What You Need to Start Ice Fishing: A Beginners Guide

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What You Need to Start Ice Fishing: A Beginners Guide

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You’d think ice fishing would be about as simple and straightforward as an outdoor activity can get. You’re essentially sitting on a frozen lake, after all, with a fishing rod in your hands. That sounds pretty straightforward to us! However, it’s not quite that simple… There are actually several factors to take into account before heading out onto the ice. For instance, how thick is the ice? Where is it safe to venture and where might there be hidden dangers? How cold will it get? And so on… It is much trickier than you might think! As such, we thought we’d put together this guide on everything you need to know before setting off on your own personal mission to find the perfect piece of ice that meets your needs and requirements. So read on for our essential ice fishing tips…

Decide on your equipment

There are some essential pieces of equipment that every ice angler should have in their tackle box before they set off on their trip. And remember, having the right equipment and tackle can make a huge difference the success of your ice fishing trip.

Bestseller No. 1
Shappell Jet Ice Fishing Sled, Large Heavy-Duty Multi-Purpose Utility Sleds for Hauling Fire Wood, Deer, Duck Hunting, Fishing Gear, Supplies, and Accessories
  • HANDY ICE FISHING SLED – The Shappell Jet Ice Fishing Sled makes it easy to tow your ice fishing gear. A great handy ice sled for hauling your stuff onto the ice. It will protect your gear and not...
  • MULTI-PURPOSE UTILITY CART – Tow everything from ice gear, firewood, traps, or feed in this extra-large ice-fishing sled. It’s a great multi-purpose utility sled for ice fishing, hunting deer,...
  • EASY TO LUG YOUR STUFF – This ice fishing sled with rope allows for easy hand tow, to lug your stuff to and from the honey hole. Perfect to float a deer across the terrain and haul gear with its...
  • RUGGED POLYETHYLENE MATERIAL – Made of rugged polyethylene material that makes this ice fishing sled heavy-duty but not to the point where it feels heavy. It measures 54" x 25" x 10" H, tow rope...
  • MOLDED RUNNERS FOR SMOOTH GLIDING – The molded runners give it strength and allow for smooth gliding. Whether you are pulling through terrain, snow, or ice, this sled for fishing will lend itself...
Bestseller No. 2
Ice Snow Traction Cleats Crampons Anti-Slip Snow Shoes Cleats for Boots Shoes Winter Walking on Snow and Ice Overshoe Slip-on Stretch Footwear for Men Women
  • The ice traction cleats fit securely on any shoe or boot and allow you to stride easily on ice and snow-covered pavement and gravel
  • Ice crampons cleats are made of Thermoplastic Elastomer & non slip studs, easy wear and lightweight, all-day traction solution
  • Full cover on heel and forefoot, REDUCE INJURY, The ice snow cleats prevent slips and falls on ice, snow, and wet pavement.
