Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson
The direct message inboxes on my social media pages always start to get busy this time of year as the wives and girlfriends of my fishing and hunting buddies send me messages looking for ideas on what to get their “significant other” for Christmas.
For those of us that live in the north or in the “Ice Belt” as we like to refer to it, ice fishing is an activity that keeps us busy for four or five months out of the year. Winter is long and there is no better way to spend time in the outdoors than by fishing on the ice.
Here are some great gift ideas to cover several price ranges for the hardwater angler on your list, all available on the ICE FISHING page at KrugerFarms.com.
Gussy with a Ontario Sunset Country Walleye
Fresh fishing line always helps catch more fish in open water and on the ice. Power Pro Ice Tek is a top-notch braided line designed specifically for ice fishing. It is specially coated to prevent freezing so anglers can fish without having to constantly clean ice off their line.
The Strikemaster Bait Puck is a handy little item that can be used to store things in our pockets. I have used these for years for store tackle, live bait and other small items I want to keep dry or protect. They are great for those remote, back country trips where packing light is a necessity.
Gussy Ice Jiggin’ for Crappie
Tip-ups and Combos
Anglers can never have to many fishing rods – so a new combo is always welcomed. Depending on what your gift recipient likes to fish for, there is an ice fishing rod and reel combo that will work for them. Anglers that fish for panfish like perch, bluegills or crappies should consider light or medium light action rods. Walleye anglers should look at medium action rods, while pike and lake trout anglers should be using medium-heavy or heavy action rods.
Many anglers use good quality fishing rods in winter but team them up with mediocre reels. This is a mistake because if you hook into a big fish, you’ll want to have the quality drag that comes with a good reel. I use Shimano Sedona 500 size reels on my panfish combos and 1000 size models on my walleye and trout rods. These reels are still affordable, while offering a big upgrade from the reels the come with most rod and reel combos.
A fleet of tip-ups is always handy, especially if the angler on your list especially likes to fish for pike. Fishing dead baits under a tip-up with a quick-strike rig remains the number one technique for catching big pike, no matter where you fish. My favourite is the Frabill Thermal 10” Round Tip-Up because it helps prevent your hole from freezing and they are very easy to store in a regular five gallon bucket.
Monster Hard Water Northern Pike
Like most winter outdoor activities, keeping warm is one of the biggest keys, but with ice fishing even more important, as you find yourself standing on a giant sheet of ice. Two key things to keep you warm are to have good base layers and proper footwear. Nothing keeps you warm and dry like Under Armour Base Layer products. For that special someone’s feet, consider a good pair of insulated boots or wool socks.
If you really want to spoil somebody with a great gift, KrugerFarms.com can help you out.
Hans down, the best suit on the market for the serious ice angler is the Frabill SnoSuit. I have worn this suit for several years and I can promise you that it is warm and extremely comfortable in any kind of nasty winter weather, and trust me, I get to test it out over the course of our long, Canadian winter. It is well built with plenty of cool little features designed for ice fishing. It will last for many years on the ice!
Most serious anglers own a flasher or depth finder of some sort (a fish finder/depth finder device) and most of them would probably not even consider hitting the ice without one. They allow us to check the depth of the water, see fish that are below our hole and watch how fish interact with our lure. For the past five years I have used the Humminbird ICE 55. It is very easy to use and will increase any anglers catches on the ice. If you think your angler could use an upgrade on their flasher, this is the one you want.
Ontario’s Sunset Country Region (www.ontariossunsetcountry.ca) where I live is one of the top ice fishing destinations in North America. With over 75,000 lakes across the region there is no shortage of water to fish! If you would like the plan the dream ice fishing trip, visit the link above and you can find the lodge or outfitter to help you plan your trip. Many of the top TV fishing shows, outdoor writers and photographers visit this region every winter to take advantage of all of the great fishing opportunities that exist here. I promise a great trip!
Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing krugerfarms.com and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/gussyoutdoors).