Take care storing ice-fishing gear

With warmer weather finally making an appearance and walleye season all wrapped up, it’s about time to pack up the ice-fishing gear for the another winter and start thinking about open water.
But when it comes to packing up the ice gear, there are a few things to remember so it’s ready to roll when you pull everything out of hibernation next winter.
Let’s start with the auger. Dispose of any leftover gas in the tank and run the motor until it runs dry. This gas will go bad over the summer and you don’t want to start next season with bad stuff.
Running the motor dry hopefully will clean out the motor a little bit.
It’s not a bad idea to take the motor to a small engine repair shop to have them give it a quick “once-over,” as well. If you feel like you need some new blades for your rig, make a note and look for some before next winter.
Flashers and other types of electronics, like underwater cameras, have become extremely popular in recent years among ice anglers. They are relatively easy to just put away for the year, although some anglers even use these units on their boats in the summer.
One thing to do before you tuck your electronics away is make sure you give the battery a good charge. This will help to increase the life of the battery.
If you store your battery when it’s low, it will be totally drained eight months from now.
Remember to remove the wires from the battery, as well, because if they are hooked up, they will draw a small amount of power and drain the battery.
Like electronics, portable fish houses have become popular, too. I like to open up my Otter and make sure it is all dry before I put it away.
I also take the tent off the frame, fold it up, and store it in a dry place. If it’s damp, it will get moldy and the fabric will rot quickly. When you set it up next year, it will be full of holes and it probably won’t smell very good, so make sure you dry it out well.
If you have holes in it, or the windows need to be replaced, then get this stuff fixed before next season. Any of the businesses that make or fix boat tops and covers can fix these tents for you quickly and easily.
My tackle takes a beating over the course of the winter and needs to be cleaned up at the end of every season.
I’m always towing my Otter sleigh loaded with fishing gear behind my snowmachine, and my tackle boxes end up cracked and full of holes. This allows moisture to get in and rust to form on some of the hooks.
I like to take all the rusted hooks out of the box because they will promote spreading to other baits and this will not only weaken the hooks, it will have negative effects on the lures’ finish.
Make sure your boxes are dry and remove all the rusty hooks. They likely are still okay to use, just keep them separated from the good tackle.
The ice-fishing season started off rough for me. I had some issues with slush early on, but we were lucky to enjoy some nice weather over the past few weeks to close out the season and it was fun.
The fishing was good and some big fish were caught.
I’ll look forward to next year after the summer. I’m ready for open water!

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