Ice Fishing Clothing for the Family | Dress for Success

Your Ice Fishing Clothing Game Plan

Like almost any outdoor activity, ice fishing is best enjoyed (or maybe only enjoyed) when you take time to prepare for it. While you might be able to improvise in the warmer months, being unprepared in winter is a recipe for a really unenjoyable time afield. Cold temperatures, icy winds, and bad clothing don’t mix well. This is compounded even more when your whole family is with you to experience the displeasure. This season, get everyone on the same page and upgrade your ice fishing clothing using the ice fishing tips and clothing system below. You and the family will have much more fun, even if you don’t catch as many fish as you’d like to.


What Makes Good Ice Fishing Clothing?


The days of dressing in cotton long underwear and sweatshirts is mostly gone, but we suspect it’s lingering among a few die-hard anglers out there. The problem with cotton is that it doesn’t wick moisture at all, which is a real issue. Inevitably, we’re going to sweat when we’re ice fishing; usually it happens while we’re being mobile (e.g., dragging a fishing shelter, drilling holes for the family, etc.). When we’re done with the physical activity and sit down to watch our bobbers, the sweat just sits there against our skin and cools off. This slowly robs us of our own body temperature and starts a chilling cycle nobody likes to experience when they’re out on the lake. In no time, we’re ready to pack up again, and it’s not even 9 AM.


Performance clothing, on the other hand, is made of synthetic materials like polyester (or blends with cotton) that wick moisture through the fabric. When we sweat, it is basically transferred through our outdoor clothing to the outside of the garment to evaporate away. This keeps our skin drier and allows us to stay comfortable longer. In other words, you should be able to spend more quality time with your family fishing on the ice. The only time pure cotton could be acceptable is if you wouldn’t be doing much physical work; in other words, you show up just in time to fish in the preheated shelter. Everyone’s got a buddy or family member like that anyway, right?


How to Dress for Ice Fishing


With that introduction done, let’s dive into the specific details of your ice fishing clothing system. Layering clothes for cold weather is the best way to regulate your body temperature. Each cold weather clothing layer is very important, but the system itself is pretty customizable for your preferences.


Ryan Lisson


Start with a performance base layer (i.e., long underwear top and bottom, underwear, socks) next to your skin. This material should always be a moisture-wicking powerhouse since it’s in direct contact with your sweaty skin. That’s exactly its purpose, so make sure that it is snug enough to be in constant contact. If it’s too loose, it won’t touch it enough to effectively wick the sweat out and away. Your first pair of socks should also be a liner sock made of polyester or fine wool, which will transmit sweat away from your feet to keep them dry. Cold feet will send you packing pretty fast.


The next winter fishing clothing layer is the one that you adjust most based on the conditions and your activity levels. This insulating layer (or more accurately, layers) should also pull sweat away from your body, but they should primarily hold your body heat. To combine these qualities and get the best of both, a blend of polyester and cotton or polyester and wool works well for ice fishing clothing. The idea is that you can add or remove one of these layers as you cool down or heat up, respectively. The first insulation layers should be slightly snugger to pull sweat out and away, but they can get larger as they move away from your body. Oddly enough, having fewer layers with some dead air space actually helps hold heat longer than multiple tight layers. Typical insulation layers might include wool socks, fleeces, sweatshirts, or vests. This is where the Moon Shine Camo® ice fishing clothing really excels. For example, pairing a hoodie with a black camo vest provides some great insulation on those chilly winter fishing days. If it warms up or you move into a shelter, you can remove the vest and fish in your sweatshirt alone.


Finally, there’s the outside shell layer that protects everything inside. As far as ice fishing apparel goes, this can be a deal breaker for people. Having lots of insulation is great, but it won’t count for much if the wind cuts through it to steal your body heat and the snow melts on your clothing. The outer shell keeps your heat in and the cold wind out. Find a durable winter jacket and bibs that are water- and wind-resistant, and pick up some high-quality boots with 800 to 1,000 grams insulation. You’ll often find yourself kneeling on the ice and your boots will get slushy water on them after drilling holes, so having waterproof ice fishing gear is a must. That being said, you also need the material to be breathable. If not, all that moisture wicked from your body will stop at the barrier of your shell layer instead of venting out to the world.


