highly visible plastic or glass bead affixed to the tip with a rounded section that your line runs through extending from the tip of the rod itself. This springy flexible wire is strong but highly sensitive to movement or vibration of the line as a fish at the other end does something to or with your jig. I have watched even large fish such as landlocked salmon and bass as well as perch "suck" the bait into their mouth without moving the line or rod tip and if not watching them through the hole you'd never even know they were there. There are various inexpensive versions of these devices for sale but for many years I have made my own. They only take a few minutes to make and are inexpensive and you can choose your own colors,shapes and sizes and materials for visibility beads as well as adjust the length of the wire to your own preference.

 

In the second pic the wire at the right is the wrongly bent wire and bead. Make your bend at the edge of the bead toward you at a sharp right angle NOT at the loop end. leave a tiny end of the wire past the hole in the bead so that you can bend it with needle nose pliers so that it holds the loop in place. It should then only protrude about a 1/16 inch past the outer circumference of the bead to hold it in place. I use hot glue to attach the non bead end of the wire through the tip of the rod so it extends to the desired length but regular glue can be used as well.You have to be very careful with the hot glue approach not to weaken the rod itself as it is pretty thin material so I drip it on rather than placing the gun tip right on the rod itself. You want to make the loop at the end a generous size so that it helps keep ice buildup off the tip of the rod and it is easier to clear as well.

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Edited by Sk8man

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I was hoping some of the Keuka laker jigging experts would offer some tips to Lively 1 about what they feel is the best line to use etc.

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