Winter is among us so we want to make sure you are prepared for the ice fishing season! 

 

The History of Ice Fishing

Archaeologists believe that ice fishing started over 2000 years ago. Ice fishing was practiced by natives throughout North America and Canada as a means of survival. They needed access to food during the long, cold winter months and relied on ice fishing. When ice fishing first began, they did not use rods and reels. Instead, they used a technique called spearfishing. They would use ice chisels to chip holes in the ice and then would use hand carved wooden decoys and spears to hunt for the fish. As the equipment developed into fishing lines, they adapted and began using it.

The popularity of ice fishing is on the rise and it has become a favorite winter pastime of many. Technological advances have made it easier and much more tolerable and enjoyable for anglers. Today, there are fishing tournaments held throughout the midwest, with some drawing over 10,000 anglers annually!

 

Equipment You’ll Need

If you’ve never gone ice fishing and don’t know what equipment you’ll need, you’re in the right place! The list of essentials below are a great starting point for beginners.

List of Essentials:

You never know what the conditions out on the ice are going to be like, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to wear plenty of layers and if you plan to be on the ice for a long period of time, think about bringing a heater, hand warmers, or even an ice fishing shelter.

If you’ve never heard of an ice auger, it’s what you use to drill a hole in the ice. There are many different kinds that range from automatic gas powered, to the ones you use by hand. If you plan on doing a lot of ice fishing, a gas or battery powered auger will probably be your best bet.

A standard spinning reel that you may have used over the summer won’t work for ice fishing. You’re going to need a special ice fishing line and a shorter, smaller rod that’s specifically designed for ice fishing.

Jigs, a type of weighted fishing lure, are pretty common among ice anglers. Slowly jigging the lure up and down, or side to side is the best way to attract the fish.

You need to make sure you have the proper equipment and an action plan in the event something goes wrong. You should be wearing a proper floatation device anytime you’re out on the ice. You should also always bring a tape measure with you to measure the thickness of the ice. A rule of thumb is that if the ice is less than 4 inches, do not fish!

The most effective way to travel onto the ice with all your gear is by pulling your tackle box and rod in a sled. You aren’t going to want to carry all of your stuff while you walk, so this is an easy way to transport all of your gear. You should also consider bringing a five-bucket if you plan on keeping the fish you catch.

Having a fishing license with you is a must. Also be aware of the local rules and regulations in your state. 

Although this tool is not necessary, it could help you immensely to locate and target fish that are under the ice. If you are more experienced and ice fish more regularly, you may want to invest in a fish finder.

 

What You’ll Expect to Catch

The particular species you can expect to catch greatly depends on the specific region and body of water. For the most part, where you find fish in the spring and fall will be the same place you’ll find them in the winter. Many species of fish can be more easily caught after the water freezes as they venture closer to the surface. It’s best to do some research in advance on the local species in the area to better understand their habits, ideal temperatures, and preferred baits. But generally, the main species you can expect to catch while ice fishing are pike, pickerel, walleye, panfish, and trout.

 

Conclusion

Ice fishing is an activity that is definitely worth trying if you’ve never experienced it before. It provides an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, while also getting some fresh air during the winter months. You might even discover a new favorite winter pastime!

Now that you’ve given our blog a read, you’ll be ready to hit the ice as soon as the lakes freeze over!

Sources:

https://www.redlakemuseum.com/fish-stories-ice-fishing.html

10 Things You Must Bring on an Ice Fishing Trip

What if we told you that you own fishing access to about 190 million acres with 150,000 miles of streams and 2.5 million acres of lakes? Sounds crazy, right?! Believe it or not it’s true and it’s all a part of YOUR U.S. Forests!

 

The History of National Forests

National Forests have been around since 1891 when Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act authorizing the President to designate public lands into what used to be called “forest reserves.” Prior to the Act, there were decades of debate over public land policy and concern about unfair logging practices. The first national forest was established as the Yellowstone Park Timber and Land Reserve on March 30, 1891. Initially, there were only 60 forest reserves, but today there are 154 protected areas known as national forests that are managed by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

 

What Does the U.S. Forest Service Do?

The main duty of the U.S. Forest Service is to manage and protect our public forests. Their primary goal is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of our nation’s forests to meet the needs of the present and future generations. They also ensure that their actions will provide safe and healthy fish habitats. If you are passionate about forestry and are aspiring to work in the forestry industry, the U.S. Forest Service has a number of diverse jobs nationwide in career fields including business, resource management, fire and aviation, medical and safety, engineering, science, and research. 

