Fall is here, most waterfowl are catching the first flight south and the bucks are starting to rut. That means the long-awaited ice fishing season is nearing. As with the beginning of any new season, preparation is key to ensure your first outing on the ice is a good one!

Now is the time to gather all your ice gear up from the back corner of your garage, off the shelf in the shed or wherever it has been hibernating for the past 7 months.

Electronics are a go-to tool for every angler and if the batteries haven’t been charged periodically throughout the off season, now is the time to get them out and charged or replaced with a new set. If needing to update batteries, lithium’s are a game changer in regards to battery life and overall weight.

Now is the time to check all your lines on your reels and tip-ups. There is nothing worse than setting the hook into a fish on the first day to only watch your brittle line snap and give you instant heart break. A little time spent on fixing and replacing line will go a long way for the rest of the season and hopefully give you the confidence to set the hook with force on that next mark on your sonar!

Tanner with perchIce house tune-ups are another crucial thing to ensure you have an enjoyable start to the ice season. Now is the time to make sure no mice snuck in during the offseason, all zippers are functioning and the fabric along with the windows are in good condition and not in need of any patching.

Tackle organization is another thing that hits the preseason checklist. Take this down time as an opportunity to organize your tackle, replace any bent or dull hooks, and replenish any hot lures/colors from the previous season.

Heat is what keeps us on the ice longer and our heaters should be gone over and ran for a few minutes before the first outing. Making sure there is adequate propane and the lines do not need to be bled is a lot easier to do in a controlled environment versus the unrelenting weather mother nature can bring our way in late November and early December!

Lastly, check your clothes and gear. Grab all of your gloves, hats along with bibs and jackets to ensure you are fully prepared for the first day out. It is still surprising to this day how easily a pair of gloves can turn into just one.

Preparation is the key to success and hopefully a few of these tips will help give you a successful start to your ice season!