Fishing with kids can be extremely rewarding. Helping them experience the thrill of a hook up usually is more exciting than you catching a fish yourself. However, fishing, especially ice fishing with kids is a thorough test of your amateur guiding skills. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when taking the entire family ice fishing.
1. Find Safe Ice
The first component of any ice fishing trip is safe ice. 5 inches is a commonly recommended thickness. You can check with other ice fishermen who have already been out, but always verify by drilling a test hole before you venture very far away from shore.
2. Wear Ice Traction Cleats
If ice is thick enough, to help everyone get around, invest in slip-on ice traction cleats. If there is some snow cover, the heavy tread of most insolated boots may be enough but additional cleats can be a boost of confidence during a time when a slip can promptly end any outing involving ice fishing with kids.
3. Be selective when you venture out
Sometimes, it may just be too cold, especially for kids. However, when you do head to the frozen lake, there is an old adage: “start warm, stay warm.” Kids should dress in layers and be well protected from the cold. Purchase a big pack of those little shake-to-activate hand warmers. Kids love fiddling with them. Closely monitor their warmth. No fishing is worth hypothermia.
4. Think of family ice fishing as day camping
A little tent or hut not only provides protection from wind exposure but it raises the fun level of the whole outing because you are hanging out in a “club house.” Ample snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate are highly advised as well.
5. Bring Bait
Don’t forget the bait. When ice fishing with kids, you want to keep the odds in your favor for catching fish and bait is hard to beat. Also, a bucket of minnows or a container of wiggling meal worms can be something else to hold their attention while awaiting a nibble.
Stay safe, stay warm, and keep it short. As the old show biz saying goes, “always leave them wanting more.” Don’t push it, so they’ll want to come back again.