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February 6, 2014

Ice Fishing Hotspots in the United States

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Ice fishing is one of the winter lover’s favorite pastimes, with the chance to enjoy nature and be competitive all rolled into one. Here are the best places to indulge in the hobby across the country.

Mondeaux Flowage, Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a winter lover’s dream, with consistently chilly weather and an abundance of snow. It’s where ice fishers congregate, too, with the Mondeaux Flowage being one of the best, most authentic locations. Ice fishers will face a tough trek actually reaching the location—it’s accessible by snowmobile or snowshoe—but once there, they’ll be rewarded with lively and energetic panfish, and larger-than-life northern pike.

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Strawberry Reservoir, Utah

Ice fishers who want to add a bit of daring and excitement to their trip should come here, as the ice freezes early but also unevenly—caution is needed when drilling. The thrill of danger adds another element to the trip, while the shallow waters provide a big selection of rainbow trout. If there are no fish in the hole, though, try moving out further on the lake or drilling a new hole a few feet away.

Caples and Silver Lakes, California

One of the great things about California is that it contains weather for just about everyone. The south may be for sun-lovers, but heading north in the state unlocks a wealth of ice fishing, especially along the highway. Ice fishers will have to head out fairly far on the lake, though, as the waters are drawn down before they freeze. Once a spot is picked out, drill a few holes for sunlight so the warmth will attract fish to the surface.

Caspian Lake, Greensboro, Vermont

The state known for skiing and maple syrup is an ice fishing mecca, as once Caspian Lake freezes, perch become the dinner plate favorite. But remember that the fish can get smart in a hurry, and only spend a short time at each hole before drilling a new one. Tip: perch here are drawn by brightly colored lures.

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Higgins Lake, Michigan

The Great Lakes region has no shortage of ice fishing hotspots, but Higgins Lake is deeper, colder, and provides more fish than others. Because of its depth, the lake takes longer to freeze, which means its ice fishing season starts a bit later. But once it does, yellow perch congregate on the north and south shores, while lake trout huddle in the middle.

Devil’s Lake, North Dakota

One of the coldest spots in the Midwest has its advantages, with Devil’s Lake teeming with so many perch, it’s almost a sin. The big body of water has many different spots to approach from, with either guides available to haul ice fishers around in an ATV or the chance to fish solo.

No matter where you head out for ice fishing this winter, make sure you have the best gear with you from KillZone Hunting. Our selection is always comprised of the high-quality items, and everything comes with free shipping.

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January 9, 2014

Ice Fishing Tips

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With winter firmly here, there’s no better time to go ice fishing than now. Make sure you read up on these quick tips so you have the best trip possible.

Arrive Early

The more anglers poking around in the water, the more anxious and unsettled the fish will be. By arriving early and setting up your ice fishing shelter at your leisure, you’re catching the fish at a time when they’re calm and have regrouped, making them easier to catch. Many fish species are also at their prime early in the morning (as well as late in the afternoon), so by going on their clock, you’re upping your chances for success.

Eskimo QuickFish 6 Ice Fishing Shelter

Rethink Your Jig

One of the most common methods of angling is to move your jig up and down, but fish will catch onto that eventually. Change it up and keep fish on their toes by twisting and rolling your line, moving it between your fingers so it spins in the water. And if you’re in shallow water, move your line around the perimeter of the hole without any up-and-down motion, as fish love this.

Another trick to try is to change the jig itself. If you’re using a teardrop-shaped jig that lies vertically in the water, fish are going to get used to that pretty quickly. Try switching it up in favor of a horizontal jig, which may be better at attracting crappies and perch.

Switch the Bait

Live bait is a hugely popular choice, but the kinds of synthetic baits being produced today are incredibly specific and high-tech. And if you need more reason to switch to plastic bait, bluegills and other panfish will respond well to the change. Look for a tiny 1/80 round head jig with a sliver of plastic hooked on it, and watch how fast the fish nip.

