Minocqua truly does have the perfect weather for ice fishing I recently found out after learning more about the sport. In the last few weeks, we've had bright sunny days with an average temperature of around 15°F with cold, freezing nights to help thicken Lake Minocqua's layer of ice.
But aside from the fact that the weather is just right and the frozen lake makes for beautiful scenery, I had to explore why the sport of Ice Fishing was so popular up here. What I ended up with was a deeper appreciation for the patience and determination these fishermen must have while waiting hours on the lake for that one right catch.
So, for those of you who have never tried it before, it really can be enjoyable (if you dress warm). Our resort offers the perfect accommodations for ice fishing. We are literally on the edge of the lake so travel time to get to your spot is great. Also, the walk home is incredibly short and when you get to your cabin, you can sit by the fireplace with a hot drink of choice (or cold beer) and thaw out. If you have ever wondered what goes into ice fishing, read on to find out!
Ice Fishing Basics
1. Contact a local baitshop in the area you plan to fish and ask them about ice thickness. Falling through thin ice is a very real danger and can happen easily if you are not careful. Make absolutely sure the ice is ready to be fished on.
2. Understand local laws and get a fishing license. Know which types of fish you can fish for and what size requirements exist.
3. Find a spot and grab the auger. Carefully apply pressure to the hand ice auger as you progressively cut deeper into the ice. If you choose to use a power auger, understand how to use it before going out onto the ice. Also note that power augers can spook the fish from your area.
4. Prepare your fishing rod with live bait if you are beginner. Remember there are different rods for ice fishing versus open water fishing. As there is no need to cast long distances, ice fishing rods are much shorter. I highly recommend reading a few expert tutorials about equipment before your first trip.
5. A good rule of thumb is to drop your bait to the lake bottom first to see if the fish are biting there. If they are not, bring up your line about 12-18 inches from the lake floor and hold steady for a bit. If they do not bite at this level, progressively bring the bait up towards the surface until you find the level where they are biting. If you don't, it's time to find a new spot.
6. Even though ice shanties look cozy and fun, they are not necessary in ice fishing. All you truly need to catch those fish are a fishing pole with a spring bobber, bait, small jigs and a bucket to sit on and carry home your fish in. I also recommend warm clothes including long underwear and good boots.
Well there you have it. Now you are armed with just enough info to give ice fishing a try if you haven't ever before. It's a great sport to introduce to your children and to pass the time on vacation. I have been told it is very peaceful and relaxing, although I can't say that I've done much of it myself. I tend to be the one warming up the fireplace and simmering hot chocolate with mini marshmallows for the men and kid-sicles when they get back. But whatever floats your boat, Minocqua, WI truly is the best town to accommodate you.