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Fishing WisconsinIce fishing equipment and tackle

Tools of the Trade - courtesy of EEK!

Fishing regulations - Bring a copy of the Wisconsin fishing regulations pamphlet with you to consult during your fishing trip so that you are fishing within the state laws.

Toboggan or sled - This is a practical way to haul equipment onto the ice. Some anglers put their gear on top of their shanty, which is transported on runners.

Ice auger - This tool is for drilling your fishing hole in the ice. The hole should be no more than 12 inches across.

Skimmer - This handy tool is needed to scoop out slush or chips from your fishing hole. It looks like a long-handled soup ladle, with a shallow, sieved bowl.

Ice chisel - Called "spuds," ice chisels are used for chopping holes early in the ice fishing season when the ice is thinner. Be sure to secure these thin, but hefty, poles with a line tied to your arm. Many spuds have slipped from angler's grasp and plummeted to the bottom of a lake.

Bait bucket - Holds live bait such as minnows.

Spud - an ice chisel.

Gaff hook- A special-purpose, large and heavy hook to help hoist a slippery fish through a hole in the ice.

Seat - Something to sit on such as a small stool or folding chair, sometimes even a 5-gallon bucket.

Dip net - Used to dip into minnow buckets to retrieve bait and keep hands dry.

Hook disgorger - A tool like a needlenose pliers to help you get the hook out of the fish's mouth.

Jigging rod - Light and flexible rods used mostly for panfish (bluegills) and walleye. A short, firmer rod is better for perch.

Tip-up - A clever device that signals when a fish hits on your line. A flag "tips up" when the fish strikes and gives you the freedom to leave the fishing hole for a moment.

Hooks - Small number 10 or 12 hooks are recommended for panfish. Short shank number 3 hooks are good for walleye. Northern pike go for large number 2/0 to 6/0 hooks. Swedish hooks, also called pike hooks, are used for northern pike.

Lures - Ice flies and teardrop lures with live bait are recommended for panfish.

Jigs - Walleyes can be caught on minnow imitation jigs.

Line - Light monofilament (a thin plastic length of string), 2 to 4-pound test (breaking strength), is all you need for panfish. Game fish require at least 10-pound test.

Leaders - A leader is a short wire that the hook is attached to. The fishing line is then tied to the other end of the leader. For walleye, take 2 or 3 monofilament leaders, at least 12-pound test (breaking strength) and about 3 feet long. For northern pike, 2 or 3 wire leaders, and about 15-pound test will do the job, but in most pike waters, some say, 8-pound test is enough.

Back to Ice fishing tips, tricks and techniques

Last revised: Monday April 06 2015