  • Ice cleats are designed to stretch considerably to fit appropriately over your shoes or boots
  • Great for ice fishing, hunting, walking, jogging, hiking, running, snow shoveling, etc.
Bestseller No. 3
Scalable Winter Ice Fishing Skimmer Scoop- Adjustable Ice Fishing Scooper with Long Handle-Ice Fishing Gear for Scooping out Ice While Fishing (1 PCS)
  • Adjustable design:The retractable design allows you to adjust the length you want. The longest length can be adjusted to 31.7inch, which helps the fisherman to fish out the broken ice when ice...
  • Easy to use:This ice Scooper is very hardy in the cold winter, comfortable in the hand, and easy to carry and store. When not in use,contraction can be stored, do not take up too much space.
  • Durable material:The ice scoop is made of high quality plastic and the pole is made of aluminum alloy.Sturdy and durable, it can be used for a long time.Keep fishing hole clear of ice and snow with...
  • Ideal gift :It can be used as a gift for friends who like ice fishing. For ice fishing enthusiasts, ice skimmer scoop is a good helper, can better clean the ice.
  • Warm tips:If you are not satisfied for any reason, just return for a refund of your purchase price; we promise 24 hours customer support, please feel free to contact us for any product&order problem.
Bestseller No. 4
Drill It Till It Squirts Ice Fishing Auger Pullover Hoodie Pullover Hoodie
  • Are you a fisherman? Do you have all the winter fishing equipment and accessories like a fishing rod, jigs, shelter tent and electric ice auger or gas powered post hole digger? This ice fishing...
  • This unique design features a ice fishing power auger with the fishing saying: Drill it till it Squirts! Perfect Christmas, holiday, or birthday present for the man who loves to hit the lake for...
  • 8.5 oz, Classic fit, Twill-taped neck
Bestseller No. 5
THKFISH 50Pcs/Box Ice Fishing Jigs Set Ice Fishing Lures Walleye Jigs Heads for Ice Fishing Gear Kit Panfish Crappie Perch Jigs Ice Fishing Box A
  • EFFICIENT ICE FISHING JIGS: The 50PCS ice fishing jigs set cointains 5 different kinds of shapes ice jigs. Highly simulated ice fishing lures provide vivid swimming action and make the target fish...
  • ATTRACTIVE ICE FISHING LURES: Ice fishing jigs' realistic raised fin attachment, brilliant brightness and high fidelity paint coating make these crappies jigs lures more attractive. A parts of ice...
  • WIDE RANGE OF TARGET FISH: These ice fishing jigs are irresistible to game fish hanging under ice and in open water. Different kinds of ice fishing lures are designed for almost species of fish. Such...
  • MADE OF PREMIUM MATERIALS: All these ice fishing lures made of premium lead material and high carbon steel hook. Durable and Sharp, extremely penetrating hook tip allows for rapid stabbing of the...
  • AMAZING ICE FISHING KIT: Package included: 50pcs. These ice fishing jigs have different colors and size for you to choose. please refer to the picture for specific size. The varied shapes and high...

