Ice Fishing Catfish

By: Daniel Eggertsen

Ice fishing is lots of fun, and it's a great place to catch catfish in certain parts of the country. They're hungry in the winter time, and it's especially easy to catch big blues and flatheads. You can also get quite a few smaller fish ice fishing.

If you're a first time ice fisher, it's always a good idea to go with some friends. For one thing, you can learn a lot from them. For another, ice fishing is more fun with more people. Fishing is always more fun with a few good friends, but ice fishing is an especially social sport. It helps to have more hands on deck, and you'll need somebody to get pictures when you pull out that big blue.

The best time to hit the lake depends heavily on the area. Usually it is best to head out later in the winter. At the first freeze, you should wait a while before hitting the ice. The first freeze is a good time to catch cats, but it's not always safe. You're better off waiting until later in the winter when the ice has a chance to thicken. Your best resource for local ice fishing information is the bait shop or neighborhood bar. Talking to other anglers in your area will give you a good idea of when is the best time to catch catfish under the ice.

Getting Ready To Hit The Ice

Ice fishing takes quite a bit more preparation than usual fishing, so you should start planning your trip a few days in advance. The first thing to think about is whether you want to camp out on the lake or not. Ice fishing for catfish is almost always best if you can stay out on the ice for a few days. It sometimes takes a while to find a good hole. If you are staying a while out there, it's a good idea to get your own ice hut. You can buy one, or make one yourself. An ice hut can be as luxurious or simple as you need it to be.

Make sure you have plenty of food and drink, including whatever hot drinks you might want. A thermos full of coffee or hot chocolate is always a nice idea. Check to make sure that your propane heaters work. If you get out there and the thing won't turn on, it's going to be a pretty quick and unsuccessful ice fishing trip. Take plenty of warm clothes, and always overpack clothes. It's better to have too much and have to strip down, then to get out there and freeze your butt off because you didn't bring enough. It's also a good idea to rig your rod beforehand. There is a lot of set-up involved in ice fishing, and this will save time. It's also a pain rigging your rod with cold fingers.

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