Then there are the other critical ice fishing accessories, namely being hats and gloves. Depending on how cold it is and whether or not you’re ice fishing in a shelter, you may or may not need a few pair of either. For example, some anglers like to wear a performance beanie underneath a warmer,

insulating hat. This is good for sitting outside using tip-ups, but it is overkill when you’re in a warm shelter. Ice fishing gloves are a different story. Since gloves can make reeling a cumbersome process, it’s best to wear a very warm chopper-style mitten that you can easily slide on and off. That way, you can quickly remove them to catch a fish and put them back on when you’re done baiting the next hook. Keep a spare hand towel hooked to your waist so you can rinse your hands in the water and dry them off before putting your mittens back on. If it’s really cold, you could put a hand warmer into the mitten.


Do You Have the Right Ice Fishing Clothing?


Well, does the system above make sense? While there are lots of youth clothing options to dress your kids according to the layers above, sometimes it might make more sense to bring a shelter and heater to have a mobile base camp. That way when your kids ultimately get too sweaty from running around (which they will), they can dry off and stay warm inside. It will also keep you fishing longer…just saying.


Looking for an Ice Fishing Camo Pattern?


If you are a fishing enthusiast, chances are you are interested in finding a fishing camo pattern. Undertow™ by Moon Shine Camo® is a fishing camo pattern that emerges your clothing, fishing gear, or even your boat in an underwater and tangled brush world! Check it out below!

undertow lifestyle camo Moon Shine Camo


Active Ice Fishing | What Success Looks Like

How to Catch More Fish by Staying Mobile

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually very easy to get too comfortable while ice fishing. Sure, you’re out on a frozen piece of water in some very chilly weather. But if you use a fishing shelter with a small heater, it’s pretty easy to take your jacket off, kick back, and enjoy a sandwich and a beverage. Even if the fish aren’t biting, you can still have a great time on the lake. This is why it can be so dangerous.

How could being comfortable possibly be a bad thing? Well, sometimes you’re actually out there to put some fish in the frying pan or freezer. And it’s hard to do that when the fish just simply aren’t below you. There’s no trolling in ice fishing, after all; at least not in the traditional sense. You’re pretty much limited to a cone about 10 to 15 feet wide, depending on the water clarity and how bright and loud your presentation is.

If you watch many ice fishing videos, you’ll notice one trend that really stands out: success usually comes to those who move around a lot. It’s not even revolutionary among ice fishing ideas, but in order to consistently catch fish, especially on unfamiliar lakes or waterbodies, you need to stay mobile and jump around until you find the right structure and some actively-feeding schools. In some cases, you may even need to chase them around throughout the day. Fish move to different areas as the day progresses, which means you need to move too. Knowing that, here are some ice fishing tips to keep you on the action all day long.


Before you pack the truck and head to the lake, you should take a look at some maps. Particularly if it’s a new lake or waterbody you haven’t been on before, this will pay dividends when you arrive. You can do something as simple as reviewing a lake map from one of your state agencies, or as complex as using a handheld GPS to show you exactly what contour line you’re standing over. Look for promising structure points, including humps, saddles, points, and drop-offs. Look at Google Earth software to see where the vegetation grows thick in the summer photos, and this can give you a good starting point to find the right depth too.

How to Catch More Fish by Staying Mobile | Moon Shine Camo

If you absolutely hate technology or plan on going to an off-the-grid type of lake, you can do it the old school way too. When you arrive, just take a moment to review the topography around the fringes. If the land gently slopes into the lake and you notice emergent cattails or reeds sticking through the ice, it’s fairly safe to say that the side you’re on is very shallow. However, if you notice the land pitches steeply into the water, it will likely also continue to a deeper basin below. Using these context clues, you can eliminate over half a lake right off the bat, saving you precious time to find the fish.

Drill, Drill, and Repeat

When you get onto the ice, it’s time for the real work to start. Instead of drilling a couple holes and parking your shelter over them immediately, take some time to use an ice fishing locator. If you don’t immediately see fish below you, even if it’s pretty shallow water (less than 10 feet), you may want to check another hole. Numbers is the name of the game. You may have to drill dozens or more, but don’t settle on a spot until you see promising schools below.