Here is what you should consider before setting off:

Check the ice thickness and conditions

Knowing the ice thickness and its condition will help you decide where to go. If you’re fishing on a frozen lake, you can use your foot as a gauge to check the thickness. If you can’t get your foot through the ice, it’s probably safe to fish. But you should also check the thickness with a ruler or an ice spud. Remember, don’t rely on the color of the ice as this can be misleading. Dark-colored lakes are often thicker than lighter colored ones. If you’re fishing on a river, there are a few ways to check the thickness. First, you can use a ruler or an auger. If you hear the sound of water, you’ve hit a soft spot, which means the ice might be thin and unsafe. You can also check the area around the riverbank to see how thick the ice is there and use that as a gauge for the rest of the river.

Bestseller No. 1
Eskimo 6 Inch Hand Auger (HD06)
  • CROSS-BOLT TAKEDOWN SYSTEM: Prevents over-tightening when you drill. Superior to screw-together hand augers
  • BLADE PROTECTOR INCLUDED: Extends the life and sharpness of the blades
Bestseller No. 2
290149 StrikeMaster Mora Hand Auger-6 in. MD-6 Blue
  • Country Of Origin : China
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 8 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 34 Inches
  • The Package Width Of The Package Is 10 Inches
Bestseller No. 3
ION 39250 8" R1 Electric Ice Auger, Green/Black
  • 5 AMP HOUR, GEN 1 BATTERY: This Gen 1, 5 Amp Hour battery offers a 60% higher storage capacity than the original ION battery. This extra capacity powers the 8" ION R1 through up to 1600" of ice on a...
  • 30% FASTER CUTTING SPEEDS: A re-optimized power system makes the ION R1 more powerful, offering up to 30% faster cutting speeds than previous Gen 1 ION augers.
  • ION REVERSE: Reverse eliminates the need for an ice skimmer by flushing the slush ice down the hole.
  • HIGH-STRENGTH COMPOSITE POLYMER CUTTING HEAD: Ensures smooth and consistent cutting in all conditions and easily re-drills old holes. Aggressive design cuts through ice quickly with an incredibly...
  • AUGER CENTERING POINT: Allows for ultra-precise blade positioning when opening new holes, or re-opening frozen holes.
Bestseller No. 4
Nordic Legend 33cc Power Ice Auger and Portable Two Man Shelter Combo
  • Powerful 33cc 8 inch Ice Auger AND Bonus 2 man portable shelter in ONE package!
  • 33 cc two cycle engine with 8 inch auger
  • 76" hub to hub shelter
  • 300D fabric keeps the wind and weather outside and the heat inside
  • Precision ground high carbon steel cutting blades rip through ice in seconds
Bestseller No. 5
Ion Ice Fishing 8" Electric Power Ice Fishing Auger with High Performance 4Ah 40V MAX GEN 1 Lithium-Ion Battery Green/Black
  • 4 AMP HOUR, GEN 1 BATTERY: A high-performance, 4 Amp Hour, 40V MAX Lithium-ion battery powers the 8” ION through up to 1200” of ice on a single charge.
  • NO GAS, NO OIL, NO FUMES: With ION, all you need to do is charge your battery, go to the lake, and start drilling. No need to stop at a gas station, calculate fuel mixture, or store unused mixed gas....
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, EASY TO CARRY: At only 22 pounds, ION weighs nearly 40% less than typical gas-powered augers. This means less effort drilling and more opportunity to focus on fishing.
  • SMOOTH CUTS EVERY TIME: The ION features a centering ring bottom that allows you to smoothly re-open frozen holes by keeping the cut even and straight all the way down to breakthrough.
  • STEEL AUGER CONSTRUCTION: A durable, classic steel flite design helps clear ice and snow from the hole.

Bundle up!

You might think that you don’t need to bundle up as you’re fishing in the cold. However, this is not the case. Ice fishing can actually be a very dangerous activity and the cold weather can be just as much a threat as the ice. That’s why it’s very important to bundle up correctly and prepare for the worst. This will not only help you protect yourself from the cold, but also from the dangers of ice fishing. When choosing your ice fishing clothing, it’s best to go for a thick and warm material, as thinner fabrics will not keep you warm in freezing temperatures. You should also look for fabrics that are water-resistant or water-repellent. This will help protect you from the elements and keep you dry and warm as you fish on the ice.