If you want to learn more about the careers they offer click the link below!

https://www.fs.usda.gov/working-with-us/careers

 

Where are Some of The Best Places to Fish?

With so many lakes, rivers, and streams in our national forests, you may be wondering where some of the best spots to fish are; lucky you because we have some answers for you! 

In the Pine River below Tippy Dam in Huron-Manistee National Forest, located in the Eastern Region, you will find record breaking sizes of brown trout. There is also salmon that runs in this river so you may be able to catch a salmon if you don’t catch a trout. Another great spot to go in the Eastern Region is the Allegheny Reservoir, which is one of the best lakes for big fish and has set state records for the size of walleye and pike caught here. The lake also offers plenty of muskellunge, trout, bass, catfish, and perch in the summer.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River just below in Ashley National Forest, located in Utah in the Intermountain Region, are most famous for their record-setting trophy trout. You will also find great kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass fishing. 

The Northern Region, which includes Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, is one of the best fishing areas for brook trout in the country. Just about any small stream has brook trout just waiting to be caught. Deerlodge National Forest, specifically, is known to have the best brook trout. Also, Georgetown Lake attracts fly fishers from across the region with its abundance of large kokanee salmon, rainbow, and brook trout in July and August.

The Southern Region, from Virginia across to Kentucky and down to Texas, is known for its wide variety of fish that are found throughout its lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans. Chattooga Wild and Scenic River, in particular, offers excellent trout fishing in the entire region.

The Pacific Northwest Region, which includes California and Hawaii, offers some of the best coastal cutthroat. The streams in this region also get robust runs of winter run steelhead, fall run chinook salmon, and coho salmon. Big Bear Lake, specifically, is one of the best known destinations for rainbow trout in Southern California.

Click the link below to find national forests near you!

https://www.fs.usda.gov/fishing/regionalmap/index.html

 

 

Some More Fishing Tips 

Now that you know some of the best places to go fishing in our national forests, you’re going to want to know when to go. In a freshwater lake or stream, you’re more accustomed to timing your fishing outing based on the time of day. Early mornings and late evenings tend to be the best times because of the low-light conditions. If you go fishing in the tidewater areas, the best time to fish is during an outgoing tide when the water level starts to lower. When this happens, fish become concentrated into the deep areas of the water in the channel. 

In addition to time of day, the time of year also plays a role in fish behavior. In spring and early summer, you can find lots of fish in the banks and shallow bays. But in late summer as it gets hotter, fish seek the colder and deeper areas of the water so getting out on a boat or canoe would be your best bet.

When looking for a good spot to go fishing, look for beaver dams and log structures. Also try to fish in shady spots during the hot summer months because fish tend to like cooler temperatures as opposed to warmer temperatures. 

For more information and fishing tips, visit https://futureangler.org/ to learn more.

If you have not yet watched the episode on “Into Family Fishing in YOUR National Forests”, click the video below to watch and tag along on four different fishing adventures in our National Forests!

 

We encourage you to get outside and take advantage of YOUR national forests!

 

Sources:

https://www.nationalforests.org/blog/the-water-is-calling-nine-unforgettable-fishing-and-boating-experiences-on-national-forests

https://www.forestcamping.com/dow/suzi/some-fishing-spots-in-national-forests/

It’s that time of year again. There’s a cool breeze in the air, the leaves are changing colors, and there is no shortage of pumpkin spice flavored treats at the supermarkets. We’ve got some fun fall activities that will get you out of the house and make you fall in love with autumn. You can make the most of fall with these 15 activities that are fun for kids, adults, friends, and family!

Probably one of (if not the most) beloved activities of fall. Spending the day at the pumpkin patch is without a doubt a perfect way to enjoy a fall afternoon. Once you find your ideal pumpkin, bring it home to carve or paint and set it out on your front porch to display.

Fall is arguably the best season for hiking. Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors, get some exercise, and appreciate all of the fall foliage. Whether you’re looking for a challenging adventure or a leisure family-friendly nature walk, there are so many hiking trails to choose from. Don’t know where to go? The link below will point you in the right direction.

https://www.americantrails.org/

Our nation’s parks provide great opportunities in fall for all types of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and biking. Many parks offer better wildlife sightings, fewer crowds, and lower pricing during fall. The stunning views are even more breathtaking with the colorful range of foliage that autumn brings. Use the links below to find a park near you!

https://www.nationalparks.org/explore/parks

https://stateparks.org/locate-a-park/

Invite your friends and family, grab a blanket, and cozy up by the fire. Treat everyone to delicious s’mores as you tell classic ghost stories!

