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Ice Fishing Tip Ups – Ice Fishing Rods

Ice Fishing Tip Ups – Ice Fishing Rods

If you haven’t tried ice fishing, you don’t know what you are missing.  You can sit in a shack.  You can run between fishing holes.  Watching ice fishing tip ups or jigging with a rod, its just fun.

Inside or Outside

In a Shack

Ice fishing tip ups and rods are used in a fishing shack.  If a tip up is used, its generally set as a second line while a rod is used a few few feet away.

Rods makes more sense in a shack.  You don’t have to go very far to tend a line.

Know you ice fishing regulations.  Ontario, Canada allows two ice fishing lines per person. But, they must be 60 feet apart. This makes multiple lines in a fishing shack impossible.

On Open Ice

Tip Ups make it easy to fish multiple lines. reports that one person can fish two holes at once in Minnesota.  In Massachusetts, up to 5 lines can be used at once.

ice fishing tip ups

On open ice, rods are braced so they are visible from a distance.   The bale is left open so the fish can take line.  Tip ups are more practical on open ice.

Which to Use

Ice Fishing Tip Ups

ice fishing tip upsTips ups are very simple.  They come in several styles but all work the same.

The base sits across the fishing hole. A fluttering flag signals a hit.

The line spool sits in the water.  When a fish strikes, the line pulls a trigger which trips the flag.  The spool lets the fish can run.  Line is pulled in hand over hand.

Ice fishing tip ups are light to carry.  They are easy to set up.  Price varies. You can set a tip up and relax.  You don’t even have to set the hook.  That is done with the tension that triggers the flag.

Ice Fishing Rods

You won’t be casting when you’re ice fishing.  Although the fish may fun, you won’t be playing the fish when its hooked.  You drop your line straight down and pull the fish straight up.

Any rod will work for ice fishing.  Long rods are awkward.  You have to drop a long rod to pull the line by hand because dragging a fish onto the ice can knock it off the line.

An ice fishing rod should not be more than about 32″ inches long.  They are as short as 12″.  Most ice fishing rods come in a combination with a small reel.

 The flexibility of the rod is determined by the kind of fish you are after.

  • A light short rod is great for crappie, bass or trout.
  • A medium weight rod is a good for pickerel or northern pike,   It should be a bit longer for leverage.
  • The strongest rod you can find is a good idea for  muskie or lake trout.

Older rods can be made of fiberglass.  New rods are graphite.  They are both good choices.  I think a fiberglass rod is the most sensitive.

Carry the best ice fishing equipment you can.  You don’t need a reel that freezes solid.  You don’t want a rod that gets brittle and breaks.

Pick Your Spot – Be Safe

Check the Ice

Always check ice thickness.  Be careful early in the ice fishing season.  You can seafch for official reports about ice thickness.  Just google the name of your lake.   Checking popular lakes in the area will give a good indication of ice thickness of all lakes in the area.

Picture of thin ice provided by the Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel -Central Maine. com

If you can’t find a report on your lake or river, check the ice before fishing. Poke a hole about every 10 feet moving away from the bank toward your fishing spot.

Go Where You Know

Ice fishing on a lake that you know will be most productive.  If you know where a drop off is located, set up just on the inner edge.  Put your sets along the ridge.  Finding cover for fish is not an issue with ice fishing.

Although fish move to shallower water in the winter, fishing where you are successful in the summer will work.

Go When You Don’t Know

Ice fishing on a lake or river that you don’t know takes patience.  Some people cut test holes to check the water depth.  Unless the ice is to the bottom, if you cut a hole you might as well fish.

Fish for awhile.  If nothing hits, go to another spot.  This is more difficult with a fish shack than on open ice.

Ice fishing, in a shack or on open ice, is fun.  Relaxing in a shack with a box or video is wonderful.  On open ice, you can sip a hot coffee or build a snowman.  Sometimes the action is fast.  Sometimes its slow.  Ice fishing is a great way to spend a winter day.

Take a moment to leave a comment below.  Do you ice fish in a shack or on open ice. Describe the most exciting ice fishing trip you have had.

2 thoughts on “Ice Fishing Tip Ups – Ice Fishing Rods

  1. Hi, Neil.

    Thanks for your comment. Ice fishing happens in the northern states and in the high mountains of other states. I live in California. We have to go to the Sierra’s to find ice fishing, but in places like Maine and New Hampshire, it the ice is thick enough from mid-November until mid-March. This is all fresh water fishing. Almost every species of fresh water fish can be caught through the ice. Its a lot of fun. If you want to see a true picture of ice fishing, watch the movie Grumpy Old Men. That’s a bit old, but its really like that…. at least when a shack is used.

    Thanks again for your comment.


  2. Hi,
    I absolutely love going fishing but I must admit I have never had the chance to go ice fishing as I live in Australia and we don’t get too much ice down here!
    It does sound fascinating to me though and I would definitely consider travelling for the experience.
    What time of year is the season for it where you live?
    Also is there many fish? The seas over here are decent if you go far enough but not too good off the rocks to be honest.

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