Ice fishing is an enjoyable winter pastime for many people in many different parts of the country. The sport requires the right equipment for success beyond just a rod and tackle box. Anyone who plans on ice fishing will want to pack several essential pieces of gear.
A skimmer looks like a tall ladle or a long metal rod with a fine mesh basket on the end. Skimmers are used after a hole has been carved or drilled. They make it possible to lift ice and slush out of the hole so that it remains clear. A skimmer is a good tool to have because it will also help to keep the hole from freezing over during a long trip.
Small and flat sleds are inexpensive and very useful when ice fishing. Sleds provide a way to load a large amount of tackle and equipment into a small space. They can be easily pulled across the ice. Sleds act like a small dry utility platform while fishing. A sled also distributes the weight of gear across a larger area so that the ice receives less pressure in a single spot.
A knife is something that every person should bring on every trip. Butterfly knives are a good choice because they can be stored safely and compactly when not in use. Knives make good multipurpose tools that can be used to cut fishing line and deal with equipment problems. They are invaluable when planning to cook catches directly on site.
Ice spikes or safety spikes are small, lightweight and easy to carry. The spikes are safety devices that will help on large lakes where expanding holes and slippery surfaces could cause trouble. The spikes make it possible to climb out of the water after falling into a hole. They come in pairs.
White snow and ice under a bright sun is hard on the eyes. Sunglasses are an essential piece of ice fishing equipment. Sunglasses will protect the eyes from ultraviolet light and from the effects of bright white landscapes that could cause vision problems and headaches.
Weather conditions on a frozen lake can be unpredictable. High winds can drop temperatures quickly. Strong sunlight can increase temperatures by a noticeable amount. It is best to dress in layers and to bring along more layers of clothing than necessary just in case. The ability to layer on another coat or sweater will make ice fishing much more comfortable.
Anyone who has not been ice fishing before will want to bring along some type of seating. Ice fishing takes a long time. Sitting directly on the ice is not comfortable or safe. A folding stool or even a small box will make a good and dry place to sit while fishing. Heavy folding chairs are not recommended since they can damage the ice and cause problems.