Water Time Fun Year-round - Ice Fishing 101

Who says the water is only for summer enjoyment? We love our lake home almost MORE in the winter than in the summer months. From ice skating to ice hockey to car hooding - it couldn't be more of a wintery fun time! Wondering what we mean by car hooding? We'll save that for a future post.

Ice fishing is a great activity to teach kids. It is empowering, increases environmental awareness, and is just plain fun. There are many tips to teach kids to fish but the old rule to “always leave them wanting more” has never been more important than fishing in the cold. Extra creature comforts can help their cold fishing enjoyment.

Here are three tips for teaching kids to fish in the cold.

1. Start warm, stay warm. - That old saying has helped extend many cold outings. Crank up the heater in the truck on the way. Make sure they dress in layers, including a hooded sweatshirt, extra socks, and long underwear. Shake up several of those little hand-warming packets. Monitor your kids’ warmth. Keep in mind that it will take a little bit to pack up and hike back to the truck so don’t wait to leave until one of them finally says, “I’m cold.”

2. Sweeten the deal. - Make a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit for your kiddos before hitting the ice. Ice-fishing is like camping in the daytime. A tent-like ice hut or ice shanty is helpful for wind protection. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate and some snacks like jerky or sunflower seeds. With a little propane heater, even though sitting on buckets on a frozen lake, the interior can almost grow cozy.

3. Don’t forget the bait. - There are lots of lures that work in cold waterconditions. Jerkbaits will work in open water and small jigs or spoons like Al’s Goldfish are stapleswhen fishing through ice. And although we want to teach patience, live bait is a confidence builder. It quickly lets you know if you are in the right spot. Time is of the essence when fishing with kids. And nothing keeps everyone warm more than catching fish.

So, let's learn three safety tips courtesy of Boating.com when it comes to ice fishing:

1. Carry a pair of ice picks or screwdrivers. These can be used to pull yourself up out of the water and along the ice should you break through it.

2. Wear a life jacket under your snowmobile suit or use an insulated “float coat.”

3. Do not wear a life jacket while riding in an enclosed vehicle across the ice.

For more ice-safety information, visit takemefishing.org and search for ice fishing.

4. Good rule of thumb - o

nly attempt ice fishing if there are 5 inches or more of clear frozen water on your lake.

Now we've got the basic 101, I think it's 'Time to put your shanty panties on...and go ice fishing!'

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