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There are basically two ways to catch fish while ice fishing: jigging and tip-ups. Jigging involves the use of a pole to move the lure or bait around in a way that attracts fish, but generally requires that the fisher be actively using the pole to try and catch fish.

Tip-ups are a more passive way of catching fish, and in New York, each person with a fishing license can set up seven tip-ups on the ice each day. This allows the fisher to cover more ground and increase their chances of getting fish.

All tip-ups have a few features in common. They will have a flag of some sort and a small reel. Typically, if any line is pulled from the reel, as in a fish taking the bait, then the reel spins and releases the flag which then pops up so that it is easily visible. This is the notification that there may be a fish on the line.

There are numerous kinds of tip-ups, each with its own benefits and uses.

The classic tip-ups are called stick tip-ups. According to Tim LaDue, an avid ice fisherman, these are the "old reliable." A simple set up of three sticks with a small reel and flag on them, this is what people have been using for generations.

Essentially, two of the sticks make a cross that lay across the ice, while the third stick goes vertically down into the water and up into the air. A flag is attached to the vertical stick, which also has the reel on it.

If a fish bites, the reel pulls and the flag goes up. Depending on the manufacturer, sometimes the reel is under water, sometimes above, but stick tip-ups each pretty much work the same way regardless of maker.

Along with the stick tip-up, another stand-by is the polar style tip-up. Polar style tip-ups lay flatter on the ice and can be good during more windy conditions as they are more stable than stick tip-ups.

The polar tip-ups have one larger piece, either wood or plastic, that lies flat on the ice with the reel extending down into the water. The flag lies parallel with the ice creating a much lower profile than other types of tip-ups.

If you regularly encounter breezy conditions, you may want to invest in a few wind tip-ups. These are almost a cross between jigging and using tip-ups, as the wind-style tip-up has a small fin on it that will gently move the fishing line, creating action under water.

These sit higher off the ice, and can't be used in strong winds. But if you are not using live bait and want to have more jigging action in the water, these are a great option.

Another factor to take into account when shopping for tip-ups is the temperature you'll be facing. In the Adirondacks, negative 20 is not uncommon, and at that temperature water freezes pretty quickly. If your fishing line or reel gets frozen even in a thin skin of ice, the action won't work and you risk losing fish off the line or not catching them at all.

For those bitter cold days, try round tip-ups. The basic mechanism is still the same, but these tip-ups are designed to cover the entire hole which prevents ice from forming since the water surface doesn't come into direct contact with the cold air.

The only real downside to the round tip-ups is that you will need to buy them bigger than the hole you intend on drilling in the ice. If you have a twelve inch auger, a 10-inch round tip-up will not work, but since most ice fishermen use 6- or 8-inch augers, round tip-ups can be a really good tool to have.

Many fishermen keep a variety of different tip-ups on hand for different conditions. Tip-ups are less expensive than fishing poles and cost anywhere from $10 to $20.