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Swill

At what age is a toddler ready to go icefishing? PLEASE HELP

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Ok gang I need help. I love icefishing. But my wife thinks I am nuts for wanting to take my son (who is 18 months) out icefishing for a little bit. Now I fish in an otter...I have a propane heater, and I have some common sense.

So my question is at what age can a guy take his son or daughter icefishing? I think my wife is worried he will fall through the ice in one of those 10" auger holes!

PS I was think if she came too then there would be the two of us to watch him..

Any opinions would be great. Our decision is going to be made after checking out any replies....

Thanks Swill

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I think get them started early as long as you are in a heated enclosure and are careful. You do have to be prepared to leave rather quickly as kids get bored. Bring toys, or stuff to keep him having fun if he gets bored. And dont go for eyes or something hard to catch the first time, get them started with perch and panfish. Fun, fast action with fish small enough they won't scare the kid!

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He's EIGHTEEN MONTHS for crying out loud. Aren't they still in a car seat?
There is no way I would have a child that age out on the ice. Won't even know what is going on!?!?!?!

But, what the heck it's your kid.

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Do watch out for little people around the holes! The first time I took my son out was age 3.5. I had left my auger at home and my brother had an emergency, leaving the parking lot when I arrived. He pointed out that he had holes open nearby. I found that he had kicked ice in them but began removing it with my boot from the first hole. I told my son to stay away as I turned to clear another about 6 feet away. Immediately I heard a noise, and yep, he was in to his hip in a 6" hole. I pulled his leg out so quickly that he had only a small spot of moisture on his sock. I now use a larger auger except when he and his twin sister are along. Keep peace in your family by telling Mom that she's right, drill as small a hole as you can, limit your son's time on the ice to when he's up to it, watch him carefully and sooner than you now realize he'll be drilling the holes and buying the beer. Enjoy the little bugger!

Kevin

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I have a 9 month and 2 years and 9 months. I would not take them yet. I am looking at 3 at the earliest. If you have a nice house with a TV maybe at 2. You will have a lot of years to introduce them to this great sport. Go to the zoo and enjoy, when you can, the time fishing by yourself. In a few years you won't have it as much. wink.gif


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Hi Swill, Good question, I took my son out when he was 12 months old. A buddy called me when he was on fish so I knew fish would be caught. I drove to the spot we fished in 2 holes, 8 inchers. We fished for an hour and we caught some crappies. I thought it was cool and my son still has the photo with his first fish. Have low expectations. get on fish, keep it to an hour or two and be careful. I had my boy sitting on a blanket between my legs he was holding the rod and I worked the reel. I hope this helps. Pick a warm day I wouldn't use the heater, it's one more thing to worry about.

[This message has been edited by wgmsa (edited 12-18-2003).]

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If you were in a bigger heated house I think it would be ok but in a small portable there are too many things that could go wrong.I started taking my son out when he was about 3 panfishing and when I got a bite I would have him grab the line and run and the fish would come flying out of the hole.Wish I had a vidio cam back then.

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I took my 16 month old son out on Lake of the Woods for a couple hours (granted 1 hour was spent sleeping in the Blazer) Anyways, when he came to, I had him out on a day where it was 35 degrees, sunny and no wind. A perfect day for fishing. We had 4 adults out there, and a 3 year old and my 16 month old son. Two adults fishing, two adults watching/playing. We had a great time catching perch. Kept a very close eye on him and fished outside for that hour. We all knew where the 10" holes were and like I said, intensely supervised them. Both the 3 year old and my young son loved looking at the iced perch and even holding the rod for a catch or two. Under the right (perfect) circumstances, never too young.

------------------
Hemlock
"Throw'm back"

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Hey All, great question and excellent feedback. I was kickin' around the idea of taking my son who will be two today this year for an hour or two. It's a tag team event to say the least.

From past experienve with a good friend and his two year old, we set up a 6x8 on a really nice day, got the holes all drilled, had the grill going and Mom met us at the landing once we were all set. Then a quick ride out to the shack in the ATV and he played with the minnows and the occasional perch that bit during the day. Shot some good video and now he's ready to go again this season.

One trick I heard was using oven grates over larger holes...you can still watch a bobber and work a fish and just slide it over to the side when bringing them up.

MTCs

--Prudence

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We.need.to.keep.in.mind.ice-fishing..or.any.fishing.is.inherently.dangerous.