Marcum VX1 Pro with 20 Degree Ice Transducer

Size it Up

Once you’ve made the switch to plastic bait, fiddle around with the size of your jig. A good starting point is a Size 10, letting the fish get used to that, and then surprising them with a Size 16 (good for a couple more- and bigger- bluegills.) And to really be in the driver’s seat, suddenly switch to a super small Size 12 and load up on the fish that wouldn’t go for the bigger jigs.

Change Your Look

Fish behave around bait and jigs differently, and just plain looking at them can help you a lot with your timing. For example, big bluegills tend to float around the bait for a moment or two before they pounce, while suspended crappies- if you’re going to catch them- act pretty quickly once they get to the bait and need to be hooked almost immediately.

On your next ice fishing trip, make sure you’re using a KillZone ice fishing shelter to stay comfortable all day, and the right flasher for the day.

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January 30, 2013

How to Find the Best Ice Fishing Spots

Portable ice shelter

A portable ice shelter lets you move easily from hole to hole.

January is prime ice fishing season for the northern regions of the country. With a portable ice shelter, you can stay warm on the ice and make it easier to convince friends and family to come along for the fun. Here are some tips on how to find the best ice fishing spots in your region.

1. Start early.

Getting to know a lake during the late autumn months will make it easier to find the hot spots when ice fishing season arrives. Get a feel for the topography of the lake—where the bars, flats, points, holes, weed lines, and reefs are located. Find the prime feeding areas for the type of panfish you’re hoping to snag.

2. Don’t overlook the smaller lakes.

Bigger isn’t always better. Some of the best ice fishing spots are on the no-name lakes that you pass on your way to the bigger, more popular bodies of water. The bonus is that it takes less time to locate the hot spots on a smaller lake.

3. Ask around.

Fishermen love to talk. If you want to find the best fishing spots on a lake without a lot of trial and error, your best bet is to ask the locals. Check the DNR site for tips, ask at the local bait shop, or strike up a conversation with other ice fishermen on the lakes. That’s the easiest way to learn a lake’s secret hot spots.

4. Find the right depth.

Use a depth finder to locate the right depth location for the panfish you’re hoping to catch. You might need to drill several holes or even move to a different spot in order to find the right fishing hole. That’s where a portable ice shelter comes in handy. Unlike a wooden ice house that needs to be towed on and off the lake, a portable ice shelter is easy to move from one spot to another. If your hot spot gets cold, just pick up your tent and find a new location.

5. Locate soft spots.

Panfish usually congregate in areas where a hard bottom turns to soft sediment. That’s where the feeding is best. Look for these soft-bottom spots on your sonar. Most sonars show a thin line for a soft bottom and a thicker, red line for a hard bottom. Mud, sand, and vegetation scatter the sonar signal so that the line it reflects back is smaller (thinner) than a hard bottom. Rock, shale, and other hard surfaces reflect a stronger, wider signal on the sonar.

Portable Ice Fishing Shelters

Stay warm on the ice this winter with a portable ice shelter from KillZone Hunting, Eskimo, or Cycle Country. Get yours before the season ends! Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.

January 8, 2013

Ice Fishing Safety Tips

Stay warm on the ice with a portable ice shelter.

Since technically no ice is “safe” ice, spending time out on the frozen lake always carries some risks. Use these tips to stay safer and prevent accidents.