If you’ve never drilled dozens of holes at once, you’re in for a surprise. It’s a lot of work! So pay attention to your body and be smart. Take breaks between every ten or so holes. Make sure you’ve got extra batteries or gas along to get your ice auger through all of the drilling. Also be courteous while doing this task. If you’re surrounded by other anglers, don’t make Swiss cheese of the ice and spread out everywhere.

If you don’t have a fish locator, this step will be more or less impossible. You’ll have to rely on your lake maps or intuition to put you in the right spots. If it’s earlier in the winter, target shallow weed edges where fish tend to feed. But in mid-winter, like right now, you’ll have to fish over a deeper basin. Drop a line down with a weight and measure the depth to see if it matches your hunch from the map. If not, keep moving until you hit your target depth.

Stay Warm

While active ice fishing keeps you on the move and you stay pretty warm, it’s the times when you sit down to actually fish that are dangerous. Your body can cool too fast and too far if you allow yourself to sweat while doing the work. It’s critical to layer your outdoor clothing so you can add or remove layers to suit your activity level. As always, avoid cotton! Use wool or synthetic materials like polyester that will help wick the sweat away from your body.

Moonshine has several options when it comes to sportswear, and many camo patterns to match your personality and activity. The Undertow series is a perfect fit for fishing in either summer or winter. The Undertow Camo Hoodie works great for active ice fishing due to its breathable polyester construction, and front kangaroo pocket to warm up your hands between fish. If it’s too cold for a hoodie alone, add a Soft Shell Protek Vest, which has a zippered chest pocket and two side pockets to store your pliers or some plastic bait. With the mobile approach, your ice fishing clothes are about your only protection, so you need to stay warm.

Stay Warm While Ice Fishing | Moon Shine Camo

If you’re constantly on the move looking for more schools, it can be a hassle to fish within a shelter. So when you plan on moving around a lot in cold mid-winter conditions, consider setting up your shelter and getting a heater going inside anyway. Just locate the shelter in a central spot between all of the holes and use it to warm up occasionally. Alternatively, you can set some of your best tip-ups while you head into the shelter, so you won’t miss any fishing time!

Wet Some Lines

That brings us to the real point of being on the lake in the first place: catching fish! If you’ve located a school on your fish locator or seem to be fishing at the right depth near some structure, then you need to act quickly. Your ice fishing equipment had better be ready to go! You can either actively jig or use a bobber system.

If you’re not using electronics while ice fishing, it’s probably best to put some live bait on your ice fishing jigs and watch a slip bobber. First set your bobber stop so that it suspends the jig about one to two feet off the bottom. Use larger or smaller bait depending on what species you’re after. Whether you’re looking for panfish, jumbo perch, or walleye ice fishing tips, this approach will work for you.

If you have a fish locator with you, then you can get pretty serious and jig to find active and aggressive fish. Often times in mid-winter, the fish along the bottom of a basin will be lazier than the fish up higher in the water column. Suspended fish, for example, are usually larger and feed more aggressively than their counterparts below. These are obviously the fish you want.

Catch More Fish Ice Fishing | Moon Shine Camo

Lower your jig and bait until it is near a fish on the locator, and then slowly twitch it. Watch the locator to see how the fish responds. If it quickly strikes, the fish are aggressively feeding and you should get your line back in as soon as possible. If they are more lethargic, you may want to switch up the jigging cadence or pause it completely. If they still don’t bite after 20 minutes, try a different color or a new presentation altogether. Sometimes you have to throw the whole tackle box at them, but you should keep switching until you find what they’re looking for. If the action really slows down, feel free to pick up and move to another hole to graph some more fish. If they’re simply not there, it’s pretty hard to catch them. That’s what mobile ice fishing is all about!

We won’t tell you it’s the most comfortable way to go ice fishing, because sometimes moving around a lot and drilling dozens of holes just stinks. But if you’re wondering how to catch more fish this winter, it is an often-overlooked method that works more times than not.

