Whether it’s fishing on a small boat, on the side of a pond, or on solid ice, fishing with kids can be a fun and valuable experience.
We are still in the midst of cold weather for the next few months. This means it may be the perfect opportunity to take your kids ice fishing if the weather permits in your area (sorry Florida, Arizona, and other year-round warm-weather friends).
As long as you have an auger, shanty, jig poles, some bait, and any other necessities, it’s likely to be a successful day.
When it comes to ice fishing, however, know the risks. Since it is done on ice, issues arise that aren’t affiliated with normal fishing. Here is a list of things to keep in mind when your little one is out on the ice with you.
Ice Fishing Safety and Suggestions
- Be cautious of the weather.
Obviously, ice fishing requires cold weather. Only go ice fishing on days where the temperature is cold enough for the ice to be frozen completely. On the contrary, it can’t be too cold. Like any outdoor activity, freezing temperatures are likely just going to make everyone miserable. So pick a safe temperature, not a freezing one. Make sure kids have layers for the cold weather. A good habit to get into is also testing the ice thickness. Safe ice should be at least 4-inches thick and should be away from flowing water.
- Stay away from bigger holes
While it may seem easier to take the biggest auger you have on the trip, it could be a disaster with a small child. A hole that is close to 10-inches can very likely be one bad step away from having a kid in freezing cold water. Also, make sure you only drill holes that you know you’re going to use. Extra holes in the ice can easily slip the mind. This will possibly cause nasty falls and twisted ankles.
- Prepare for breaks
If you’re going ice fishing with children, make sure you’re prepared to take proper breaks. This means pack lots of snacks and hot drinks to make it a more pleasant experience. Also, make sure you’re prepared for a bathroom break. Whether it’s a bucket or other portable toilet options, it’s something to keep in mind.
- Be the ultimate cheerleader
When your kid catches a fish, act like they just caught a huge 24-inch fish each time. The excitement can help them be more likely to go on future trips. Make sure to leave when the kids seem bored or overall not into it anymore for the day. Staying out on the ice too long can make kids have poor associations with the activity.
- Wear sunscreen and proper footwear
Even in colder months, direct sunlight can be a no-no. The snow and ice can create a glare that can lead to sunburns. Also, a pair of insulated boots with non-slip soles will help prevent any nasty falls.
While it’s important to know how to stay safe while ice fishing, it’s important to also know how to catch some good fish. The first step for this should always be making sure you have a fishing license in the state you live in.
The proper ice fishing rod should be more sensitive and shorter. An ultralight spinning reel with an eight-pound fishing line should be a good fit for most fish. Live bait is the best for kids and other beginners.