The tough among us don’t let a little old thing like winter get in the way of our fishing fun. Nope. We just wait for a few inches of ice so we can get back to our favorite pastime. Ok, so we need a few more layers, but other than that, it’s everything we love… the thrill of the chase, the sport, the fight to pull in a big one, the food. What are the best ice fishing snacks to tide us over until we can fry up some perch or bake a trout with a yummy lemon butter sauce?
Food for Ice Fishing: 10 Must-Haves
Hot and Cold Drinks.
Ok, so it’s not a “snack,” but hydration is key when you’re engaging in any kind of physical activity. And yes, even outside during winter, you will work up a sweat drilling holes and chasing flags. Bring water in a container that will not allow it to freeze (like an insulated Thermos). You can also put some hot coffee in a Thermos so it stays hot for hours. Another option: bring lots of water and use a small propane camp stove to heat it. This way you can make a few of the other foods on our list!
Soup is hearty, filling, and it warms the body and soul. Make up a pot of beef stew, split pea and ham, chili, or savory chicken noodle to keep you going. Again, you can use an insulated container to keep it warm or heat it up on your little camp stove. Nutritious and delicious!
If you want to go extra, bring a little propane-powered grill with you. They’re lightweight and easy to use – and a hot meal can make all the difference when the weather outside is less than balmy. If you’ve already had a successful day thus far, clean a fish (or a few if they’re perch) and grill them up. Be safe and bring a few hot dogs, sausages, brats, or burgers in case you aren’t having any luck – or want to save the fish for some of your world famous stew later on.
Super easy and nutritious, this is a great day-starter. Get some quick oats and some hot water, and you’re in business. You can also add healthy toppings to mix in, such as dried fruit, nuts, honey, or dark chocolate bits. Or, what the hey, go savory. Yes, you can put things like garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, corn, salsa, meat, etc., into your oatmeal. This is one hearty, and incredibly versatile, food. If you don’t want to deal with the dishes you’ll have to bring, just grab a single-serve container, and you’re good.
The good thing about fishing in freezing temps is that you don’t have to worry about your mayo going bad! Give a nod to the fish with a tuna on wheat or go with your favorite deli meats. A simple PBJ will fill you up, and you can add a banana for a boost of energy. Sandwiches are very portable, easy to prep, and they taste great. It also allows you to pack light for your day on the (frozen) water.
Homemade Trail Mix.
Just make a mixed bag of tasty nutrition the night before. Include nuts and seeds for healthy fats, a bit of dark chocolate chips for sweet antioxidants, some dried fruits (e.g., cranberries, dates, raisins, etc.), Cheerios, Chex, or little pretzels for crunch, and you’re all done. With homemade, you can avoid extra sugar and other junk that often goes into commercial products.
We know it’s hard to find time to prep for everything! If you’re running short on time – or just don’t want to waste a second of ice time – try single-serving snacks, which are easily available at grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores. Think string cheese, pretzels with hummus, pickles, cheese and crackers, meat snacks, etc.
Sweetwood Smokehouse Meat Snacks.
Speaking of meat snacks, we might be biased but… Sweetwood Smokehouse meat snacks are the best ice fishing snacks! We slow smoke all our delicious, healthy, all-natural, grab-and-go protein pick-me-ups with real American hickory wood. There’s no added crap – artificial flavors, junk sweeteners, unpronounceable ingredients – which leaves more room for great taste! Try our Grass-Fed Beef and Antibiotic-Free Pork options. Our favorite for the ice: FATTY Smoked Meat Sticks. These substantial snacks pack a big punch of protein in Original, Jalapeno, Pepperoni, Honey BBQ, and Teriyaki variations. Grab a few 2- or 3-ounce sticks and get fishing!
Yum… hot, warm, smoky flavor! Make your own at home to control sugar and additives or, in a pinch, buy a can or two. If you’re feeling fancy, add in an Original 2-ounce FATTY Smoked Meat Stick or two for some extra protein.
You can make your own granola bars, too, but for convenience and speed, you can find great options at grocery and convenience stores. Be careful to avoid those with tons of sugar. Look instead for high-quality, whole ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Great, now what about gear for ice fishing? We’ve got you covered with a list of essentials so you can pack everything all at once:
- Hat and gloves
- Wool sock and warm boots
- Tip-ups and jigging poles
- Bait and lures
- Fishing license
- Shelter (a little pop up shanty can make a big difference!)
What’s your favorite food for ice fishing? Hop on Instagram and give us a shout to let us know what you think are the best ice fishing snacks to keep you fueled up on the ice!