A Beginner's Guide to Ice Fishing

NH Recreation Articles: NH Ice Fishing                                              

NH Ice Fishing 101

A Beginner's Guide to Ice Fishing

So you've decided to go ice fishing. It can be great fun, and quite rewarding if you know and follow the basics.

While there are many ways to ice fish, most folks in NH use tip-ups. They cut a hole, place the 'trap' on the surface, put bait on the line, and set the tip-up, (so called because a small flag rises when the fish take the bait.) Most will set multiple traps some feet apart and watch for the tell-tale flags to rise.

Thankfully, ice fishing doesn't require too much equipment: Ice fishing is fun for the family.warm clothes, a current fishing license, an axe or auger to cut holes in the ice, poles or traps to catch the fish, and bait, usually minnows. Warm, waterproof boots, a thermos with soup or hot beverage, and sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher, are highly recommended. You may also find snacks, a folding lawn chair and blanket handy. And ice fishing is definitely more fun, and safer, with a buddy or a companion.

Ice Thickness
Before going out, make sure the ice is safe. With the warm weather we've had lately, you want to make especially sure that you have at least 4 inches of hard, solid ice beneath you. If you are using a snowmobile, don't take it out on any frozen surface that is not at least 8 inches thick. Because lakes don't freeze uniformly, you will also have to check ice thickness at different places.

Making the Hole
You could use a chainsaw, axe or chippers to create the hole but an ice auger is the safest and most efficient option. Hand augers are much less expensive, but are much more work. A power auger can bore much faster and makes light work of the chore. Make it 8" wide.

Tip-ups and Rods & Reels
Inexpensive tip-ups (wood) start around $8-10 each. Quality ones (metal) are priced in the $15-25 range. Many fishermen take along at least one rod and reel combo. There are special ice fishing rods that look like a condensed version of an open water pole. It has shorter-length rod so that you can also use it from within an ice tent. Rod users may also bring lures based on the fish species in the body of water they are fishing.

Time Involved
If you are ice fishing for the first time, just plan on a few hours. It will take a while to open your holes and set your traps. If you wear the proper clothing you will be comfortable throughout. Do bring a buddy. Nothing is quite so discouraging as standing alone in the cold if the fish aren't biting. But when there is good action, you will want to stay as long as you are comfortable.

Bringing the Family
If the weather is 'warm-ish' consider bringing your family. Snowmen, snow forts, snow angels and good natured snowball fights all happen easily. If you have eight inches of hard ice below you, building a campfire is perfectly safe. Nothing beats eating your catch, and rosting marshmellows around a campfire.


Scheduled Events

  Seussical   (9/6-15)
  2001 Space Odyssey   (9/7)
  Muster in the Mountains   (9/7-9)
  Wingzilla   (9/8)
  Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino   (9/9)
  Things [Mom] Taught Me   (9/13-23)
  Reach the Beach   (9/14-15)
  WM Storytelling Festival   (9/14-16)
  Metallak Race   (9/15)
  Mandeville & Richards   (9/15)
  Cohase Film Slam   (9/16)
  Tricycle Grand Prix  (9/16)
  Rodney Crowell   (9/21)
  NH Highland Games   (9/21-23)
  Don Who   (9/22)
  Harvest Celebration   (9/22)
  Health & Wellness Fair   (9/22)
  Jeep Invasion  (9/22)
  Lakes Region Tri Festival   (9/22-23)
  Pat Metheny   (9/26)
  Driving Miss Daisy   (9/27 - 10/6)
  Neko Case   (9/27)
  Shot of JD   (9/28)
  Dixville Half Marathon   (9/29)
  New Hampshire Marathon   (9/29)
  Matthew Odell   (9/30)
  Lincoln Fall Craft Festival   (10/6&7)
  Sparrow Blue & Crowes Pasture   (10/6)
  Oktoberfest  (10/6-7)
  White Mountain Oktoberfest   (10/6-7)
  Fall Foliage Celebration   (10/6-8)
  Sandwich Fair   (10/6-8)
  Paddle the Border   (10/7)
  Lincoln Fall Craft Festival   (10/7-9)
  Shadow Play   (10/10)
  Killer Joe   (10/11-21)
  Greg Brown   (10/12)
  Camping & RV Show   (10/12-14)
  Riverfire & Horrorfest   (10/13)
  Jay Stollman Band   (10/19)
  Murder Dinner Train   (10/19-20)
  Pumpkin Patch Express   (10/19-21)
  All Things Pumpkin   (10/20)
  Ethan Setiawan Band   (10/20)
  Bettye LaVette   (10/26)
  Murder Dinner Train   (10/26-27)
  Pumpkin Patch Express   (10/26-28)
  Berlin Jazz   (10/27)

 ◄ Expanded Calendar ►

Photo Galleries


Miss Berlin-Gorham Competition 2012 New England Brewfest 2014 RiverFire, Berlin, NH 2012 Sugar Hill Lupine Festival Gallery 2012 Bristol-Gorham Foliage
Quick Links


Business Directory



                      more ►  





Area Attractions opening/closing schedules.

  Alpine Adventures
  Clark's Trading Post
  Cog Railway
  Conway Scenic Railroad
  Fort Jefferson Fun Park
  Jericho Mountain ATV Park
  Kancamagus Highway
  Littleton Riverwalk
  Lost River Gorge
  Mountain Meadow Funplex
  Mt. Washington Auto Road
  Polar Caves
  Santa's Village
  Vertical Ventures
  Whale's Tail Water Park
  Woodstock Inn & Brewery


more ►  


Community Profiles


  Bretton Woods
  North Conway
  Twin Mountain

more ►  


Recreation and Tourism


  25 Great Summer Adventures
  Farm To Table Restaurants
  Hiking To Crash Sites
  Little Ski Areas
  Local Movie Theaters
  Local Performance Theaters
  Moose Tours


more ►  


Other Resources

  NH Cabins & Cottages
  NH Census Info
  NH Data (OEP)
  NH Fishing Reports
  NH Foliage Report
  NH Hiking Trail Conditions
  NH Lottery
  NH Movie Guide
  NH Road Conditions
  NH Ski Reports
  NH Snowmobile Trail Reports
  NH State Parks
  NH Town Officials Directory
  NH Weather
  Summer Safety Tips [.pdf]
  White Mtn. National Forest




Copyright 2012-2018 by George C. Jobel, 603-491-4340. All Rights Reserved.