Wrapping Up the Ice Fishing Season
By Bob Jensen
For many of us, the ice-fishing season is over, but open water fishing is still a little ways off. Some will make a trip to a river to get in on some open water angling, and others will travel north to find ice that is still safe, but for many, now is a down time for actually wetting a line. That makes it a great time to take care of some things that need to be done to make our fishing even better next year. Following are some of those things.
Let’s start with some tasks that should be done now to wrap up the ice-fishing season. If you have a portable shelter, open it up and let it dry out good on the inside. Clean everything out of it that might attract mice or any other pest. Make sure it’s completely dry, then close it up and put it in storage. I prefer to store my shelters off the ground. Just put a couple of boards underneath it to allow for air flow. I’m not sure this is necessary, but I still like to do it.
Now, here’s a big one: Storing your auger. Different augers use different types of fuel today. Check with the manufacturer on how best to store your auger and then do it that way. Many ice-anglers like to start their auger every month or so and just let it run for a minute.
Also, if you noticed that it was getting harder to make a hole in the ice, have the blades sharpened or install a new set of blades.
Make sure the battery on your sonar unit is charged.
Take some line off your reel and remember to add fresh line when ice-season approaches again. Back the drag off also.
Open up your tacklebox and let it air out. Make a note of what lures need to be replaced.
Last thing: Clean out the pockets of the clothing that you wear on the ice. Make sure there are no candy bar wrappers or containers of waxworms, spikes, etc. Bad things happen when these are left in your coat.
Now to prepare for open water. If you haven’t been ice-fishing, remember to get a new fishing license.
If you didn’t do it when you put your rod and reels away for the winter, strip some line off and add new. More and more, anglers are realizing the importance of fresh line. On my jigging and rigging rods, I take about fifty yards off and tie new line to the old line. I generally never have more line than that out when jigging or rigging. I started using P-Line last year because it’s outstanding line that I can count on, but it’s also very affordable. With trolling reels, you’ll want to add more fresh line because you’ll often have more line out when trolling.
If you have a boat, make sure the batteries are charged and ready to go.
If you have waders that need some attention, get that done now. Leaky waders in the cold water of spring are no fun.
Check your tacklebox and make sure you have the lures you’ll need for the upcoming open water season.
These things are small details that often get forgotten, but if you remember them now, you’ll be more prepared to hit the open water soon and the ice when it returns.
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