There was a skim of ice on the pond the other morning which served as a good reminder that ice-fishing is getting closer all the time. While we're probably still a couple of weeks away from getting on the ice, now is a good time to think about some of the things we can do this year to have a successful ice-fishing season. Here are some of those things we should think about.
The first and most important thing to remember is that you don't need to be the first person on the ice. Every year someone tries to get out there before the ice is safe. Make sure the ice is safe before you attempt to walk on it.
With that in mind, remember that first ice can provide very good action. As soon as it's safe, you should be out there.
Early ice is usually thin, and often there is no snow on top of it. That means that the fish can detect your presence very easily. You need to be super quiet and super still when fishing on thin ice.
Even though it can be quiet warm early in the ice-fishing season, many of the most successful anglers like to fish from a shelter because the shelter can hide an angler's movements. If an angler is fishing outside, that angler is backlit by the sky, and the angler's movements are easy to see by the fish below. However, the fish see the shelter as just a dark object, and the movements of the angler inside the shelter can't be seen. The shelters produced by Frabill are mostly black, which even more effectively hides the angler's movements.
Early in the ice-fishing season, it is usually a good idea to sit on a spot longer. Because of the thin ice, it works well to give a spot more time to produce. The more you move around, the more you're going to spook the fish. Later in the year when the ice is thick and there's snow cover, the fish won't sense your movement, so you can move around more.