In.fact.it.is.high.on.the.list.of.more.dangerous.sports.with.relation.to.%.of.misshaps.and/or.death.

18.months.is.a.bit.early.in.my.view.for.the.main.reason.that.IF.an.misshap.were.to.happen.to.you..
the.infant.would.need.fend.for.itself...difficult.if.not.impossible.to.do?

A.short.visit.to.the.ice.is.ok..then.the.infant.should.be.taken.elsewhere.

Extended.periods.may.offer.more.risk.and.hassle.then.you.may.wish.to.experience?

In.a.permanent.shack..well.heated..and.with.your.full.attention..it.may.be.OK..
Yet.a.second.responsible.adult.there.also...would.be.even.better.in.my.view.


------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"
[email protected]
><,sUMo,>

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I aplaude your concern and am glad to see you are looking for opinions. The only true judge is yourself. However, I took my son @ 18 months, either in a backpack or had him teathered to me at all times. I was sure to point out the holes and always be vigilant of his actions. I made sure I was out there when ice conditions were as safe as could be (Greater than 8 inches). My wife is also paranoid about ice thickness and safety. I always brought a favorite healthy snack, and made sure we were on fish to catch. You have to go with the mind set of fishing for them not necessarily you.
I think it worked, he is now six, and loves to go with me all of the time. But I still try to get on action and keep it fun. I rarely go for more than three or four hours. Hope this helps. Good luck with what ever you decide.

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Any concern is a valid concern. I think the teather is a great idea. I believe you have to be lucky just to have the conditions to get real young ones out there. Conditions that I believe are essential:

-1', if not 3' of good ice
-Intense supervision (like daddy not fishing)
-Safety and regard for old/active holes
-Close to warmth/snacks/etc.
-Good clothing for junior, and a spare set.
-Good weather
-Timeframe that allows for his/her schedule


Eddy, I commend your concerns, believe me, if I didn't have them, I would be a bad parent. It's a touchy subject, but I had as much confidence as anything while on the ice that day with jr.

------------------
Hemlock
"Throw'm back"

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I think that you wouldn't want to take him out in anything other than a big house. An otter is just to small to be in. Plus your holes are right in front of you on the ice so if the little tike is wanting to walk around the holes are in the way. Not a smart idea in my book I know that you would want anything to happen to him. At 18 months I think it is better to leave him home and take him out when he is older. Even at 3-4 years old there will be many years for you to fish together and enjoy each others company. But even then I wouldn't put them in a portable house. I think you might want to listen to your wife on this one.

------------------
Grip it and Rip it

IFFWalleyes
I Fish For Walleyes
[email protected]

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My suggestion would be to take him, but keep him there only as long as he wants to stay. Watch him like a hawk, but you are already doing that no matter where he is.

Anytime we can get our kids outdoors is a plus. My kids traveled all over the outdoors with me from the time they could walk. Today one is guiding backcounty high altitude snowbording trips in Tahoe and the other one was always fishing, hiking, camping. That is until the twins arrived last June.

Go for it.

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My suggestion would be to take him, but keep him there only as long as he wants to stay. Watch him like a hawk, but you are already doing that no matter where he is.

Anytime we can get our kids outdoors is a plus. My kids traveled all over the outdoors with me from the time they could walk. Today one is guiding backcounty high altitude snowbording trips in Tahoe and the other one was always fishing, hiking, camping. That is until the twins arrived last June.

Go for it.

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The first time I took my son out he was about 3. We were driving across the ice in my pickup. I looked over at him sound asleep in his car seat. A feeling of terror came over me. If the truck went through the ice, he wouldn't have a chance. After that we always rode out of the car seat with the windows down.

We got out to the spot, I set up my home-made portable, drilled some holes, got the heater started, started to drop a line and he stepped into a hole. He was wet to the hip on one leg. Back into the still warm truck, pack everything up and head for home.
After that, I always brought a change of clothes.

He's 21 now and loves to Ice Fish. We are hoping to get out over Christmas break.

So, bring extra clothes, watch him around the heater and be prepared to leave early.

Have fun with him. They grow way too fast!

Boyz in the Woods (nothing better)

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I have an 18 month old little guy as well.
He may go out this year for a very short time.

