Plenty new in ice-fishing gear

This past weekend, my wife, August, and I travelled down to St. Paul, Mn. for the annual St. Paul Ice Show.
This is the biggest ice-fishing show in North America, with representation from nearly every company that makes a product for ice-fishing, as well as several retail outlets.
If you want to see what’s new in world of ice, you will find it at this show. I’ve been attending it since 2005 and it’s amazing how much products have evolved even since then.
Portable shelters are designed now with so many neat little features that make fishing easy, electronics like flashers and underwater cameras continue to improve, and the new tackle available every year is endless.
Since I have a few sponsors that I work with on promoting and designing ice-fishing equipment, I attend this show to help support their booths and talk fishing with the many anglers who attend every year.
A few of the new products that struck me as being interesting this year included the new Ambush portable shelters from Frabill. Frabill is a great supporter of my fishing endeavours and they have introduced a new shelter that has side doors on it instead of the traditional door on the front.
Doing this has increased the room inside so an angler can use a longer fishing rod, and it eliminates the hassle of having to step over your flasher or heater to get from the door to the seat.
If you fish out of these portable shelters, you know how common it is to burn holes in your clothing when you have to step over your heater all the time, so this is a really good innovation.
Propane-powered augers continue to grow in popularity and though I have never used one, everyone I spoke with said they are reliable, lightweight augers (I’ll be interested to try one out for myself this winter).
As far as tackle goes, all of the big companies have new spoon shapes, sizes, and colours that will give fish a look at something they have not seen before. Spoons are a great ice-fishing lure because they’re typically heavy, compact lures with plenty of action that work for all species of fish under the ice.
Another of my supporters, Northland Fishing Tackle, has added some new colours to its popular Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon line that feature very sharp, bright UV paint jobs.
These are some of the most beautiful spoons that I’ve ever seen and are going to work very well across Sunset Country this winter, particularly for walleyes.
A quarter-ounce Buck-Shot Spoon is just about all I ever use for walleyes anymore, and I usually always tip it with a minnow head for a little bit of added scent.
These shows always are fun because they give me a chance to visit with other anglers who make their living fishing in different parts of North America. We can share hot techniques and tips that we may have never thought of on our own.
They’re also a great place to tell people how great the fishing opportunities are across Sunset Country, particularly on the ice.
The highlight of the weekend was getting to go watch the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night when we arrived in St. Paul. Frabill got tickets to all of its pro staff, so we had a large group at the game, which was a lot of fun.
This week I’m back on the road again—headed north to the Red Lake area to do some moose hunting for a few days with some friends. Though it’s going to be cold, it should make for some good hunting because the moose should be on the move as they try to stay warm and search out good food sources.
Look for the report on our hunt next week.

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