Minnesota fishing guide Brian Brosdahl shares his go-to safety tools for early ice.

Early Ice Safety Tips

When venturing out on early or unknown ice there are always a few times you need to bring.

The first is a spud bar with a serrated edge. You use this to check ice conditions as you walk out. I will drill every 10 yards or so and then check with the spud bar as I go further out.

Another item I bring out for early ice fishing for a little extra precaution is a throwable with a rope.

If I am with someone else and they happen to go through I can toss it over to them.

The last thing I make sure I always have is self-rescue ice spikes. That way if I do happen to fall through I can use them to pull myself out of the water.

Today I’ve found a good four to five inches of solid black ice. I checked it as I came out and I feel confident in my spot. 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.

The spot I’m at is a 10 foot flat that has a sand / muddy bottom just past the weed line. Perch will be cruising around the flat in search of food and bigger predatory fish will be following the perch.

Because I am on a flat I’m going to be using a calling bait to bring fish in and I’ll start with a Northland Buckshot Rattlespoon. During early ice here I don’t want to be walking around a ton so I try to choose baits that will bring the fish to me.

This is how I will set up for most first ice missions. I’ll bring my safety tools like my spud bar, throwable rope and ice picks and I’ll check the ice until I can reach my spot.