I will go out to the lake first, get the house set up and warm, holes drilled, lines ready to go then my wife will bring him out and we will both watch him and hopefully Dad can get him a fish or two while he is out there. I can see them staying for 1/2 or 45 minutes and then heading back out.

This will be later in the year when there is 14 to 18 inches of good ice and will be in an area that I know very well.

If you have a sled type house, I might wait a year to bring them out. A suitcase style or a perm. house would be better, IMO.

I think you want his / her first time out to be a good one for BOTH of you. You dont want them to think ice fishing sucks and you dont want to start thinking taking them is a pain in the butt--- I am bored, I am hungry, potty, where are the fishies, etc., so waiting might be the better option.

One last thing, I am going to borrow an underwater cam when I do take Nick out and let him try to find fish on that and see the bait and stuff. Just little things to keep it interesting for him.

Good luck which ever way that you go.

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On this topic, I think it depends on the kid. My three year old daughter can sit for a long time if you just let her mouth run. If I tell her to be quiet please, she can't sit still. I set up my permanent specifically for her and her 3 year old cousin, TV/VCR for kids movies, big heater, chalkboard games folding table etc. Hopefully enough distractions so that if the fish aren't biting we've got something to do. I plan to set it up close enough to shore so that I can pull her and the gear out in a sled and can take the expensive stuff home with us.

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Depends on the child and the environment.

My kids both started fishing prior to age 2.

Think of it as an outing with the child, during which you might happen to fish.

Rob

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18 months is pretty young. I take my four year and my six year as much as I can. My little girl, who is four, loves going out. She is the one that asks if we can go. 18 months would be a lot of work for you.

Last night I took my son, who is six, and he got a little concerned when it got dark. He asked me if I knew the way home. Something I did not think about. I don't think he had made the connection that we would be out on the ice after dark.

One thing I found is bring lots of eats. We like to make ham and cheese sandwiches, put them in tinfoil and lay them on top of the fireplace. This way the cheese melts and we enjoy hot ham and cheese sandwiches. Peanuts in the shell keep kids really busy and they enjoy throwing them into the fire. I'm waiting for the next BIG snowstorm so we get a huge drift behind the ice house. This keeps kids busy for hours building a nice fort.

Expose them early and you will have a partner for life!

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10" ice hole?
C'mon man just think of the danger you are putting that child into!
Freezing temps, heater that can burn skin, ice hole that a child could fall through, hooks, auger blades, etc.!!
Get a sitter for now and wait one year until you can get your child even slightly curious about fishing, and fish in a permanent house that would be more safe and comfortable.
The worst thing you can do to a child is to give your child a bad experience fishing.
They might not want to ever go again.
Be smart and be careful!

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I think its great to get kids involved in fishing or other outdoors activies. But as mentioned they can be dangerous, when I was growing up, we did not have augers and used chinsels to chop holes. My smaller sister fell into one of these and if she did not have her arms out, she probably would have gone under. a small child moves quick and could go down a 10" holes easy. not too mention heater that burn at a few thousand degrees. Its easy to get distracted while playing a fish or bringing one in, accidents happen in the blink of an eye. We can not undo what happens, and is the regert worth it?

on a different note: I believe this is my 100 post. now times flies when having fun.

O

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Great idea to take the kids ice fishing. Like most have said, just keep it at their pace and fun for them. You may have to shorten a few trips, but it'll pay off later. It worked for me. My daughters are begging me to go this year as they had fun last year. Mine were a bit older when they started, but it's never too late. Wait til you see the look on their face when you drill a hole, they see the water come, and then realize they are standing on/in the middle of the lake! My oldest was so funny! Good luck.

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My son caught his first fish at 2 1/2 and went ice fishing that winter before age 3.

What I did;
Drilled one hole (10")
Brought the Aqua Vue so he could watch those that didn't bite.
Let him reel in fish after I set the hook.
Let him set on a couple.
Picked a warm and windless day.
Stayed close to home and kept it short.

I think it's good to introduce them at a young age, and make it fun, bring toys and snacks so they are happy. Then call it a day, before they get bored, you don't want to have it end with them not having fun.

My son LOVES to go fishing and just play "fishing" at home. We look at tackle and "play" in the boat. Any fun time centered around fishing, on or off the water is good for the future.

18 months might be too young, but it's your choice. Just make it HIS DAY and keep it simple.

Good Luck!
Steve

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