Ice Fishing Season is Almost Here

In colder climates, anglers like to stay busy through the winter and sometimes the only way to do that is ice fishing. Engel Coolers has got your ice fishing needs covered with our High Viz Orange Live Bait Coolers - the bright neon orange stands out against the ice (no more coolers getting run over). Equip your live bait cooler while our powerful new Lithium Ion rechargeable pump and it will keep your bait alive and unfrozen for days.

Where to Ice Fish

Most ponds and lakes offer ice fishing potential. Their characteristics define the kinds of fish that may be caught. Large, shallower ponds and lakes favor species such as chain pickerel, northern pike, yellow perch and sunfish. Deepwater lakes need to be fished selectively to get good catches of northern pike, walleye or lake trout. Brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon are frequently caught while fishing just a few feet under the ice, even in deep bodies of water. Check with your local authorities for season and permitting info.

Popular Freshwater Fish For Ice Fishing Include:

  • Yellow Perch
  • Northern Pike
  • Walleye
  • Lake Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Black Crappie

Ice Fishing Methods

Ice fishing methods include "jigging" with short, light fishing rods and using tip-ups. There are many kinds of jigging poles and tip-ups.

Jigging involves the use of a jigging rod or hand line and a small jigging spoon or lure which is often "sweetened" with a piece of bait. The jig is designed to dart around in different directions when it is jerked up and down by the angler.

The tip-up is basically a spool on a stick holding a baited line suspended through a hole in the ice. When the bait, usually a minnow, is taken by a fish, the pull on the line releases a signal, usually a red flag.

Lures and Baits

There are many artificial lures made especially for ice fishing, from small ice flies used for panfish (sunfish, perch, and crappie) to large jigging spoons for lake trout. Most lures are tipped with some form of bait, commonly minnows and fly larvae called "spikes" or "mousies." Minnows are most often used with tip-ups and can be hooked through the lips or under the dorsal fin.

Sleds and Shelters

Getting gear to your fishing spot is easier with the use of a sled. A child's plastic sled works well, but there are sleds made specifically for ice fishing, often with compartments for storing gear and sometimes with an attached shelter.

Shelters block the wind, making ice fishing more comfortable. Many types of ice fishing shelters, from simple wind breaks to portable fish houses are available.