As ice fishing season approaches it’s very easy to get complacent about getting gear ready. I have a routine I work through every October. I pick a nice warm day and drag out all my shelters, sleds, and huts. After I put them all up I check for rips and tears, then I look at all the nuts and bolts. I replace the broken ones and tighten the loose ones. After a thorough cleaning, I let them dry and put them to the side.

After that I get my Vexilars out and wipe them down and check the charge. Next I dig out my Mr. Heaters, inspect for loose or worn parts (I always keep a couple extra thermocouples around), light them up, let them cool, and put them in my sled.

My rods are next. I wipe them down and get a Q-tip to run inside the eyes. If I see cotton in the eye, I will replace that eye.

My wife absolutely loves the fact that I bring my jig boxes in the house for every evening football and hockey game. That is a perfect time to organize, inventory, and inspect all my jigs and jig heads.

Since I am still using my reels, I will be able to put new line on them as well as clean and lube them a few days before I start ice fishing.

I start and run my snowmobiles for about five minutes each month all summer, so I know they’ll function. However, a simple tune-up and grease job will help them make it through another winter with no problems.

I pick evenings to start digging out my ice fishing clothes. Since I have been fishing for part of the fall I know my “blue suit” is in good shape as well as my hat, wool socks, gloves, and Merino wool long underwear, but I still get out and organize all my “extra” clothes. Don’t forget to waterproof the leathers on your boots.

I go fishing every chance I get in the fall,  and my ice fishing GPS is always with me. I spend lots of time marking weed lines, rock piles, humps, or any other “sweet spot.” Every day that I take my Crestliner fishing, finding a new spot is always a goal. Some days it’s as easy as where I found fish very late in the fall, but other times it’s looking very hard for that small rock pile on the large flat.

As the season gets nearer and I am getting my gear ready, the ice fishing fever burns hard. During the evenings on my computer at home I spend a lot of time combing through all the ice fishing articles I can find. Check out some of them at

Talk more with Bernie at

Image courtesy Ice Team/Bernie Keefe

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