ALEXANDRIA, Minn. Ice fishing season appears to be just around the corner. Are you ready? Here are some things to consider in preparing for the coming hard water season.

Prepare rods and reels

Before any new fishing season, ice or open water, it’s a good idea to respool all reels that will be used during the coming season. Fresh line is more manageable and respooling also increases the chances that a big early-season fish is landed because it should lack any nicks or weak spots from past use that could lead to line failure.

Simply put, new line is easier to fish with and increases my chances, and yours, of landing the season’s first big fish.

In addition to line maintenance, my ice rods get some attention now as well. Checking line guides is another task I complete at this time. Again, I want to be sure there are no cracked or damaged guides that could cause line wear and lead to lost fish.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

I have been using the Dave Genz Legacy Rods the past couple years and have been impressed. These rods are light, sensitive, and come in just the right actions for a variety of fishing situations. Pairing these rods with Lew’s Laser Lite LLS75 reels has proven to be a winning combination. These reels are the perfect size for ice rods, are very smooth, and perform well in cold weather conditions too. Plus, they are available at a great price point as well.

Pack light

Early ice means walking to my fishing spots and pulling a one-man portable shelter. Because I want to be as light as possible, organizing and taking only essential gear is important.

For that reason, now is a great time to inventory and ready things like my “early ice” tackle box, heater, and sonar units among other items in that shelter. That way when safe ice appears, I can quickly load my portable in my truck and head to the lake.

Another part of this process is to be sure the battery is charged on my winter sonar unit. And, because I prefer a K-Drill for my winter ice auger needs, I want to be sure the battery for the cordless electric drill that powers it is charged as well.

The K-Drill is one of the best innovations to hit the ice fishing scene as it’s very light, cuts holes quickly, and always starts, as long as the battery is charged.

Stay safe

Waiting to be sure the ice is safe and then checking its depth as you venture out are great safety suggestions.

I have been wearing a Rise float suit that provides me with peace of mind when on the ice, particularly during early winter fishing trips. I also hit the early ice with a set of ice picks around my neck. These picks can help me pull myself up onto the ice should I ever break through.

Another very important safety item, particularly during early season when the ice may be snow free and very slippery, is the use of a set of ice cleats for added traction. Various ice cleats that slip over boots can keep an angler upright and fishing successfully while others are slipping and trying to maintain balance.

As always, remember to include a youngster in those ice fishing trips!

Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest to see more fishing tips and view recent TV episodes as well.