Boat Ready?

So far, the winter’s warmer temperatures in the Northeast have been a pleasant change from last year’s beast. It was cold enough to create about 5 inches of safe ice on most lakes, but then we had several days in the 50’s. As one ice-fishing buddy said, “When we came off the lake, the ice was cracking, but not the good, growing ice sound.” I know there still could be a couple of months of hard water around but I intend to hit the open water without any down time.

Here are a few things I’ve done to get my boat ready that you might need to check too:

  • Trolling motor fixed. It turns out several years ago I replaced the propeller with a model that was slightly incompatible. It ran, but wobbled a bit and created some efficiency problems.

  • Battery. Check the date of your trolling battery. (And your backup battery.) I had no idea my power source was that old. I will recycle it and get a new one which should keep us humming along the shore for several years.

  • Boat trailer lights. Trailer lights are my nemesis. Rather than waste time tracking down (and possibly not even finding) the naughty connection, I’m replacing the whole wire harness kit. I also bought a nifty wire-cutting tool that strips just the right amount of insulation off to make a good connection.

  • Boat Registration. Pennsylvania lets you purchase registration that will cover for two years. Mine just arrived in the mail. One less thing to worry about for my powered river boat until 2018.

Make sure your boat registration and fishing license is up to date. Oh, and I finally broke down and invested in an ice auger. That should open up the water very soon!

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.