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Ice Fishing Beginner Tips

December, 2016


Alberta’s icy lakes are finally frozen thickly enough to walk out onto them to do some fishing. If ice fishing is a pastime that you’ve been putting off for the last few winters, the recent cold snap is a perfect reason to get started. Here are some quick tips to get you ready to walk out onto that ice.
What you’ll need:You might be surprised at how inexpensive ice fishing can be compared to traditional summertime fishing. The change in season means that you won’t have to purchase any expensive boating equipment to get close to the fish.

Just like any other kind of hunting or fishing activities, the first thing you’ll need to start is your fishing licence. A list of licence issuers can be found here and will cost you around 28 dollars.

The next step is to find yourself a hand-auger to drill your hole in the ice. These can be obtained from any hunting goods store, but you can probably find them a little cheaper online or second hand. There isn’t much of a range in quality when it comes to augurs, so don’t be afraid of exploring cheaper options. If it’s made of metal and it isn’t rusted or cracked, it’ll probably serve you just fine.

In comparison to its summertime counterpart, ice fishing doesn’t require a fancy rod to make a catch. A simple combination of fishing line and a hook will do just fine. Tie one end of your fishing line to a hook, and the other end to a sturdy piece of wood (preferably long enough that it won’t fall through your fishing hole) and you’ll be ready to go.

Fishing shelters are optional, but during a long day out on the ice you’ll be glad to have one. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the simplest one is essentially an airtight bit of canvas stretched around a rectangular frame. All it needs to do is protect you from the wind. Your own body heat will warm up that space quickly. Bring a stool or even an upside-down fishing bucket with you as well to save you from standing all day.

Lastly, you’ll need something you can’t get in a store: patience. Ice fishing trips can last all day, and even then you might walk away empty handed. But any seasoned angler will tell you that it’s worth the wait. Nothing beats that feeling of a bite on your line after a long day of relaxing out on the ice.

Where to go:

There are plenty of ice fishing spots sprinkled around St. Albert, both natural and artificial. If you’re looking for a scenic winter landscape to accompany your trip, lakes like Lac St. Anne, Nakamun Lake and Wabamun Lake are nearby, beautiful and full of Perch, Pike and a variety of other fish. Just make sure to investigate which species can be taken and which are strictly catch-and-release.


Safety tips:

-Avoid ice that looks slushy or that isn’t consistently frozen all the way across.

-Avoid rivers and creeks, as they tend not to freeze evenly.

-If you’re in doubt, don’t walk on it.

-Spread out your weight. Don’t pile heavy equipment all in one place, and if you bring a vehicle out onto the ice, don’t drill holes near it.

-Bring dry clothes, blankets and emergency heating packs should you fall under the ice. Always have an emergency plan.

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