Bestseller No. 1
Striker Men's Fishing-Jackets, Gray/Black, Large
  • STAY DRY: Equipped with Hydrapore technology and a 320D nylon tussor waterproof outer shell, this winter ice fishing jacket isn’t letting any water, snow, or sleet in. Just flip up the two point...
  • ULTIMATE WARMTH: Our insulated fishing jacket features a balanced 100g of Thermadex Insulation, and cross-flow ventilation to keep you from overheating. Experienced and active ice anglers know that...
  • ICE FISHING JACKET: Featuring large pockets with magnetic storm-flap closures, you’ll have plenty of space for all of your fishing accessories. Fitted with a Line Cutterz zipper pull, this jacket...
  • SUREFLOTE ASSISTANCE: Our Sureflote technology can keep an average person afloat for up to 2 hours. This technology has saved numerous lives by providing men, women, and kids with the safety they need...
  • HIGH-QUALITY OUTDOOR GEAR: Striker makes purpose-built, premium, reliable, and safe outdoor sporting accessories for men, women, and anyone who wants to fuel their passions—ice fishing, boating,...
Bestseller No. 2
Eskimo Scout™ Ice Fishing Pants, Men's, Forged Iron, 39440, Medium
  • UPLYFT BREATHABLE FLOTATION – Offers safety-enhancing flotation-assist, in a breathable form factor unique to Eskimo. Sweat and moisture are allowed to escape the fabric and move away from the skin,...
  • DURADRY FABRIC – Lightweight, tough, and durable polyester fabric. Windproof with DWR, and a 5k/5k Waterproof/Breathable rating.
  • TAPED SEAMS – Fully-taped seams for complete waterproof protection, shielding from wind, rain, snow, and ice.
  • INSULATED – 60gm of insulation for added warmth and comfort.
  • SIMPLE LENGTH ADJUSTMENT – A simple, 3 inch fold-up hem with hook-and-loop tape provides versatility to adjust the pant length to your preference.
Bestseller No. 3
DSG Outerwear Women's Avid Ice Fishing Jackets (Tan, Small)
  • The Avid Ice Fishing Jacket has a classic look with features to keep you very warm and dry on the ice!! DSG took years of knowledge from building snowmobile specific apparel and put it into an ice...
  • FLOTEX foam insulation combined with Primaloft insulation in the body and balance of the jacket and hood provide great heat retention. The soft micro fleece collar and chin guard create a cozy, warm...
  • The durable polyester shell with waterproof breathable coating and DWR treatment on the face of the fabric help keep you dry. 100% seal taped seams, a snap wind flap closure and an internal powder...
  • Underarm vent zippers, an adjustable removable hood, and wrist gaiters with thumb holes and adjustable hook and loop cuffs allow for a more custom fit. Roomy exterior pockets, a large interior mesh...
  • Designed for women by women; DSG Outerwear is committed to providing functional and fashionable sporting apparel for women who love the outdoors, in sizing from petite to plus.
Bestseller No. 4
Striker Men's Climate Durable Windproof Water-Resistant Outdoor Ice Fishing Bib with Sureflote Flotation Technology, Black, X-Large
  • HIGH-QUALITY OUTDOOR GEAR - Built to withstand extreme conditions and low temperatures, the Striker Climate Bib is a great addition to your outdoor apparel and winter gear; The Hydrapore material...
  • WELL-DESIGNED - Technical advantages of this ice fishing bib like magnetic storm flap closures, towels, and smart pockets, combined with flotation and the most insulation we offer in a bib, allow you...
  • SUREFLOTE FLOTATION TECHNOLOGY - Our unique Sureflote Flotation technology can keep an average person afloat for up to 2 hours; This technology has saved a number of lives over the years by providing...
  • THERMADEX INSULATION - The Striker Climate Bib is built with Thermadex technology that provides you with optimal warmth without all the extra bulk that comes with other insulating jackets; With 150 g...
  • WIDE RANGE OF USES - This Climate Bib is the perfect working man's accessory, but it can also be used during other activities where extreme weather could be a major factor, like skiing or hunting;...
Bestseller No. 5
Striker Ice Women's Fishing Cold Weather Waterproof Prism Bibs, Gray, Size 12
  • Light Weight 320D Tussor Shell and 150g Thermadex Insulation
  • Hydrapore 5000 W/B, 210T Interior Lining
  • Sureflote Flotation Assist
  • 1600D Snakeskin Knees
  • Warmth Rating: 9 (scale of 10)

Ice fishing nets

An ice fishing net can be a very useful tool to have on hand. Ice fishing nets are designed to help you bring your catch up from the frozen depths without having to break the ice. These come in many different forms and styles, with some being more suitable for particular fishing styles and terrains than others. There are a few things you should consider when choosing an ice fishing net. The first is the size of the net. This is particularly important if you’re planning to fish in a large group with a variety of people of different ages. You don’t want to end up with a net that is too small for the intended user! Another thing to consider is the material of the net. Ice fishing nets are available in a few different materials. You can choose between metal and plastic ice fishing nets.

