Home made Ice Fishing Tip ups

As a kid we always put out “tip up’s” out on the lake to catch fish in the winter time, so i was thinking of this since we are moving into the winter.

For those of you who haven’t done much fishing, there are two different ways (well kinda 3) to fish in the winter.  In colder climates, the lakes and ponds freeze over, which kills your ability to sit on the edge and cast in to catch fish.  In response to their addiction (or necessity for survival!) fisherman have concocted ways to continue to fish in the winter.

  1. Cut a hole in the ice, sit on a bucket, drop a line in and sit on a bucket
  2. Build a “shanty” put that on the ice, cut a hole, sit on a bucket or chair and be warm while you site with your pole
  3. Cut a hole in the ice, set out a “tip up” and come back later, or look out your window and see if youve caught any fish.

Tip ups, come in many different varieties but the main components are usually a weighted or springed device that flips a flag or some noticeable sign up when their is something tugging on the line.


As a fishing for fun item they are very nice, because you can enjoy the taste of fresh fish, year round without having to freeze your ass of on a cold lake or drag a behemoth shanty out onto the lake and pull back off before spring thaw (I’ve also seen people that waited too long and their shanty then slides in and goes down the river in spring!)

In a survival or collapse scenario, tip ups can be a VERY beneficial item to have. Using a hunting analogy, fishing is like hunting, you can only get your prey and your food when you are physically out there wasting calories for just a possibility of getting fresh meat.

Tip ups are more like trapping, they are out there 24/7 and will always outperform the hunter or fisherman.  This doesn’t mean in those situations you shouldn’t be out hunting or fishing.  These activities will augment what your traps/tip ups catch as well as provide a possibly much needed mental break from the drag of survival and monotony.

I found this tip up on Iceshanty.com (many thanks to “fish_finder” and “Little Brown Dog” for their posts!)

There are thousands of different kinds of tip ups, from the simple to the complex and fancy, this is a very simple and easy to make version.

All you will need is some scrap wood, a nail, a bolt, washers and nut, along with fishing line and the accompanying hook and bait.

As you can see the stand has the fishing line attached to the side, leading to a loose loop around a nail, and then leading down into the ice.  When the fish bites the loop pulls down on the nail and then slips off, the pulling on the nail causes the whole arm to swing up and makes the signal on the right stand straight up and down.

The coat hanger can be seen running along the cent of the “tip up” piece of wood with a heavyish lead weight that moves loosely on the hang itself.  When the wood piece is starting to tip down the lead weight will fall and pull down the arm completely and hold it in the downward position.

The lead weight can be seen more clearly here along with the bolt.  The Bolt has to be long enough to go through the board, and my guess is that there is a nut holding the washers on either side of the arm along with a final nut on the other end.  This would be tightened but only to where it is holding the arm in place to allow for free fluid movement.

A piece of wood block also keeps the arm from swinging the opposite way.


I would recommend that you either purchase some cheap ones to put into your preps, especially if you live ANYWHERE near a lake or pond with fish in it.  However make sure that you use them, it wont take long, plus you’ll get free fish for your dinner table.

If possibly I would ask that you experiment with making your own tip up’s to have some on hand and learn the skill-set needed to make ones that work, with materials that are just laying around.  This one was made with just scrap wood, some fishing line, a coat hanger and a spare bolt.




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