by Roger Aziz
Ice fishing is more popular than ever for more than a few reasons. Perhaps it is the
new modern cold weather gear at affordable prices that make it easier for people to enter
the sport. Or perhaps it is because ice fishing is a very social form of fishing. One
wherein many people can fish a crowded lake and not be disturbed by the nearness of other
No matter what your reason for joining the ice fishing fraternity, there are a few
things that you can do to make your ice fishing a bit more successful. One of them, and
most important, is to set your ice traps up properly. This is how to make them more
Most ice fishing devices cost less than ten dollars. Even those with spools that are
fully wound with line can be purchased for under fifteen dollars. No matter whether you
choose to spool your own line or not one thing is important. Use nylon squidding line or
purchase traps with nylon squidding line already wound to the spool. This line is
impervious to rot and will last a lifetime. Stay clear of the those ugly green and gray
I paint the upright shaft of my ice fishing traps fluorescent orange. To do this first
paint the shaft with a coat of white paint. Next, apply two coats of fluorescent orange
paint. Doing this makes the traps highly visible under most lighting conditions. And since
most fishermen do not paint their traps, your traps will be easily identifiable, this is
of special importance during ice fishing tournaments.
Most traps come with small sized flags. It is best to remove the small flags and
replace them with larger ones. Each flag should be assigned a number. Simply use a black
indelible marker and number the traps one through five in Massachusetts or in New
Hampshire where six traps are allowed to number six. The reason for numbering the flags is
so you will know what size shiners you are using on each flag.
Because I use both medium and large shiners the numbers become important. I can recall
which flags have the larger shiners requiring a bit more patience to allow the fish to
run. Numbering the flags also is a reminder of which traps you have set high and which are
set closer to bottom.
To the tag end of the squidding line add a small shirt button. This will act as a depth
marker when you set your bait. I paint my buttons red so I can see them better but this is
not necessary. The button is necessary, however to allow for speedy re-baiting and setting
of the line.
After the button is set on the line add a size ten barrel swivel should be tied on. To
the swivel, add three feet of ten to twelve pound monofilament leader. The line strength
you choose should be determined by the species of fish you are pursuing.
A size one or two hook should be tied on to the leader. Eighteen inches above the hook
apply a 3/0 split shot. Your trap is now ready for action.
Roger Aziz is a outdoors columnist for the Eagle Tribune Newspaper and a senior active
member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association.
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