Cooler temperatures mean less mosquitos and other nagging insects. In fact, fewer people camp in the fall so you can expect lower rates and fewer crowds! There are so many great camping opportunities across the nation. Find a campground near you to plan your epic camping trip using the link below!

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/camping/campground.htm

What better way to take in all of the beauty of fall than on a hayride. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful sights that the season of fall brings.

There's no shortage of corn mazes across the country in the fall. Finding your way through a corn maze is a great challenge for the entire family to get involved in.

Head to your nearest orchard for a fun filled day of apple picking! You can even turn the fresh apples that you picked into a delicious apple crisp or pie. 

With lots of food, music, and a variety of activities, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. See what fall festivals are near you!

Fall is football season and you know what that means. Head to your local high school for a Friday night lights game. Or head to a collegiate game on a Saturday afternoon. Don’t forget to bring some drinks and food to tailgate beforehand.

An autumn picnic in the park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and the lovely scenery in a peaceful way. It allows you to slow down from your busy life and truly embrace the season of fall.

The cooler temperatures of fall make the ideal conditions for a bike ride. Not only do you get to enjoy the fall scenery, but you will also get some exercise while doing it!

The season of fall provides cool air and warm soil which makes it a great time to plant a garden. Many root vegetables and salad greens grow well in the fall. Use the link below to find out what crops are best grown in your state. https://homegardenreport.com/fall-crop-planting-made-easy-tips-for-all-climates/

There’s nothing quite like a pile of freshly raked leaves to jump into. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and burn off some energy. 

Fall is one of the best times to see birds as they are migrating south for the winter. Spend some time outside to relax and listen to the sounds of birds above you. Try and identify the types of birds you see.

 

We challenge you to do as many of these 15 fun activities with your friends and family this fall. Be sure to tag @intotheoutdoorstv on Facebook and Instagram to have your outdoor adventures featured on our page!

Did you know every year nearly 300 million tires are discarded in the U.S. alone? That’s about one tire per person and one quarter of those tires end up in landfills.

 

What are Scrap Tires and Why Have They Become an Issue?

Tires are manufactured from vulcanized rubber with steel rubber woven through. For decades, tires have been dropped off at landfills and many tires have been dumped illegally along ditches and in fields, lakes, and rivers. Scrap tires have become a major problem because they are not biodegradable, meaning they won’t decompose by bacteria, so they aren't just going to disappear. Not only are piles of scrap tires ugly, but they can cause health and environmental hazards. Tires contain toxic chemicals which are released into the air, ground, and water. They can even catch fire if left in the sun for long periods of time. When this happens, the tires break down into hazardous compounds including gases, heavy metals, and oil. This oil can seep into the ground and surface water which is a major environmental pollutant. 

 

How are Scrap Tires Being Reused?

Because of the environmental concerns that scrap tires pose, states have enacted legislation to manage and decrease the number of waste tires. Many states even offer incentives, rebates, and grants to companies that process and utilize scrap materials, like tires. Scrap tires nowadays are being used in so many innovative ways. End-of-life tires can be shredded to become tire derived aggregate, or TDA, which can be used by engineers for other applications including road repair, construction, landscaping, and in playgrounds. TDA is being used more and more because it has many characteristics that are beneficial for engineering use and is cost effective. Not only is it sustainable, but it is also durable, lightweight, and permeable.

Another way in which scrap tires are being reused is as a fuel source. Tire derived fuel, or TDF, is an alternative way to burning fossil fuels and produces 20% more energy than coal. Not only is TDF more efficient than coal, but it produces lower nitrogen oxide emissions decreasing the output of greenhouse gases. TDF is ideal for cement kilns, steel mills, and power plants because of its high thermal conductivity.

 

How Can I be a Part of the Solution?

You might be thinking to yourself, how can I help be a part of the solution to these problems? To reduce the number of scrap tires, you can make sure to practice good tire maintenance by keeping the proper air pressure in your tires and rotating them as recommended by the manufacturer. When purchasing new tires, look to buy tires with a longer tread-life. If you have old tires you wish to get rid of, contact your nearest tire recycling center or auto shop about dropping them off. Some cities and counties also host regular tire recycling events. By doing your best to increase the lives of your tires, you are helping to reduce the need for tire disposal.

 

Conclusion

Sometimes environmental issues feel like mountains but with creative ideas and working together we can make a difference! If we can find a sustainable solution for material like tires, what other environmental solutions can we think of?

For more information on the recycling of scrap tires, join the Into The Outdoors Adventure Team as they travel to Michigan, Colorado, and Minnesota to investigate sustainable solutions to scrap tires and learn how different organizations are making a difference.