Ice fishing: Patience in the cold can be rewarding

Published: Jan. 16, 2018 at 7:15 PM EST
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Ice fishing isn't for the thin-skinned. But if you can stand the cold, it can be rewarding. It takes patience, and you might not actually catch anything, but it's another winter activity worth a try.

Pat Magdaleno is one of those people who loves to fish.

“I wouldn't say ice fishing is my favorite, but I definitely love doing it. It's just a little cold and it's a lot of work to ice fish,” Magdaleno said.

But he’s turned his passion into a profitable business called Mags Custom Rods. He now makes his own rods for all kinds of fishing, ice fishing included.

“Like today, I think I have five different kinds. I have a rod designed for walleye, one designed for trout, one designed for bluegill. And I got into it about a year ago and it's actually been really, really busy. I haven't even had time to fish because I've been so busy with building rods,” Magdaleno said.

But luckily Pat still gets to fish, and showed us everything that goes into it, beginning with safety.

“You always want to spud, everywhere you go you want to spud and make sure the ice is safe before anything. You just kind of hit the ice with this type of metal rod and make sure it's solid. You know you put it in front of you and if it's not safe it'll go through, so usually three good hits and it's pretty safe ice,” he said.

Then you set up all the gear that comes along with ice fishing - a shack to keep out the elements, an auger to drill holes, Pat's custom rods, bait, and a fish finder to find the fish.

"You just never really know. I could sit here all day and never have a bite and then all of a sudden they'll just turn on and you'll just catch them one after another. And I think that's what I love about fishing in general is you just never know when it's going to happen or if it's even going to happen,” Magdaleno laughs.

In the Marquette area, there are panfish, bluegill, perch, walleye and pike that are active in the winter. But a typical rod and reel isn’t the only way to catch a fish - there are also tip ups. With a tip up, a contraption drops into the water with a flag on one end that stays out of the water and a reel on the other end that holds the fishing line and bait. When a fish swims by and decides to bite, he takes the line and the tip up’s flag will raise up, alerting you that there’s a fish on the line.

“I pretty much go out every night, every other night. In the winter there's nothing really else to do besides fishing or skiing, and I don't get along with skiing so I just fish,” said Pat’s friend, Dylan Sharkey.

The tip up alerted Pat and his friend Dylan twice in about a two-hour span, catching two pike. So if you give ice fishing a try, you just might get hooked.

"I've always loved it since I was a little kid, so it's pretty much taken over my life, but in a good way," said Magdaleno.

If you would like to order a custom rod or get more information about Pat Magdaleno’s business, you can visit his website at