Long range forecasting of the weather is filled with uncertainty, so I will not pretend to know how soon it is going to start getting cold. The calendar is soon to read “December” and chances are there is some cold weather in our future, but how soon we will have enough ice for ice-fishing is anyone’s guess. In Nebraska “normal” is the average of the extremes, and I have been on the ice as early as Thanksgiving. However, most years I figure my early ice fishing trips will be nearer to Christmas, and although I dried some off the just-past Thanksgiving weekend, certainly none of them were pulled through an ice hole, not yet.
All I know is now is the time to start getting the ice gear ready to go. If you have a gas auger, here is an excellent article on prepping that for our upcoming ice season:
If you have gotten into the electric auger market, or with your hand auger, it is still time to make sure the blades are sharp. Get an extra set of auger blades just to be sure you have a set that are ready to go!
With an electric auger, maybe it is time to put a couple of extra batteries on your Christmas wish list?
Get those ice fishing rods and reels out and check the line. Now is the time to replace monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. The “super” lines last a lot longer, but if you are using any of those for ice fishing you may want to fill spools or replace those lines as well.
Your favorite tackle shop probably has several racks of the latest and greatest ice fishing lures on display already. If you must buy another couple dozen of those in your favorite colors, purple with pink polka dots for me, please, now would be the time to get ’em. Even with brand-new baits fresh out of the packaging, MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE HOOKS! Do some hook-sharpening on your current inventory as well as the newest editions. I blogged about sharpening hooks just a couple of weeks ago, Sharpening Hooks.
Now would be the time to take inventory of all of your other ice fishing gear, hats, outerwear, boots, gloves and mittens (have several extras!), rods, reels, creepers, skimmers, pliers, leaders, tip-ups, sleds, heaters, etc., etc., etc. Get the repairs and modifications done, add new gear that you need, get ready, because when we get safe ice, you are going to want to be on it!