If you would like to spend a fun day on the lake with the family, try ice fishing with tip-ups.

Most of the lakes in West Michigan offer up some pretty good pike fishing and who knows you may get a walleye, musky, or even a large or smallmouth bass while using tip-ups on the ice to catch them.

Not everyone knows what a tip-up is so I will pop in a few photos so you get the idea.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM

The above tip-up is one that has been a standard for quite some time. They used to be made of wood, and some still are, but the original tip-ups had wood crossbars and if the hole would freeze up, sometimes you would break one trying to get it back out of the ice, so companies moved to the plastic model above to make it easier to not destroy your tackle.

The tip-up is easy to set up. They made a heavy corded line for these that I highly recommend. When you tip-up fish, its always a surprise what might be on the other end and you never know when a monster pike, musky, or walleye may get hooked and you don't want those sharp teeth ripping through your line so stay away from monofilament for this type of set-up if you can.

attachment-Round Tip Up

The tip-up above is a really cool design. This one completely covers the hole and keeps it from freezing up. Plus they are durable and have a little storage compartment on the back for extra hooks and sinkers.

Speaking of hooks and sinkers, you can use treble hooks (hook with three hooks on it) or a single hook. It is good to have a steal leader to put the hook on and tie to your line. Sometimes it's good to add a little weight to keep the bait (minnow, shiner, chub, sucker, perch, small bluegill) from swimming all over the place. Plus if you are fishing in deep water it will help get your bait down quicker.

attachment-Wooden Walleye Tip Up

The tip-up above is a design that has been used for years, especially by walleye fishermen.  They are still one of the best tip-ups you can use and last a lifetime. This one in the picture is at least 30 years old and still catching fish.

It's good to put your bait about 2 feet off the bottom whether you are fishing in shallow or deep water. Depending on weeds you can go a little lower or higher but 2 feet from the bottom is a good start.

Make sure you have your name and address on your tip-ups. That is in the DNR fishing handbook so take a look at that either online or if you have the book before you take the family and get embarrassed with an unexpected ticket for having something wrong if the DNR pay you a visit.

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What's fun about tip-up fishing with the family is, if you have little ones who get bored or disinterested quickly. Using tip-ups allows them to play on the ice and not worry about anything except when a flag goes up.

Heck, my family and friends have had ice skating parties while we had tip-ups surrounding the area which can make for an extra fun day on the lake.

The gear is cheap and easy to use and lots of memories can be created while hand reeling in some monsters from under the ice.

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