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in: Fishing, Manly Skills, Outdoors, Visual Guides

January 24, 2019 Last updated: December 29, 2019

How to Make an Ice Fishing Tip-Up

A tip-up, also known as an ice-fishing trap, is a way for anglers to work multiple holes on the ice at once. Instead of sitting over a single hole and just waiting for a bite, an ice-fishing trap features a flag that notifies you when a fish is on the line. When your line is slack, the flag lies on the ground. But, when you get a bite, the taut line pulls the flag upright and beckons you to retrieve your next meal.  

There are scores of tip-ups available for purchase online. Many allow you to integrate a full fishing pole, and other warning signals, like bells. But, a basic ice-fishing trap is incredibly easy to make. It only requires a flag, or other bright material, two sticks, a fishing line, and some good cordage or twine. Their simplicity makes them an excellent tool for survival. And, because you can make several of them to use at the same time, it only increases your chances of catching a big dinner. 

1: Tie a flag or other eye-catching material to the end of the top stick.

2: Make sure your top stick isn’t too thick or heavy otherwise a small fish won’t be able to pull your flag up.

3: Lay one stick across the hole. Length should be twice the diameter of the ice hole.

4: Tie your fishing line to the end of the top stick.

5:Tie the top stick to the bottom stick with cordage or twine using a square or diagonal lashing. Leave enough room to attach your fishing line to the end of the stick.

Additional Resources

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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