Let’s Go Ice Fishing!

Mitch Bennis
Mitch Bennis

This fishing blog is dedicated to the little understood, little respected, sport of ICE fishing. A lot has changed since the days of Grumpy Old Men and old farts sitting outside in the cold upon five-gallon buckets all day long. New techniques and technology have transformed this once “nothing better to do” winter activity into something many anglers have a true passion for. I know, I helped make it happen.

My name is Mitch Bennis, I’ve enjoyed and worked in the ice fishing industry here in Central Minnesota for the majority of my life. I’m a huge fan of the sport and love to spread the joy to others. Once you catch the bug of Ice Fishing, you’ll be hooked for life!

If you live in or will be visiting a region with good ice fishing conditions, my blog is here to help you learn ice fishing tips & techniques, find the local tackle shops and fishing guides, and show the world how great your ice fishing experiences have been.

So if you’re into ice fishing, or would maybe like to be, please enjoy the information and resources within these pages. And expect more cool ice fishing  stuff to show up over the next months.

Also, I invite you to submit your videos, photos and ice fishing articles. And please comment on my articles! I am looking forward to a conversation!

All the best,

Mitch

Build a DIY Ice Fishing Shelter on a Budget

The Best $150 Ice Shanty Ever

Keeping warm while ice fishing is next to impossible on some days, unless you have a good shelter. Many “pop-up” tent style shelters are available on the market, all of which have hefty price tags, but none equal the comfort of a home-built wooden shelter. The keys to keeping warm on the ice are getting your feet off the ice, getting out of the wind on sunny days, and using a portable heater on cold, windy, overcast days.

In this article, we’ll show you how to build a light wooden shelter that will comfortably hold 2–3 anglers, that can function as a lean-to on sunny days, and that can close up tight on bitter cold days. This shelter uses an exoskeleton-style frame to give you more room on the inside and provide a smooth, snag-free interior for winter clothing.

Materials (note that lumber prices vary regionally and seasonally):

  • 25 2’ x 4’ x 8’ boards (for the framing)
  • 1 piece of thick 4’ x 8’ plywood for the floor (no thinner than 15/32)
  • 6 sheets of 2.7mm 4’ x 8’ utility panels (for the doors, sides, and roof)
  • 1 box of deck screws (I used a 1-pound box of #9 x 2½” T-25s)
  • 1 box of small finishing nails (to hang the utility panels)
  • 1 bottle of good wood glue
  • 4 hinges

Tools:

  • Hammer
  • Saw (whichever kind you own)
  • Screw gun
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Protractor

This is a straightforward build that requires no special tools beyond what most people own already. The only complicated tool you’ll need is the protractor since you need a 26.5° angle for your roof pitch.

The Floor

Start by cutting five studs each to 45” in length. Next lay out two of the 2’ x 4’ x 8’s parallel to each other. Space the five studs 24” apart, center to center, and screw them in place using the deck screws.

Next, nail some pieces of scrap wood about ½” thick and 8’ long to the underside of the floor to function as runners on the snow and ice. If you plan on using a wood sealer, go ahead and apply it to this area now.

Flip the floor frame and attach the thick sheet of plywood using the deck screws.

Back Wall Supports

Cut five 2’ x 4’ x 8’s total. All should be 52” in length with a 26.5° angle at the top. Attach these along the back wall, spaced 24” apart center to center. Make sure your two corner boards do NOT overlap the sides of the floor.

Two Side Wall Supports

Cut two 2’ x 4’ x 8’s to a total length of 52?” with a 26.5° angle on one side. Square these up with the back supports and fasten with deck screws.

Cut two 2’ x 4’ x 8’s to a total length of 75” with the 26.5° angle at the top. Attach them to the floor frame, but do not allow them to overlap to the front.

Front Door Supports

Cut two 2’ x 4’ x 8’s to a total length of 75¾” with the 26.5° angle at the top. Square up with the two wall supports, and use deck screws to attach them.

Cut a 26.5° angle across the side of an entire 2’ x 4’ x 8’; this is your top span. Square up and attach with deck screws.

Roof Supports

Cut five 2’ x 4’ x 8’s to a total length of 56½”. No angle is needed. Square up and attach with deck screws.

Doors

Cut two 4’ x 8’ panels to 4’ x 6’ each. You can choose a few different ways to frame the door. Either use 2’ x 4’ x 8’s or split the 2’ x 4’ x 8’s with a table saw into 2’ x 2’s to save weight on the door. Attach hinges and mount to doorframe.

Panels

Attach all the panels using the wood glue and finishing nails. The back panel should fall right into place with no cutting needed. The roof will take a full panel plus some scrap strips cut from the door to fill in the last few inches of the slope. The two sidewalls should be measured and cut carefully. Each side will be slightly different due to wood warping, but in general they should be 6’ x 4’ x 4’ with a 26.5° slope.

