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The Ice Fishing Essentials Checklist

Ice fishing is an awesome way for anglers to access a body of water without owning a boat. You can get out on the ice and fish areas not reachable from shore with a short list of “must have” ice fishing gear. If you want to catch fish consistently throughout the season, there is a slightly longer list that includes “need to have” ice fishing gear. Lastly, if you want to step your game up and fish like the pro’s, you should invest in the “good to have” elite ice gear. Here is a checklist of the must have, need to have, and good to have ice fishing essentials.

Must Have

 Strong Winter Clothing: Jacket, snowpants, hats, boots, gloves

 Safety Picks: Emergency ice picks to climb out of the water

 Ice Cleats: Metal spikes worn on boots to walk on ice

 Ice Auger: 6-10 Inch ice drill to cut holes in the ice

 Ice Scoop: Ladle to remove slush from your hole

 Ice Rod & Reel: Smaller rod & reel to fish over an ice hole

 Micro Jigs: Small jigs to fish your bait

 Spikes: Wax worms or euro larvae to use as bait

Need to Have

 Jigging Lures: Ice fishing lures that sink to target larger game fish

 Ice Spoons: Light reflecting lures to target larger eating fish

 Tip Up: Ice fishing trap with live bait to spread out for trophy fish

 Minnows: Bait to tip your jigging lures or use live under your tip up

 Bucket: Storage for your gear and a stool to sit on

 Sled: Transports your ice fishing gear long distances

Good to Have

 Power Auger: automatic ice auger that drills holes for you

 Flasher: Fish finder to locate fish and present your lure

 Underwater Camera: Used to find panfish and identify bottom consistency

 Shelter: Pop-up or flip-over shelter to fish in poor weather conditions

 Portable Heater: Heat source to fish at night in your shelter


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Ed Hitchcock

Ed Hitchcock

Ed Hitchcock is the owner of Tailored Tackle Fishing Kits & Combos, a beginner-focused fishing tackle company. Ed's team creates beginner fishing tackle packages paired with educational content to help new anglers learn to fish and improve their skills. Check out their educational resources and beginner fishing tackle.