All that’s new in ice fishing

Since 2005, I’ve spent the first weekend in December down in Minnesota at the annual St. Paul Ice Fishing Show.
It is a big ice-fishing event held at the Xcel Energy Center, the same place the Minnesota Wild play, in a large event centre next to the arena.
It’s a unique outdoors show because it is great for consumers. Nearly every big retail outfit in Minnesota attends, and sells everything from tackle to fishing rods to shelters and augers.
The retailers are selling everything for very good deals in an attempt to try and get as many sales as possible.
Numerous resorts and outfitters also set up booths at the show to promote their services and book trips.
Several businesses from Sunset Country have been successful at booking trips at this show over the past several years.
Finally, most of the companies that produce ice-fishing equipment have booths at this show, so you see the latest and greatest in products that are available to ice anglers.
The big companies like Frabill, Clam, and StrikeMaster all have their products on display, so you can check everything out before purchasing.
It’s a great place to ask questions, as well, as each company will have experts available to assist you.
There also are many small businesses who might only have one product to sell. They set up booths to promote and hopefully sell their products.
You see some interesting things from these guys—lots of cool inventions and little things that might make fishing easier.
Every year there are new trends that emerge in ice-fishing products that help you catch more fish or make the experience more enjoyable. With augers, there is a big trend towards electric and even propane-powered ones.
While these may be great for anglers in the U.S. Midwest, where winter is not as harsh and ice doesn’t get as thick as it does for us, I’m still a little skeptical that these will do as good of a job as gas augers do.
There are limitations, such as battery life and power, with these new options.
If you’re going out to fish your favourite spot and don’t plan on drilling a lot of holes, however, they might be a good option for you.
With tackle, one of the most popular trends is with UV colour paint jobs on lures and spoons. UV paint colours are much more visible than traditional paint jobs, so the claim is that fish will be able to see them from farther away and hopefully you’ll catch their attention, particularly in deeper water.
Northland Tackle has a whole new lineup of colours in their popular ice baits. I fished with them last year on Lake of the Woods and they worked great.
Most of the companies that make portable shelters now are making insulated models designed to retain heat better than traditional non-insulated ones. Insulated models are heavier to pull around but they are warmer, for sure, which is good for us.
Several companies are nice making the big “wheel” houses, which are fish shacks built on a trailer and pulled to the fishing spot with a truck.
Most of these are between 12-20 feet long and some of the them are quite luxurious, with satellite TV, bunk beds, and kitchens available.
There were not a lot of changes in the flasher market this year but over the past few seasons, most companies have designed models with more power and larger screens.
Humminbird has a new machine that has sonar, in both regular form and a flasher mode, as well as GPS on it. It’s called the 688ci (it is a great size and is easy to use).
If you like ice fishing and want to see all the latest and greatest in gear, this show is the place to go to see it.
It takes place annually on the first weekend in December.