I have the utmost respect for ice, and you have to if you spend a large amount of time on it fishing. I’ve already been walking on the ice for around a month and logged some pretty good outings so far on walleyes. But now as deep winter sets in, I’m getting tired of walk-ons, I want to get my ATV in the mix and get to where I really want to go…

For some guys, the winter doesn’t start until they get their large ice house and truck onto the ice. It seems the moment you see 10-12 inches, you start to see trucks venture out onto the ice. That’s pushing it if you ask me. If you’ve ever seen the ice thickness chart on the web, you know roughly where it should be. But hey, to each their own.

Ice Fishing Thickness Chart

A diagram of an ice fishing thickness chart.

For me, the lake I want to fish had open water just the other week. I’m giving it plenty of time to form so we can make the trek across it. If it’s anything like last year, it’s worth the trip.

First ice means testing new ice fishing gear and seeing if that old 12v battery is going to make it for a full day. You know, the typical things.


We’ve already had some fall throughs throughout the upper Midwest. Most recently, a man lost his life while falling through. His ATV was still running nearby. I feel terrible for his family and it’s a reminder that no fish is worth dying over.

There’s just something somewhat scary about the first time running any vehicle on the ice. It’s just downright butt puckering at times, but it’s a part of ice fishing.

I fish patterns as the winter runs its course. I typically start for walleyes and when mid-winter hits I start spreading my wings in search of jumbo perch. And the late season is typically slated for giant crappie and monster pike.

But for now, I’m still on the big walleye kick until that slows down. I wrote recently about my tips for walleye ice fishing that is my guideline for fishing new and old ice. We’re usually very shallow and when you hook into a big one, it’s usually a battle.

First ice will always be one of the most exciting times for me each year as it’s a clear sign of the change of seasons. The moment I step on, I usually put my hunting gear away. It’s time to get fishing and to outdo the year before.

Keep an eye on the Review Your Gear Youtube Channel as well as Facebook, as we go LIVE on the ice as well as document our experiences ice fishing this winter. It’s fun to do and I try to pick peak periods to go live so it’s not boring.

So get off the couch and start experiencing the early hard water season. You’ll be glad you did.

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