How Moon Shine Camo Fits into Your Ice Fishing Plans

Outdoor Clothing for the Ice Fishing Enthusiast

Imagine a calm day on the ice where the sun is shining and the wind is barely a whisper. You don’t even need your shelter with you, and can just sit on a camp chair in front of your ice fishing holes. Suddenly a flag from a tip-up shoots high into the air, and you scramble to get over to it. The line is spooling out steadily, but you set the hook as soon as it pauses. After a good fight, you pull a very nice northern pike through the ice and re-set the bait for the chance at another. Life is good.

Though it’s been an unusual winter so far in terms of warmer temperatures, there are still opportunities for hard core ice fishermen and women to get out on the water. If you haven’t tried ice fishing before, you really owe it to yourself to go try it at least once. If you have fished on hard water before, then you know how addicting it can be. Perhaps the best part about it is that you can make it as extravagant or as rugged as you wish. A day on the ice could mean a several-mile hike, chiseling through feet of ice, and fishing with just a tip-up line. It could also include sitting in a deluxe ice castle watching television in your shorts, while cooking your favorite dinner on the stove.

First, you’ll need some warm clothing to stay on the ice for very long. Think cold weather camouflage clothing is just for hunting seasons? Guess again. Moon Shine Camo’s Undertow series fits in perfectly with any fishing activities, summer or winter. It features different shades of blue against a camouflage background. You’ll want a good polyester camo sweatshirt to keep your torso warm, which is where the Undertow camo pullover hoody really comes in handy.

Outdoor Clothing for the Ice Fishing Enthusiast | Moon Shine Camo

Pair your pullover hoody with the Undertow camo black vest and your core is sure to stay toasty on the ice. It has PROTEK softshell armor and a stand-up collar to keep icy winds from sending a chill down your spine. You definitely need to keep your head warm while on the ice, as you won’t stay fishing long without a good hat. The Moon Shine fleece beanie is reversible, made of polyester, and will keep your head protected for long days.

Moon Shine Camo for the Ice Fishing Enthusiast

As far as other gear, you’ll need a few more essentials. Find a decent shelter if you’ll be fishing a lot throughout the season. You’ll be very glad to have it when the mercury really drops. There are lots of DIY options, but a lightweight shelter on a sled is often the best option for portability. You’ll also need a chisel or gas/electric auger to drill your holes. Obviously you’re going to require ice rods, reels, and tackle appropriate for the species you’re targeting. Here’s a tip for new ice anglers: attend an ice fishing seminar at a sporting goods store. They’ll have lots of specific gear recommendations, will provide some tips and tactics, and can answer any specific questions you have.

When it comes to species to pursue, it will greatly depend on the lake you’re fishing. It’s a safe bet that you’ll find panfish (e.g., crappies, bluegill, pumpkinseeds, etc.) in almost any water body in America. Panfish are best targeted by a light rod and line, and using small ant-type jigs or 1/32 oz. spoons, either of which should be tipped with a minnow or grub. If you’re going for perch, sauger, or walleye, try using 1/16 to 1/4 oz. spoons tipped with a minnow head, jigging Rapalas, or rattle baits. It’s always fun to target northern pike through the ice using a tip-up system. Simply bait a quick-set rig with a large and lively sucker minnow, set the flag, and relax until the flag pops up! If you’re lucky enough to pursue trout (e.g., rainbows, brown, lake, cutthroat, etc.) through the ice, the best options seem to be 1/16 to 1/4 oz. tube jigs with white or olive tube worms, or similar-sized spoons tipped with a piece of cisco.

Just keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Ice fishing is by definition never 100% safe. But if you use common sense and follow these safety tips, you shouldn’t have any problems. Never go onto a waterbody your first time without first checking the ice quality. For early ice, take a chisel with you and aggressively poke the ice ahead of you as you walk. You may also want to wear a life jacket and some ice picks around your neck. Occasionally stop and drill a hole to check the ice thickness. Three to five inches should be sufficient for walking and even light ATV traffic. You should plan on at least 12 inches before considering driving a vehicle onto the ice though. The biggest safety tip is to always let someone know where you’ll be fishing. Hopefully these tips will find you on the ice soon!