Eastman Stories

Discover your Eastman Adventure: Ice Fishing 101

Ice fishing is one of Manitoba’s favourite outdoor activities, and once you know the ins and outs of it (like how to stay warm), you’ll see why.

By Eastman Tourism

December 18, 2020
Read time: 11 min

Who’s ready for some ice fishing? Most people don’t see the appeal of sitting on a frozen lake while being out in the winter elements. But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Ice fishing is one of Manitoba’s favourite outdoor activities, and once you know the ins and outs of it (like how to stay warm), you’ll see why.

Don’t know where you should cast your line? Check out our blog, 5 Eastman Ice Fishing Destinations, for Eastman communities perfect for your fishing adventure!

Hunt/Fish Manitoba is another great resource to check out for ice fishing information.


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A post shared by Eric Turenne (@e2renne)


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Ice Safety

In this case, we’re not going to save the best (and most important) for last. In the videos below, you will learn about ice safety. Learn about the tools to bring with you, precautions to take, what to do if you break through the ice and more.

The importance of knowing how to keep yourself safe and what to do (knock on wood) if the worst happens while on your ice fishing adventure cannot be overlooked.

Suiting up for your Adventure

The number one thing that keeps people from experiencing ice fishing is people think of it as a cold, wet day out in the elements. But, the truth of the matter is, most people don’t dress properly when participating in winter outdoor activities.

When being in the winter elements, the two big rules are: layering is your best friend and avoid cotton at all cost.

Layering is more than a fashion statement. When you’re an outdoor enthusiast, it’s the difference between having a comfortable, enjoyable day of ice fishing or having a miserable, cold, and wet day and never try ice fishing again.

For most outdoor winter adventures, including ice fishing, you’ll want three layers, top to bottom. A base-layer, mid-lay, and an outer-layer. Before we go into what each does and what material you should use, let’s talk about why layering and the fabric are so important.

In the winter months, something people often forget is the goal is to stay warm and dry – not only from the elements but also from sweat. If you find yourself overdressed, hot, and sweaty, you better start packing your gear. When you get damp from sweat, that’s when the cold will hit your body the hardest.

Layering helps prevent this. The thing to remember is it’s better to pack too much than not have enough. You can always shrug off a layer of clothing if you feel yourself starting to sweat.

Now, you might be wondering what we have against cotton. As we just discussed, you want to protect your body from sweat. Cotton does not do this. Cotton, while it may be comfortable, stays damp, heavy and loses its insulating properties when wet, which is not ideal when out in the elements.

Now into what to wear. For the base-layer, you’ll want a next-to-skin layer. Look for fabric made of synthetic fabric or merino wool that wick moisture and dry quickly for this layer. This layer regulates your temperature and wick sweat, keeping you dry and warm.

For socks, heavy grade wool socks will do the trick.

For the mid-layer jacket, look for material made out of wool, down, fleece, or puffy. Something with a windbreak in it would be ideal.

For mid-layer pants, Jay Siemens says in his Complete Guide to Ice Fishing YouTube series, “Nothing too fancy. Sometimes thick pajama pants are nice. Sweatpants even. I haven’t gone any heavier than that”.

The outer-layer will consist of a heavy winter jacket. Something with lots of pockets is a bonus, so you can easily store and grab your fishing gear and tools. For pants, bibs will do just the trick.

You can also look into ice fishing suits for an outer-layer, preferably one with floating capabilities.

For footwear, rubber or leather boots are the way to go. Both have their pros and cons, however. While rubber boots are 100% waterproof, they are not as warm. Leather boots are very warm, but eventually, your feet will get wet and cold.

Also, make sure that your bibs or ice fishing suit can fit over your boots.

Other things you should wear are buffs and sunglasses to protect you from the sun. Most people think that you don’t have to worry about getting sunburn or, you know, having your eyes burned in the winter months. But, when surrounded by a big, solid sheet of white that reflects the sunlight, both your skin and eyes can burn.

And, of course, wear a toque and gloves (or mittens).


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The Complete Guide to Ice Fishing

We at Eastman Tourism could tell you about the ins and outs of ice fishing. But, let’s be honest, would you rather hear it from us or Jay Siemens, professional photographer, ex-fishing guide, and outdoor guru – especially when it comes to fishing!

As we briefly mentioned above, Jay has created a ten-part YouTube series about ice fishing in partnership with Travel Manitoba. The Complete Guide to Ice Fishing series will teach novice ice fishers all the must-knows and must-haves for ice fishing.

After watching the videos below, you can walk away with a better knowledge of ice fishing and start your new hobby and journey with confidence, safety, and excitement!

Ice Augers

Ice Shacks


Ice Fishing Electronics

Rods and Reels

Lines and Lures


Locating Fish

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