Get prepped for next ice-fishing season now
Walleye, northern and bass season close Sunday and permanent fish houses have to be off the lakes March 7 in our neck of the woods. Up north, they have until March 21.
If you are not going to go after the panfish or perch through the ice, here are some things that you might consider before packing things away until next ice season:
• Clean up around your fish houses and make sure you mark your spear holes with a branch so a late-season angler doesn’t take a bath.
• Put some rodent deterrent in your permanent houses and maybe a fabric sheet or two in your portables.
• Plug the chimney hole so rain doesn’t come down the pipe (a coffee can works well).
• Squirt some grease on your crank-down wheels if you have zirk fittings — one of my wheels was locked up this fall and I had to pay a visit to Brian’s Welding to set it free.
• If you own a skid house, make sure to block it up to get some air flow so you don’t rot the floor and the skids.
• Put a little gas stabilizer in your auger tank and run it for a minute or two. I have never done this but I think it might be smart.
• If you own Arctic Fisherman tip-ups or any other wooden tip-ups, store them in a cool place so they don’t get warped out of shape. If you can afford to buy new fishing reels (might not be priority) for the open-water season, it will be more convenient when next winter rolls around and you are already rigged and ready with your ice rods and reels.
• Totes are the key to storing all your winter goods. Make sure you label them.
I’m probably forgetting some important things, but at least this partial list will get your brain going after a long, cold, snowy winter on the ice.