How to Prepare for a Day of Ice Fishing With Your Kids

One of the most popular hobbies in the U.S. is fishing, and Northerners know that you can do it any time of the year. Ice fishing is a great way to get outside in the middle of winter, away from video games and TV, and enjoy some family time. Even young kids can participate in fishing if you set them up for success with the right tools for the day.

Make Sure You Pack It All

Before heading out to do some ice fishing with kids, it’s vital to prepare. Since most ice fishing is done in remote or rural locations, it’s important to take the things you’ll need because there isn’t likely to be a grocery store or gas station nearby. In addition to equipment for fishing, pack extra mittens and socks in case your children get the ones they are wearing wet.

You should also bring snacks and drinks, as hungry kids can easily become whiny and cranky. Fishing requires a level of patience your kids may not possess yet, and if you know they don’t sit still well, it may be worthwhile to bring some toys or a pack of cards. Keeping them occupied will help pass the time between bites and give them something to focus on besides being cold or bored.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Talk to the kids about what to expect when fishing before the day arrives. From watching fishing on tv, they might get the impression that it’s going to be constant bites from fish and nonstop excitement. Participating themselves, they will need to have patience and potentially wait a long time between bites. If you’ll be driving out to a location away from the home, it can be hours before they get to cast their lines, so make sure to keep them entertained and excited along the way. Let them know that any kind of fish is a big deal, even if it ends up being too small to keep.

Check The Weather Conditions

Pay attention to the weather on the day you have in mind for your family fishing day. Winter days are not all the same, and you want to choose the right one to make your expedition as successful as possible. Since kids aren’t likely to want to sit in a fishing shack all day, picking a sunny day when there is little precipitation is ideal so the kids can get out and run when they are bored.

At the very least, you want to minimize the chance of going out on a snowy or rainy day. Not only will this make it less enjoyable for the kids, but it also makes your work getting things ready much easier. For example, wet snow is much heavier than dry. Just six inches of moist snow weighs the same as around 38 inches of dry snow.

Pack Up As the Day Goes On

When the day ends, your kids aren’t likely to have a bunch of energy and patience left to help pack things up and get ready to go. Once you start to run out of light, packing everything up gets more difficult and takes longer. Instead, try to keep packing things up as you go through the day so most of the equipment is already set to go when the kids are worn out and the temperature is dropping.

With the right gear and reasonable expectations, a day of ice fishing with the whole family can be a wonderful memory you all look back on fondly for years or the start of a beautiful new family tradition.

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