Ice Fishing Tips for Beginners




  1. As with any outdoor activity, safety comes first. Make sure the ice thickness is at least 3 to 4 inches. Go with a friend or pick a spot where other ice anglers are nearby. Click Here for additional safety tips before going on the ice or talk to one of our fishing experts to get the latest information on local ice conditions. 406-755-6484.
  2. Wear the proper cold weather clothing and make sure to wear layers. Start with thermal layers such as merino wool next to skin, and thick water-resistant, wind-resistant outerwear, as well as a good pair of gloves. Frostbite and hypothermia pose a real threat to ice anglers so it is important to be prepared.
  3. Another must-have for safety on the ice is a set of ice picks worn around the neck. In the event that a person falls through the ice, ice picks are the easiest way to pull yourself out of the hole.
  4. As far as ice fishing equipment goes, an ice fishing beginner should start out with an ice-fishing spinning combination with a 24″ light action rod. We stock Ice rod/reel combos by Frabill, Berkley and St. Croix.
  5. You’ll also need some type of Ice Auger to drill a hole in the ice. At the Sportsman & Ski Haus we carry hand, electric and gas powered augers by Strikemaster.
  6. Make sure to pick up an assortment of ice-fishing jigs. Custom Jigs & Spins are always a good bet, as well as locally made  jigs from Glacier Tackle or Zimmer Tackle. Stop by and talk to our fishing experts to find out what colors and sizes are most effective.
  7. Ample bait is a priority before you hit the ice, and while wax worms are an all around good bait, Berkley Powerbait is an equally good option to have packed in the tackle box.
  8. You’ll also need a place to sit while on the ice, and Frabill’s Sit-N-Fish bucket not only works as a padded foam seat, it doubles as storage for bait or tackle.
  9. Lastly, you may want to invest in a 1 to 3 man portable Ice house that will provide shelter from the elements, and is a great way to get the whole family out on the ice. We carry Ice Houses from Frabill and Clam and have several models and makes to choose from.