Ice fishing season has arrived! Here’s what you need to get started

You'll need these 7 things, and you'll come home with a big smile.

RAPID CITY, S.D.- A few breaks in the colder weather moved in during the past week, but more cold temperatures are on the way, and ice will continue to build on local lakes. Jim Bussell, a pro-staffer with Cold Snap Outdoors and employee at The Rooster in Rapid City, has some suggestions on what to buy if you want to go fish.

  1. A fishing license! The 2022 licenses expire on Jan. 31, 2023, but you can get your 2023 license as early as December 15 of 2022.
  2. Warm clothes that are layered, and will keep you dry. Some even choose to wear ice armor from a company like Clam Outdoors. “A lot of their suits have buoyancy built into them. They’re float suits so that if you do happen to go through, you’re able to stay afloat,” Bussell explains.
  3. Waterproof boots. “Those are really important because you’re going to be drilling holes. Water is going to be coming up out of the hole,” says Bussell.
  4. “Good wool socks… and then the other thing is gloves, mittens, hat, things like that.” Bussell explains that cold hands or feet can cut the day short, but can be prevented with the right socks and gloves.

  5. A way to make a hole in the ice. This can be as simple or fancy as you want it to be- “there’s a lot a lot of really cool systems out there,” says Bussell. “One of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to drill holes is just with a hand auger. Literally, what you do is you just lean on it and you crack a hole in the ice.” There are also ways to make holes in the ice with a handheld cordless drill, and then even bigger battery-powered augers.
  6. A fishing pole or tip-up. There are lots of options for this too, ranging for beginning to advanced set-ups. As Jim Bussell explains, they all work well. “I still run what’s called the Schooley set up. It’s my very first ice fishing rod from when I was a kid, and those are very inexpensive, very basic, very user friendly.” However, there are rod and reel options too, or tip-ups, where the angler baits a hook, drops the line down, and a flag pops up when there’s a bite.
  7. A hook and bait! “You can go out and and have some simple jigs and wax worms on the end of a Schooley rod. You’re into it for less than 50 bucks and go out and catch fish,” says Bussell. 


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