  • First, always check ice conditions before venturing out on the ice. Changing weather conditions can cause rapid changes in ice conditions.
  • Ice thickness and safety varies widely on different parts of the lake. Feeder streams and springs, bridge pilings, docks, dam structures, and other obstructions in the water are notorious areas for thin ice. Keep well away from these danger zones. Also watch out for cracks, pressure ridges, slushy areas, and darker patches of ice.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear layers so that you can add layers if you’re cold and remove layers if you get too warm. Don’t wait until you sweat before removing layers. You’re your sweat dries, you’ll get chilled easily.
  • Get out of the wind. Use a portable ice fishing tent to create a wind break and avoid sun glare on the ice. Some portable ice tents allow you to use a portable heater as well.
  • Be prepared for accidents. Carry a portable flotation cushion as a throwable safety device in case someone falls in the water. You can also use the cushion to sit on while you’re fishing. Another important safety device is a set of two picks connected together with a nylon cord. The picks allow someone to get out of the water by digging into the ice with the picks.
  • If there isn’t any snow cover on top of the ice, wear crampons or cleats for safer walking. Bare ice that’s polished by the wind can get extremely slippery.
  • Keep children and dogs away from sharp or dangerous equipment, such as your ice auger. If your auger blade clogs with snow, use a brush to clean it off—not your fingers. You can spray the blade with cooking oil to prevent snow from sticking.
  • Never drive a snowmobile, ATV, or other vehicle onto the ice early or late in the season. Avoid driving on the ice at night or when there is poor visibility.

Portable Ice Fishing Tents

Stay warm on the ice this winter with a portable ice fishing tent from Eskimo, Cycle Country, or KillZone Hunting. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.

March 14, 2012

Perch Fishing on Lake Winnibigoshish

Filed under: Pictures — Tags: , — probus @ 8:39 pm

One final hurrah for the ice fishing season:

Last month, Tom McCullough (co-owner of KillZone) and his family spent the day out on Lake Winnibigoshish (“Winnie” for short) in northern Minnesota. Lake Winnie is known for its perch hotspots, and the McCullough clan caught a bunch. They nicknamed the fattest perch “Yumbo” versus Jumbo…because it tastes so good!

The pics below show the McCulloughs setting up an Igloo ice tent and enjoying their catch.

Setting up the ice tent

Setting up the ice tent

Popping out the sides

Popping out the sides

Look what I caught

Look what I caught

"Yumbo" and friends

"Yumbo" and friends

Fishing crew

Fishing crew

January 5, 2012

New! KillZone Igloo 2X Ice Fishing Shelter for 6 People

Igloo 2X Shelter

New! KillZone Igloo 6-Person Ice Shelter

The bigger the party, the better! With the new KillZone Igloo 2X Ice Fishing Shelter, you can bring along the whole family, including the dog. This ice shelter is large enough to fit at least 6 people comfortably, along with plenty of ice fishing gear, snacks, and beverages.

The Igloo 2X ice tent has a heavy duty 600D poly shell that cuts the wind and keeps you warm. Features include an open floor, 2 doors (one on each end), 4 clear removable windows with shades, open flap vents, and a black-out interior that makes it easy to sight-fish down the hole. The lightweight redesigned steel hub system makes setup and take-down quick and easy. We include 10 auger stakes with 6 carabiner tie-downs and a zippered carry bag at no extra cost.

Features:

  • Fits 6-8 People
  • 72″ x 144″ Floor
  • 6 Removable Clear Windows and Shades Included
  • Carry Pack Included
  • 10 Auger-Style Stakes Included
  • Open Dimensions: 92″ Hub to Hub Across x 83″ Center Height
  • Folded Dimensions: 52″ L x 15″ W x 11″ H
  • 38lb Weight

December 27, 2011

Portable Ice Fishing Shelter Setup Tips

Portable Ice Shelter

A portable ice shelter keeps you warm even on cold, windy days.

Keep warm on the ice this winter with a portable ice fishing shelter! Here are some tips for setting up and using your portable shelter.

Drill your holes before setting up the ice shelter. Once you find where the fish are biting, you can drill a line of holes close together, within the width of your shelter. If you like to hop from hole to hole, use the shelter as your base camp and keep an eye on your tip-ups from the windows inside the shelter.

To set up your portable ice shelter, take it out of the bag, holding on to the poles with one hand. Let the poles drop to make four corners. With your foot holding down the tent skirt, pull up on the roof until it pops up. Then pop out the four sides of the shelter.

Move the shelter on top of your ice holes. We recommend positioning the side of the shelter with the door on the opposite side of the holes.

To keep the shelter in place and prevent drafts, scoop some fresh snow (not wet or slushy snow) around the edges of the tent skirt. On windy days, you’ll need to anchor the portable shelter in place with auger stakes. We recommend pre-drilling holes for the stakes to make it easier to screw them into the ice.

December 15, 2011

KillZone Ice Fishing Shelter Reviews

Ice fishing tent

"I recommend this product for anyone wanting an affordable ice shack that does what it promises."

“This ice shelter is exactly what I was looking for. The price on this was lower than the competition; and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find it better than some others I have looked at. It is very easy to set up and take down, but I would recommend using the ice anchors (included) or some form of weight on a windy day. Otherwise, you will find your tent blowing down the lake. Ha! The same can be said for any of the portable shelters on the market.

Note: You will find that (as advertised) there are some pin holes where you can see daylight where the threads are. If this bothers you, then don’t buy it, but to be honest it truly is trivial.”

- NHSportsman

“The KillZone is a very roomy and purposeful ice tent. It will take some ‘getting used to’ when setting it up by yourself. But it pops up quickly and easy to take down too. I would recommend bringing a cordless drill or hand-drill to pre-sink the holes as you will need to anchor it down during windy days. All this prep and set-up does take more time than a traditional flip-style ice shanty.

PROS- What you trade-off in true portability, you gain in extra room; ability to stand up and spread out are the advantages. The lighting inside is minimized so you can really see the holes and not spook the fish with daylight. Heats up nicely and holds heat well during sub-zero outings. I like the built in air vents that provide oxygen when running a propane heater. Can easily hold 2-3 persons plus gear; 4 might be a little tight.

CONS- You can’t ‘run and gun’ a bunch of holes and keep moving every 15 minutes; it’s too hard to set up each time. But if you want to plant yourself for a couple of hours, this is just fine. When heating, the walls tend to sweat and freeze up when you put it away, holding in moisture. Be sure to air it out before storing for the season. I am not fond of the removable plastic windows. Too hard to align properly and get a snug fit. Drilling the anchor holes can be a pain if you have a lot of snow. Harder to repack into the duffel when it’s dark outside and you’re in a hurry.

Overall, I recommend this product for anyone wanting an affordable ice shack that does what it promises. We’ll see how it holds up over a couple of seasons.”

- Review by Love to Fish in Minnesota

“I ordered this on a Wednesday and accepted the normal 3-5 day shipping time. It arrived exactly 48 hours after I had ordered it. I opened it up and it popped up within a minute. I did an inspection and there are no holes, the zipper worked and the shelter is very well constructed.

It is very spacious. You can easily stand up in it. It probably is about 6’5″ tall in the center.

I can hardly wait for the ice to freeze. I really want to get on the St. Croix and get some nice Smalley’s and Wally’s.”

- Grant

February 22, 2011

Sale! KillZone Igloo Ice Fishing Shelter

Ice fishing sale

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The KillZone Igloo and Igloo XL ice fishing shelters are now on sale for one week only! These popular Igloo ice shelters keep you warm and out of the wind with heavy duty 600D poly walls. The lightweight hub system makes for a quick setup and take down process. Auger stakes are included to anchor down the shelter in windy conditions.

The Igloo model, now only $99, fits two fishermen with gear. The Igloo XL model, now only $139, fits three to four fishermen. Free shipping on orders to the lower 48 United States!

February 11, 2011

KillZone 2011 Ice Fishing Outing

Filed under: Ice Fishing Shelters,KillZone Hunting News — Tags: , — probus @ 5:59 pm

We decided to break out of the office early and see where the fish were biting. The weather was a balmy 30 degrees, and even when the sun went down, we stayed warm and cozy in our Igloo ice fishing tents.

Here’s what we caught:

Blake's fish

Blake's fish

Esther's fish

Esther's fish

Becky's fish

Becky's fish

John's fish

John's fish

John and Kristi's fish

John and Kristi's fish

Tom getting ready to pull in a big one

Tom getting ready to pull in a big one

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