How To Prepare For A Minnesota Ice Fishing Contest

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How To Prepare For A Minnesota Ice Fishing Contest

How To Prepare For A Minnesota Ice Fishing Contest
MNMatt's Articles

Minnesota is home to several ice fishing contests each year. Preparing for an ice fishing contest ahead of time will help avoids wasting time on the contest day. This article provides some quick steps a contestant should take prior to attending any ice fishing contest in Minnesota.

Step 1: Start with the basic needs. If you do not have a Minnesota fishing license, then be sure to purchase one (see the link for the Minnesota DNR to find the fishing regulations). It also pays to buy your ticket(s) ahead of time. That way you have one less thing to do on the contest day, and many of the contests give you a discount on the ticket price if you buy them before a certain date.

Step 2: Next, review the contest rules. You can waste a lot of precious time during the tournament trying to figure out how the contest works. The rules will also alert you to items you should either bring to the fishing contest or leave home because they are not allowed (e.g. canvas shelters, electronic equipment).

Step 3: Get to know the lake prior to the contest. Try fishing the lake a few times before the contest at about the same time and place the contest will be. This may help give you an idea of what bait the fish are interested in and give you an idea of the lake depths for the contest area. Be sure you know the rules regarding "pre fishing" a lake prior to a contest.

Step 4: Next, check to make sure all of your fishing equipment is in order. Be sure the line on your rods is fresh and replace as necessary. You might also want to check the batteries in your electronic equipment (if allowed). Make sure your hooks are sharp and you have an adequate variety of tackle. Lastly, check your bait for freshness and buy new if necessary.

Step 5: Find and prepare what you need to stay comfortable for the duration of the ice fishing contest. Uncomfortable or cold fishermen quit early, lose focus on fishing, and fumble with their lines and rods. If you are used to a nice warm fish house, consider ways to keep you warm without a shelter (propane heater, gloves, hand warmers, etc.).

Tips and Warnings:
  • Generally, one ticket means you can fish one hole, so you will need to buy two tickets if you wish to fish two holes.
  • Many of the ice fishing contests have an online website that includes everything you need to know about the contest (see the links below). Contest rules can vary significantly from one to the other.
  • If you are new to fishing in Minnesota, be sure to read the fishing regulations. Contests will follow the regulations.
  • Have at least 2 fishing poles for every hole you are fishing. This will give you a back up, and reduce the time it takes to switch baits.
  • A depth map of the lake can be helpful in choosing your strategy for finding a hole in the contest zone.

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