Minnesota fishing guide Brian Brosdahl shares a few of his go-to safety tools for early ice.
Early Ice Safety Tips
When venturing out on early ice there are always a few times you need to bring.
The first is a spud bar with a serrated edge. You need to make sure you are checking the ice conditions as you walk out.
A spud bar is a great way to check the ice as you make your way out. Hit the ice a few times with the spud bar and if it doesn’t break through you’ll know you atleast have a couple inches of safe ice.
I’d also recommend drilling a hole about every ten yards to check the thickness of the ice.
Another item you have to bring with you when heading out onto early ice is a throwable rope.
When venturing out onto unknown ice conditions you always want to bring a buddy, and if one of the anglers happens to fall through, the throwable rope can be a life saver.
The last thing you have to make sure you bring out is self-rescue ice spikes. Wear them around your neck because that way if I do happen to fall through while ice fishing you can use them to pull yourself out of the water.
It’s not a lot of extra gear, but those three things are a must if you plan on fishing early ice.
One nice thing about ice fishing early in the season is that most of the time you don’t have to venture out fall to find fish.
Some things you want to look for during early ice are green weeds. Any weed transition whether it is sand or mud or even rock.
Target flats in five to ten feet of water because perch will be cruising around the flat in search of food and bigger predatory fish will be following the perch.
During early ice fish tend to be spooked easily and hole hopping may not be as effective as staying put, because of this you’ll want to be using a calling bait like the Northland Buckshot Rattlespoon to bring fish in from distance.