During winter some anglers look to escape the cold. They travel in great numbers to warmer climates to find water that remains open, where lures don’t bounce. But as the saying goes: “to each his own.” There also are northern anglers who can’t wait until ice forms. Others still, may actually head north during winter, seeking colder weather for ice fishing vacations.
Why would anyone want to look for ice fishing destinations? There are several reasons. First of all, it is kind of a thrill just to be able to stand on a lake. No matter how many times I go ice fishing, there is still a part of me that every now and then thinks, “Whoa, I’m standing ON A LAKE.” That’s alone one of the best parts of taking ice fishing vacations.
Another reason simply is the access to fish. Depending on ice conditions and ice fishing destinations you may even be able to drive out to your fish. Most of the time, however, anglers walk out, dragging a sled of gear and perhaps an ice fishing hut and start drilling holes.
When trying to determine where to fish, see if you can locate a contour map. In general, many types of fish will be, as Bassmaster pro Kevin VanDam might put it, “sulking” in the deeper channels and holes. If you fished the lake during warmer months, apply the same information you learned from the boat. Drill holes near weed line edges, rock piles, drop offs, or brush.
Additionally, there are social aspects to ice fishing. It is a great chance to polish those fishing stories with a buddy while waiting for a tip-up flag to well, tip up. There also are ice fishing competitions across the north which provides a great opportunity to plan ice fishing vacations with other anglers. Ice fishing destinations vary greatly from state to state. Some state parks offer cabins or yurts during the winter, even providing ice fishing vacation packages Some states allow anglers to drive 4 wheelers out on ice, while in other places this might be frowned upon. In a couple of weeks a friend of mine is going on a heated air-boat out on Lake Erie for a chance at some giant walleye and piles of yellow perch.
Whatever your ice fishing destination, be sure to keep safety in mind. As fun as it may be, ice conditions must be continually monitored. If this is your first ice fishing trip of year, make sure that your fishing license is up to date. And watch for free ice fishing days which are offered by some states. You just may find a new cure for “cabin fever.”