Final Touches

At this point, feel free to apply any weather-sealing products and paint you like; the better they are, the longer your lean-to will last. You should also go around all the edges with some silicone caulk and seal up any spots where wind and rain can get in.

This is a fun project that one person can easily do over a weekend. It can function as a lean-to on sunny winter days to help break the wind and get your feet off the ice or as a complete shelter for lousy days. You can customize and modify this design to your liking. Feel free to send us pictures of your buildings, modifications, and catches on Twitter at @FlyFishExaminer and @FixDotCom.

Source: Fix

On a snowmobile for a large bass

January 5, 2017 “Fishing is a brother” went to the opposite side of the Angara in Gelot Bay in his 7th expedition.
After a long search and exhilarating dance big perch yet been caught. The winner was the natural color rocker “Our gear” and soft plastic bait satellite.
Beauty “Baikal” ice and all the details attached.
Enjoy watching.

Mobile Ice Fishing Gets More Pan Fish

It’s 7:45 AM, with temps hovering at the freezing point. Beautiful! Between my ugly face and that fish house behind me are easily 200 ice fishing holes, 4 dead Milwaukee M-18 batteries and schools of roaming Bluegill and Crappie below, with Pike and Bass chasing them around. And because it’s Wednesday, I’m the only one on the lake.

Some people choose to set up a fish house and wait for these fish to come to them. However, the mobile ice fishing tactic means staying on the move, hopping from hole to hole using your electronics to look for fish under the ice. I sit inside for my work, so the last thing I want to do is sit in a cramped fish shack out on the ice. Weather permitting, I’d much rather race-em-and-chase-em.

It’s effective. You can catch a lot of fish this way. I can easily catch 100 bluegills within 4 hours. To do it right you need the right gear. This is what I use.

  • A small one-man Clam portable fish house. This serves as both my sled to carry all my ice fishing gear and a place where I can warm up and get out of the wind for a bit.
  • A 6″ K-Drill electric ice auger system. It’s light, drills fast and no gas smell on your hands to ruin the fish bite. It’s powered by a Milwaukee M18 cordless drill. I keep 4 batteries with me. And I need more.
  • A Vexilar FL-22HD color flasher. This is my eyes under the ice. A good fish finder will make your day, and Vexilar is the original, and the best, personal bias aside.
  • Additions Vexilars if I have company.

Plus…

  • 3 to 5 ice fishing rod and reel setups in a hard case, all designed for different weather and/or bit conditions.
  • If it’s cold (under 25°F), I will bring a small Mr. Heater and a spare 1LB bottle of propane.
  • My bag of tricks; tackle, fishing basics, spare stuff, various lights, basic survival needs, a bottle of water and a little food.
  • 5-Gallon bucket, ice scooper, ice thickness measuring bar and a large heavy plastic cup to get water from my 6″ hole in the ice into my five-gallon bucket where the fish I want to harvest go.
  • Oh, and don’t forge the bait, both live and plastics.

All this stuff does not add up to that much money. Mobile ice fishing is much less expensive than even owning a small fishing boat. And using this always-keep-moving ice fishing tactic makes it almost like you’re trolling across the lake.

I Love Ice Fishing Rods

So I have this thing with ice fishing rod and reels, I like to put together different rods, reels, line, spring bobbers and jigs types, then play with them on the ice. I usually keep a half dozen with me.

Different setups work better or not depending on the weather. See, I’m an outside kinda fisherman. I dislike fishing inside a warm and toasty ice shanty.  In there, you can use whatever you want, as long as it matches the fish you want to catch. Outside it’s a bit different.

When it’s cold, small fishing rod eyes and narrow spring bobbers freeze up very quickly. Spinning reels also can have more issues with quickly freezing water. The newer style ice fishing fly reels, along with a rod with larger eyes works much better when you’re enduring the freezing cold temps outside.

Wind is another concern. Here I’ve found that a good stiff sensitive rod does better than a wimpy, noodle rod. Even the spring bobber can easily be influenced by the wind, making for a frustrating experience if the bite is light.

I am still in search of the best rod that works both well in the cold and the wind.

New Tech in Ice Augers

The K-DRILLFor the last three seasons or so, I’ve been using one of these new electric augers that attach to your average, well better be good anyway, cordless drill. The K-DRILL is one of those revolutionary, habit changing products. And a BIG secret that I have found; having NO gas smell on your hands translates into a MUCH better day fishing.

Check out this page to learn more about the K-DRILL…

http://icefishingtoday.com/ice-fishing-products/k-drill-electric-ice-auger-system/

 

 

Ice Fishing Safety

Safety comes first, and that’s no joke in this sport. If you are not careful, serious discomfort and, yes, even death can result. Take precautions and check, check, check! So how much ice does there need to be before you will venture out?