Equipments, Fishing Report, Ice Fishing

Hardwater 101: Part 6 My Equipment-Don’t Leave Home Without It


We are ice fishing junkies, we are waterfowl junkies also and hate to see our season come to an end but all things being equal, ice fishing has us gearing up, getting the engine ready, playing the pre-game music, head nodding to the beat!  Our average 1st day on ice is less than a month away, November 23rd.

We are currently, between feather flu treatments, putting new line on our ice rods, shining up lures, replacing rusty hooks, and saving plastic containers for spikes and waxies(in the summer I wouldn’t be caught dead touching a maggot, in the winter, that’s bait brother!).  With the number of Perch and the quality of the Walleyes we saw this summer, and the number of Tanker Eyes that are coming out of the Lake right now, it is sizing up to be a banner year, the best since 2013, and 2013 was EPIC!

What you need and need to know:


We drill! We drill a lot, we probably average 30-70 holes apiece per day and I know from my records I have had many days with well over 100 holes.  A guy can’t keep up that pace with the wrong Ice Auger, and the one for us is a Strikemaster 4-stroke with the Honda engine, I don’t have time for mixing oil and lugging different gas cans, I need to fill and go and I need my Auger to start when it’s 40 below.  This one does those things.  I also can’t be lugging around a 50 pound behemoth, this Auger is light and I can maximize my ice time because it doesn’t drag me down.  I hate the cheesy plastic components but after we modify them to our liking, they are exactly what the doctor ordered.


You can argue on and on and on and on about humminbird and marcum and blah blah blah.  My ice flasher conversation begins and ends with Vexilar.  Why? Because it is THE BEST!  Sorry, truth hurts.  I never should have bought the FL-28, I’m spoiled and can never and will never go back to anything else.  I had my kids with last year one day and let them use my 28 and I tried to use my 18 again, nope, have to go out and get them both 28’s, because I won’t go back and now they don’t want to either!!!!


You are going to be hard pressed to show me one that can beat my Lowrance, I have an Elite-4 mounted on a portable wood platform that goes with me EVERYWHERE:


The HDS-12 with Insight chip has us on spots that we discovered because of the effectiveness of the unit.


I am going to be honest with you, I am not a rod freak, i don’t beat my chest for any particular brand or kind,  have a Northland Medium that I really like:


and my other favorite is a custom one given to me by a friend:


I also use a couple SHANTI-STIX, they are compact and can stow about 4 of them on my passenger seat rigged, baited and ready to go in case the Perch and Crappie go nuts.


With the superior effectiveness of my Vexilar and experience I can’t honestly say that besides just being comfortable with a certain handle or reel, I have not been convinced that any ice rod is better than the next.  I would challenge anyone out there to prove to me that ‘their rod’ is superior.


I love JB Lures.  Their Varmint fishing lures have gotten me on more hammer time perch and crappie bites than I can recollect off hand.  I will not go out on the ice without a gold Varmint and at least one back up, heck to tell you the truth I have about 20 in all sizes.  They are tried and true and what I fish with 90% of the time, since JB Lures came out with the rattle Varmint I don’t even buy buckshots anymore.


I COULD catch fish all winter on Devils Lake with just these three lures, I couldn’t survive WITHOUT them!

I will always carry gold Genz worm n by box as long as they last as they don’t seem to make them anymore.  In fact, if you have any Gold Genz Worms laying around, I will buy them from you at 3 times the store price, you just can’t find them anymore.


I hate artificials, give me minnows FRESH from Woodland Resort and some waxes and spikes and I am set, I’ll acquire the Perch Eyes myself!


Besides my two feet for early Ice a four wheeler and four-wheel drive pick up are vital.  I am currently test driving wheelers right now and have not decided on one I like, and I used to be a Ford Truck owner, until I bought my DODGE RAM.  I will never own another truck, head hangers no more.


There are so many miscellaneous things that we take on the ice that we will save the ‘other stuff for its own post.


About Travis E

Just a Devils Lake outdoor junkie. This is my blog. Follow me for fishing reports, waypoints, and other information that can help make your day on the lake a success! Connect via Facebook, Instagram, or email. Read on for the latest fishing reports. I also offer limited guided day trips and up-to-date waypoints where I’ve recently caught fish. See you on the lake or in the field!
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