As a dad to twin boys who are now age six, I can confirm that ice fishing is a wonderful way to connect with your kids. Whether you're a parent like me or a grandparent with little ones around, the following tips will ensure that your time on the ice is not only enjoyable but also safe and successful. Read on for some valuable insights on how to prepare for this exciting adventure.
Ice fishing provides a chance to create lasting memories, but you must keep several factors in mind when taking kids ice fishing.
Here are some tips to ensure that the experience is safe, fun, and memorable for all involved. First, watch the weather. While ice fishing is inherently cold, if the mercury drops below the teens or colder, it could be difficult for the kids to have a good time. Choose a day when the conditions are favorable for playing outside in the snow. Slushy conditions are no fun for anyone, especially kids.
Second, dress for success. Dress the kids in layers as you would yourself, but bear in mind that children's winter clothes are not designed for extreme weather. Bringing some spare boots, pants, and gloves is also advisable in case of an accident.
Leave the 10-inch auger at home. Not drilling any extra holes that won't be fished from can also help prevent a wet boot or worse, a twisted ankle.
Fourth, start simple. Setting up an arsenal of tip-ups in a northern pike hot spot is a great way to get kids interested in fishing. They're not tied to a single hole and can roam or play in the snow then join the fun by running to the flag.
Fifth, pack plenty of snacks and refreshments. Munching on snacks can help fill the void between bites and add to the enjoyment if it's a special treat they don't normally get to eat. Bringing some hot cocoa in a thermos is a great way to warm up.
Sixth, have a plan for bathroom breaks. There are several portable toilet options on the market that are a step up from a 5-gallon bucket. If you're fishing without an ice shanty, make sure you pack something like a blanket to give the young angler some privacy while they do their business. Don't forget the toilet paper.
Seventh, make a big deal about any fish the kids catch, no matter the size. They'll likely be just as excited about a 4-inch panfish as a 24-inch northern, so don't dampen their enthusiasm. Take plenty of trophy photos to commemorate the occasion.
Finally, when the kids are ready to go home, it's time to go. Even if it's just getting to be prime time, forcing them to stay on the ice any longer than their attention span can handle will make them dread the next trip.
In addition to these tips, it is essential to wear the right clothing and carry basic safety gear. Wear a stocking cap, scarf or neck gaiter, mittens, warming layers, thick wool socks, and insulated rubber-soled boots. Carry basic safety gear such as hot chocolate and snacks, band-aids, hand warmers, personal flotation devices on ropes, and a sled.
In conclusion, taking kids ice fishing is an excellent opportunity to bond with them and create lasting memories. With proper preparation and planning, you can ensure that everyone has a fun, safe, and memorable experience. So, the next time you go ice fishing, don't forget to pack the kids!