Updated: Jan 28, 2020
What does ice fishing mean to you? Is it time spent outside on the hard water, enjoying the elements with friends and family? Maybe it’s having a group of people gathered inside your fishing tent with a propane heater, taking turns sharing the augered holes? For some it might be the experience of landing your next personal best with no hassles and no worries by renting a fully equipped, self-contained fishing shack. Whichever way you enjoy releasing your line into the ice-cold depths, there are two things we all have in common: we enjoy the camaraderie with family and friends, and we love catching fish.
For any adventure, it’s important to be prepared. November is a good month to ensure your gear is in top working order before you head out onto the frozen lake in the months that follow. Take time to check these three key pieces of equipment and make sure you’re ready for ice fishing: The most important piece of gear, in my opinion, is your auger. Nothing will ruin a day of ice fishing quicker than not having an auger start. If you’re using a power auger, it’s a good idea to replace the old gas with new gas, and check your spark plug, which may need replacing. Start up your auger several times to make sure it’s in good working order. If it’s starting, stopping and sputtering, you will be glad you found out before you head out on your first trip of the season. For electric augers, confirm the batteries take a full charge, slide the battery onto the auger and engage the auger multiple times to ensure it’s running smoothly. Next, inspect the blades on your auger, as they should always be kept sharp. This will allow faster cutting time and put less stress on the other components. At the end of March, most of us just put our tackle away, with little thought about the following season. However, now is a good time to take inventory of your hooks and decide what needs to be tossed, replaced or purchased for the new season. If you have fishing line or leaders that are twisted, bent or showing wear, be sure to replace them. Allow your well-maintained line and leader to give you the confidence to land that some great fish. Nothing beats a beautiful sunny day out on the ice with your family and friends, soaking up the sun and catching a few fish, yet in Alberta we can have some harsh, cold, windy days, and a quality fishing tent or ice shack can be helpful in keeping everyone warm. But once you’ve made it out on the frozen lake, you wouldn’t want to find your tent isn’t reliable when you need it the most. Take time in November to set up your fishing tent on the lawn and inspect it for any damages. Check the zippers, poles and fabric and repair as needed. If you have a fishing shack you will want to replace any rotting wood or make other repairs so it can take on another winter.
Being fully prepared for ice fishing adventures will make your trips safer and more enjoyable. Alberta winters can be unforgiving on ice fishing gear, so give your confidence a boost by going into the season with your gear in top condition.