Ice Fishing Season Preparation Checklist

It’s Thanksgiving week, and with this week’s snowfall, the hardwater fishing season is on people’s minds. Even though it will be a while before we can get out on the ice, now is the perfect time to prepare equipment for the season. Here’s my checklist:

Checking Shanties:
Set up your shanty and check it for damage from storage or the previous season. Also look for any areas which may become an issue during the upcoming season. Spots that have pressure points, or have a lot of wear and tear are more likely to have fabric failure. It’s a lot easier to do preventative maintenance than to deal with a failure on the ice. I check the ice anchors to make sure they aren’t bent or dull, and the lines that tie to the anchors, looking for weaknesses or frays.

Before storing my auger, I put fuel stabilizer in the tank and run the motor for a few minutes to make sure that the stabilizer is distributed throughout the system. When preparing for ice season, start the auger several times to make sure it fires up easily. Check the spark plug to make sure it isn’t fouled or dirty. If the blades need to be sharpened or replaced, you can do that yourself or take your auger to the repair shop while you still have some time and can afford to wait.

Now is the time to recharge all of your batteries. Top them off, and if any batteries are showing signs of going bad, replace them. Battery failure out on the ice can lead to a lot of frustration – having batteries which hold a full charge are worth the price.

Fire up your heater and make sure it is operating properly. Now is a great time to stock up on propane cylinders for the start of the season so that when it’s time to fish, you’re ready to go.

This is the most fun part of getting ready for the ice fishing season! Go through your tackle looking for hooks that need to be sharpened or replaced. Check that your lures and/or jigs are organized properly for easy access out on the ice. Check the line on your reels and replace any line that looks worn or potentially compromised. Inspect rod/reel combos and/or tip-up spools to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Winter Wear:
Pull out your cold weather wear and make sure that everything is in good shape and ready for the season. It’s easy for important items like hats and gloves to get lost in the back of the closet over the warmer summer months.