The key to preparing for early ice is all about commitment to principles rather than getting cheeky with it.

The majority of early ice principles come down to a few basic concepts. Stick to these, don’t get distracted by a short-term thought process, and you will be ready for a great ice season.

#1 Prepare Thoroughly
Heading out on the ice means you need to be ready in all areas.

First, make sure your apparel is up to par, your fishing equipment is prepped, and the drilling gear is ready to go.

In addition, always be prepared to get your vehicle unstuck. A shovel stowed in your vehicle can be your best friend.

It’s the discipline of preparation that makes you a successful angler. Even down to studying and researching the body of water and checking the ice.

When you are on safe ice, it is tempting to assume the ice is safe in other areas as well. Don’t assume. It sets you up for a really bad day.

#2 Know Your Objective
Have a plan. A North Star, or something you can check back with allows you to track your movements to make sure each decision is moving you towards a successful outcome.

Maintain the goal. Whether it’s to locate new fish, learn a new body of water, or become competent at a new technique it can all be easily achieved if you’re not distracted by thoughts that pop in and seem more tempting in the short term.

#3 Maintain Flexibility
In direct opposition to the previous principle, flexibility keeps you from being so locked in that it blinds you from what’s happening around you.

You need to be able to balance both of these principles in order to be successful. One does not operate without the other. With no yin there can be no yang.

Staying observant to what is going on allows you to notice things like contour lines, fish pattern behaviors, or structural changes such as vegetation and solid structures like brush or cribs.

It’s all a process of learning how to apply your systems. Even when it comes down to using Flat Tip Tickle Sticks for jigging versus a graphite blank like the Widow Maker, the starting point is to know the equipment. Then you can learn how and when to implement it.

Applying these concepts is a great place to start. Even so, we all have those days where you find yourself falling short of success. The key is to take the responsibility to learn from it and keep working. That is how you make your own luck.

And always remember, if it doesn’t work you can blame me.
~ Written by Reid Miller 13 Fishing Marketing Coordinator

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