With a new ice fishing season upon us, not to mention the Christmas holiday season, we wanted to compile a list of essential products that help catch more fish and are on many ice anglers’ wish lists. These are all items I have had the chance to use and are items I use often. Here are my top 7 essential ice products that I recommend for any ice angler:
Used with a brushless hand drill, this lightweight electric auger system is incredibly light. Once you experience the hand drill auger, you won’t want to go back. The K-Drill shines above the rest because of the carbide blades and the lifetime sharpening.
2. Ice Defense
This handy tool can be attached to any sonar with a port to run off the unit’s battery. It continually recirculates the water to keep your hole open on even the coldest of days. Once you use it and no longer have slush sticking to your line or the edges of your hole freezing up, you will absolutely love it and find it to be one of your best essentials for ice fishing.
Sold out right away last winter, the Silkie is deadly for bluegill and crappie. It’s simply a small rubber ball with silk strands attached that provides realistic insect-like action and is durable enough to catch dozens of fish.
Great stocking stuffers! Get three of some of the most effective walleye or perch spoons in three different colors. The Leech Flutter Spoon has become an absolute favorite in just a handful of years with a killer color pallet. The Rattling Blade Spoon has one of the loudest rattle chambers. This is the perfect way to fill any tackle box with some of the best-proven lures.
Insulated and weatherproof bibs and jackets that offer floatation have been all the rage the last five years. Floatation offers peace of mind when ice fishing and this heavy-duty cold weather clothing is also invaluable while in a boat when on the Rainy River in April.
6. New Sonar
Whether you use Panoptix, Live Scope, Active Target, or Live Sight, forward sonar technology has been hot with ice anglers. It’s such a great tool for finding fish and also understanding fish as you can watch how far and fast they move.
Now, if I could only have one piece of electronics, that unit would be a Vexilar flasher for seeing what is right below me and for its versatility and portability. The forward sonar technology is more expensive but this useful tool can really complement your existing flasher.
I like the Lowrance Active Target because I also use the unit as a stand-alone GPS and prefer the lake maps that are available over the Garmin, but that is a personal preference. The primary unit I use the most is a Vexilar FL-28. Day to day, hole to hole, I like to actually fish with the Vex. A few of my favorite recommendations that are currently available include the Vexilar FLX-30 and the Lowrance 12″ HDS Live Fishfinder.
The forward sonar does have some limitations as it is bulkier and slower and doesn’t show fish well over uneven contours if the fish are close to the bottom, but it shines for finding fish over basins or large flats when fish are up off the bottom a little and moving.
The Frost Line series is designed specifically for ice fishing and has proven to be some of the best. The one to three pound mono is the best line I have seen for finesse panfish applications. The eight to ten pound braid is my staple for walleye jigging rods. I often use the fluorocarbon for fishing around timber and weed stalks and also use it as a leader when using braid. This is a phenomenal line for the ice angler.
These essential products will make a great addition to any ice angler’s setup and can help any angler catch more fish this ice season. All products are linked in the post above, and here is a simplified list to add these essentials to your cart: