Don’t let slushy situations snag your fishing |

Don’t let slushy situations snag your fishing

Matt Wright of Trinidad competes in the Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest on Jan. 24. Slush has made fishing difficult on the lakes lately.
Eli Pace /

Around mid-ice season, we always seem to see slush. It generally happens when we get a good amount of snow. The weight of the snow pushes down on the ice, causing the water to rise through cracks and holes. The heavier the snow, the more pressure on the ice and the deeper the slush.

Slush can cause lots of problems. Our vehicles get stuck. We waddle around in it. We get soaked while fishing. Gear gets weighted down and breakdowns become a little more frequent. Some people decide to stay home, but I would rather go fishing, so here are a few ideas to help you deal with slushy situations.

Let’s start with the boots: If you’re not into rubber boots, use some kind of waterproofing and re-apply it often.

Also, snow machines should be loaded with a minimum amount of gear. The lighter the sled, the lesser the chance of it getting stuck. If you’re pulling a sled, put most of the weight to the rear and mount your hitch lower than the hitch on your machine. These two simple suggestions will help the sled ride “nose up” instead of acting like a plow. Your best bet is to leave the pull sled at home.

If you’re staying on the lake for a few days, take your snow machine out during the day and pack a trail to your spot before you pack down where you want your hut. Overnight the packed area will freeze, and your experience will be much drier.

If you didn’t get the chance to “pack your track” and find yourself in slushy conditions, try making a circle on your machine and parking it in a spot that’s not so slushy.

If you do get stuck, shovel out the snow that built up in the front of the machine. Lifting and dropping the rear of the machine should help rid the sled of any slush in the cowling and tracks. You can then lift the rear over to fresh snow, grab a ski and pull while your buddy gives the machine gas.

ATVs with or without tracks are a totally different experience in deep snow and slush. A winch is a necessary tool, and you should keep an angle iron slighly longer than the diameter of your ice auger too. That way, if you drill a hole into the ice, you can drop the iron into the hole and winch yourself out 50 feet at a time.

These are just a few tips to help you deal with the slush. Now go out and find those fish.

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