Preparation key to successful ice-fishing trip

It’s no secret that winter walleye fishing in Sunset Country usually is best during the final hour of the day.
We often call it the prime-time bite because we catch fish sporadically throughout the day and then gear up for a whack-fest just before dark.
This usually leads to packing up our gear in the dark and in the cold, so often things are improperly packed or get left behind.
I travel by snowmobile for most of my fishing adventures so if things are not packed properly, they get broken.
The first piece of equipment anglers often overlook is a small light. Over the past few years, I’ve started carrying a head lamp with me that I can wear on my head, hands-free.
These lights are super handy for packing things up in the dark, as well as charging up your glow lures and jigs during the low-light, prime-time period.
These head lamps come in handy and you will use it much more than you think, so be sure to add one to your collection of things.
Frabill and other companies actually are making small lamps that run on ‘AA’ batteries that are designed to be used in portable shelters, and these are handy, as well.
If you use a snowmobile for fishing trips throughout the winter and pull a portable shelter behind your rig, you likely have lost the pin that connects the sled to the shelter at one time or another.
I actually lost one last week and if they fall into the deep snow like we have now, they usually are gone.
Always carry an extra pin in your jacket pocket or in a compartment in your snowmobile. And if you don’t use it, chances are one of your buddies will need it someday.
Anyone who has ridden as a passenger on a snowmobile knows it is much colder for the passenger than it is for the driver. My girlfriend and I went on a big snowmobile ride for New Year’s Eve last weekend and she stayed totally warm while I drove—despite the nasty conditions—by putting air-activated hand warmers in her mittens and boots.
During weeks like this, when the temperatures are cold, staying warm is the key to having fun on the ice. It is such an easy thing, but many people overlook these small packets.
This is especially important if you are taking kids fishing with you. They will get cold hands and feet much more quickly than you will.
These little packets give off a lot of heat and will make your outing much more enjoyable.
It’s only been over the past few years that I’ve been using a snowmobile in my fishing expeditions. Before that, it was all about taking the truck and walking.
Obviously, walking on the ice, especially once it has two feet of snow and slush on it, is not fun. Getting as far as we could with our trucks was always the goal, so getting stuck was common on every outing.
By far the most used Christmas present Santa ever brought me after I started driving was a tow strap that I’ve used well over 100 times.
If you know where you’re going, and are going to drive off the ice road, you always should have two trucks so that if one gets stuck, the other can pull it out.
Another thing I always keep in the back of my pick-up is a shovel for those times that you get hung up when you are on your own or trying to drive through the bank.
Preparation is the key to success. These are a few things to remember that could save the day on your next ice-fishing trip.

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