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Ice Fishing
Written by Scott Binnie   
Friday, 29 June 2007
Article Index
TFN Ice-Fishing Primer
The Rules
Equipment Basics
Cutting Through The Ice
Keeping the Hole Clear
Rods, Reels and Tip-ups
Lures and Baits
Locating Fish
Keeping Warm

Keeping the Hole Clear

Depending on the outdoor temperature and wind conditions, and whether or not it's sunny, ice-fishing holes can stay open for hours or freeze up in minutes. Either way, nature has decided that sooner or later, every hole will freeze. If you have a line going from outside the hole into the water (more about this below), the line will freeze into the ice and strikes will not be able to be detected.

TFN Ice-free TubeAn age-old method of keeping the line free is by surrounding the line with some sort of oil or grease that won't freeze under normal conditions. One way of doing this without getting oil all over the place is to take a short length of PVC pipe or other plastic tube or hose, taping coat-hanger wires to it perpendicular to each other with duct tape, and placing it in the hole so that the wires support it and the tubing goes a couple of inches into the water. grease the exterior of the tube so that the ice won't freeze to it. Place your line through the tube, into the water, and then pour some vegetable oil into the tube. The oil will prevent the interior of the tube from freezing.

A more traditional method is to buy an ice skimmer. These are inexpensive ladles with holes in the cup portion to skim surface ice from your hole. They are available in both plastic and metal, but, although ice can freeze up the metal ones, they're much more sturdy and can be used to chip through a quarter or an inch of ice when the plastic models would bend or bounce off.

Another valuable tool to have available is a small pick-axe or hammer to free equipment that has been locked into the ice fro a few hours.

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