Top 5 Things to Know When You Book an Ice Fishing Trip

If you've never been ice fishing it might be because you think it's likely to be a difficult and expensive undertaking to go out there, stay a couple of days and catch some fish.

But, you shouldn’t worry about that. Plenty of businesses specialize in this outdoor sport. They take care of every detail for you, and do it cheaply. All you need to do is to pay the fee and show up. Before you do, however, it’s a good idea to know how to choose an ice fishing trip package.

Do they give you advice to help you prepare?

Ice fishing in Canada requires a fishing license. In the province of Ontario, for instance, you need to apply for the Ontario Fishing License and Ontario Outdoors Card. You also need to be familiar with the Ontario Fishing Regulations. It’s a good idea to go with a company that offers some good advice and tutorials in these areas.

How about the essentials?

With the right clothes and equipment, ice fishing can actually be comfortable, warm and fun. If you’re a beginner, or just trying the activity out, you can’t buy it all — it would cost you thousands. This is why it makes sense to go with a package. A good, reputable company should give you transportation on and off the ice on snowmobiles or other suitable transportation, and provide you with heated ice shacks, rods, reels, lures and bait.

They should come in with motorized augers to drill holes in the ice, give you buckets for the fish that you catch, bring in underwater cameras and sonar equipment so that you can see what you’re doing, and provide you with a guide who stays with you the entire time.

You need to think about protective clothing

Staying warm is your number one concern when you’re out ice fishing. While you do get a heated ice shack, you need to know that it doesn’t warm you enough to make up for inadequate protection. You can have fun sitting out in the sun if you’re lucky, but you can’t count on it. Some operators may be able to kit you out with all the clothing that you need. If not, it’s usually possible to find everything you need second-hand — heavy down jacket, insulated hat and gloves, (woolen socks and undergarments less so, but very important), and rain gear.

Make sure you understand what is expected of you

Some operators offer packages in which they guide customers through every step; others expect you to drive your own snowmobile, or even steer your own boat. You need to make sure that the package you get is designed the way you want it.

Finally, make sure to read reviews

Ice fishing is a challenging activity, especially when you depend on a tour provider to be there for you in many important ways. It’s one thing for a provider of ice fishing packages to promise everything from ice fishing safety lessons to ice fishing gear; it’s another for them to actually deliver in a satisfactory manner. Reading up reviews and asking for references can help.

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