This Ice Fishing Tip-Up Brings In A Big One!
There’s nothing more exciting than rolling out on the deep ice on your snowmobile to see the pleasant sign of fish-on-the-line! Ice fishing traps are a great way to trap fish until you’re ready to get them. These Russians know how it’s done! Simple design tip-up traps and a well augured ice hole. It’s not about any one trap, it’s about setting up a system. We’ll show you how it’s done.
Finding The Right Tip-Up For Ice Fishing
After digging or drilling a hole in the ice using an auger, you’re going to want to put a tip-up that has a flag easily visible from a long distance away. A tip-up ice fishing flag visible from about 100 yards is perfect. Just remember – you’ll likely be putting a lot of tip-ups in the water so it will be a good idea to use flags that are easily distinguishable.
The tip-up ice fishing rig should be made of a durable material. Some handmade versions rely on cheap wood or polymers that don’t react well to freezing temperatures – this is bad. A great tip-up is designed to keep the spool and some of the line above water. The most ideal materials for ice fishing tip-ups are usually wood or metal because plastic doesn’t handle sunlight and cold temperatures as well.
Recap: Ice Fishing Tip-Up Trap Selection
• Durable metal or wood material
• Easily visible flag
• Line is kept lubricated
• Hook and line is kept submerged
• Size 6-8 hook for bluegill, crappie, or panfish
• Size 4-6 for walleye
• Size 2/0 or 6/0 for pike
• Don’t put too much weight on the line
Hooks are an important piece of ice fishing. Scout out what types of fish are commonly found in any particular body of water and set your traps accordingly. Check back on them f
Hooks are an important piece of ice fishing. Scout out what types of fish are commonly found in any particular body of water and set your traps accordingly. Check back on them frequently to ensure that your bait hasn’t been eaten, your trap is still there, and there’s not a fish desperately clinging to the other side of it!
How To Setup Your Ice Fishing Trap System
Every great ice fisherman uses a system when setting up his traps. He can put them all in a line or spread out across the lake. Identifying what type of fish you’re looking to catch can often help you choose where you want to place your traps. You also want to space out your traps so they’re not all in the same area.
Method 1: Line Tip-Up Traps
Sometimes it’s just simpler to keep all the tip-up traps in a straight line. That way, when you’re driving by on your snowmobile, you can quickly see which one needs to be reset. Setting up in a line makes this easy. Place your tip-up traps roughly 6-10 feet apart depending on the thickness of the ice and the number of traps you have. Once they’re all set, set a timer to remind yourself at intervals to go out on the ice and check up on those traps. A fish left too long may have either torn itself off the hook or nibbled all the bait away.
Method 2: Hexagonal Tip-Up Trap Setup
A hexagon is a six-sided geometric shape and it’s also a good approach to setting up your ice fishing traps. If a particular area happens to be catching a lot of fish, a hexagon trap setup will just make sense. Traps are spaced out evenly 10 ft apart to form a ring. The advantage of using this system is you can see which areas are being frequented more often by fish without having to spend a lot of time out on the ice.
Method 3: Random Tip-Up Trap Setup
Unlike the linear or hexagonal method, the random set-up is a good approach if you have no idea where the fish frequent. Setting up traps in different locations makes it harder to regularly check up on them but it will begin to give you indications of what fish are where. This can be helpful if you’re unfamiliar with the frozen lake or pond on which you’re ice fishing. For this method, just scout out along the perimeter of the lake and set up your traps in a convenient route that’s easy to map. Mark your traps carefully because you never know who else comes out onto the lake and you’d hate for that pike to get away because someone else nabbed it.
No matter which method you find works out best, always check with your local Fish & Game to get their rules and specifications on ice fish trapping. Some have careful rules to follow and others just have a general season and require you to report your fish. Trapping is a fantastic way to have all the excitement of ice fishing without constantly being stuck out on the lake. Have you found any special tips or tricks that you’ve found bring you success out on the frozen waters? Tell us about them in the comments section below!