Ice fishing is a true art that not all are able to master. Sure, it seems pretty simple. You head out on the ice, cut a hole in the circle, dunk your line in the water, and wait. However, unless you’re lucky, you probably won’t have much luck if you don’t plan a little more than that.

Depending on where you plan to fish, the types of fish you’ll catch could be blue gill, walleye, yellow perch, panfish, sauger, splake, northern pike, salmon, bass (both smallmouth and largemouth), and trout.

In the cold, fish don’t swim around as much. When you’re ice fishing, your location is key. You’ll want to find where they’re located and drop your line close to that area, at the right depth. Any movement you make with your lure/bait should be done slowly as keeping it as still as possible will attract the fish.

To keep warm during your ice fishing trips, it’s often advised to use an ice shanty. An ice shanty is like a small hut that will go over you and your fishing hole to shield you from the wind and snow. It also adds a bonus of shielding the ice hole from sunlight as that scares the fish away. If you choose not to use an ice shanty, you should still try to cover your ice hole to block out the sunlight no matter if you’re fishing in clean or dirty water.

Over my many years of ice fishing, I’ve come across two very helpful tips. If you’re keeping your line perfectly still and aren’t having any luck, toss in some chum to attract the nearby fish. You can make your own chum by taking minnows and crushing them up. Another tip is to drag your hook on the bottom of the pond or lake. This will stir up some debris and catch the eyes of fish further away.

Ice fishing is a soothing outdoor activity for those with lots of patience. Enjoy the quiet and the stillness.