Bestseller No. 1
Engel 7.5qt Live Bait Cooler Box with 2nd Gen 2-Speed Portable Aerator Pump. Fishing Bait Station and Minnow Bucket for Shrimp, Minnows, and Other Live Bait - ENGLBC7-N in White
  • Quality Injection Molded (PP Copolymer) & Insulated with High-Grade molded Polystyrene Foam
  • Airtight EVA Gasket Seal Recessed Ergonomic along with Carry Handles (ABS) & Integrated Shoulder Strap (PP)
  • 2-Speed Pump Maximizes Aeration and Battery Life
  • Remove the Pump and Hose and Easily Convert to Cooler
  • Includes all new pull net along with flexible silicone hose and weighted air stone for lively bubbling action
Bestseller No. 2
Clam 10473 Fish-Well Floating Livewell - 9", Black
  • Included Components: 7650 Fishing-Equipment
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 3 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 14.5 Inches
  • The Package Width Of The Product Is 4.5 Inches
Bestseller No. 3
4 Pack Ice Fishing Fish Well Fish Basket Portable Fishing Basket Fishing Net Live Bait Bucket Nylon Net Foldable Floating Fishing Basket for Live Fish Fishing Bucket Storage Cage
  • Enough for Daily Use: you will receive 4 pieces of fishing baskets, enough to meet your needs for storing fish in winter, making the fish healthy and active
  • Reliable Material: our mesh bag is made of nylon, which is a breathable and fast drying material, with wear resistance and durability, frost resistance, easy to clean, and suitable for long term use...
  • Convenient Operation: for fishermen and fishing enthusiasts who do not like cleaning fish in cold winter, fishnet bags are a good choice. It is easy to clean fish by pulling them in the water several...
  • Function and Purpose: the fish basket can be applicable in cold winter, and also can be placed in the ice fishing hole to keep the fish alive. It can float on kayaks or canoes in other seasons,...
  • Foldable and Portable: these live fish baskets are light in weight, compact in size, easy to fold and carry around, convenient for storing various kinds of fish, making it easier for you to fish in...
Bestseller No. 4
Engel 13 Quart Insulated Leak Proof Minnow and Live Bait Fishing Cooler with 2 Speed Aerator, Pull Net, and Stainless-Steel Latches, Green (2 Pack)
  • FEATURES: Engel live bait coolers are the ultimate portable and light weight coolers with a built-in aerator pump. It features a pull net which allows for easier access to bait, a 2- speed aerator...
  • AERATOR PUMP: The 2- speed aerator pump can plug into your car or boat's cigarette lighter using a 12V adapter to run the pump overnight and keep bait fresh for the next morning.
  • SIZE AND WEIGHT: This 13 quart Engel live bait cooler weighs 3.5 lbs and can fit up to 18 12oz cans. It has an external size of 15 x 10 x 11 inches (L x W x H) and an internal size of 12 x 7x 8.5...
  • LIVE BAIT COOLER DESIGN: Engel live bait coolers are designed with airtight EVA gasket seals, have all fittings secured with stainless steel screws, has water-resistant housing which protects the...
  • 5 YEAR WARRANTY: Engel guarantees complete satisfaction with their products. If there is anything wrong, we offer a 5 year/ 30 day pump warranty on our products
Bestseller No. 5
SAN LIKE Fishing Net Fish Landing Nets Rubber Coated Net Ice Fishing Collapsible Telescopic Pole Handle for Saltwater Freshwater Extending to 43inches(White)
  • 【DECENT SIZED NET】:SAN LIKE Fishing Net is the Landing net to have! Extended length 43".Folded length: 17".Loop size:17''.Net depth:12''.Catching Panfish,Crappie,Bass with this fishing net without...
  • 【FISH FRIENDLY NET】:Rubberized coating on net makes it nicely snag-proof,which is great for not getting tangled and for the longevity of it.And it’s better for the fish in catch and release...
  • 【FOLDS AND IS TELESCOPIC】:The folding net,It opens and closes pretty easily,perfect for light fish;The handle telescopes,easy to lock and release.And It folds up and won't take up too much room.
  • 【LIGHTWEIGHT BUT WIDELY USAGE】:The Telescopic Fishing net fits for all fishermen! Fiberglass pole is Lightweight but Sturdy Design,and with clip onto the fishing vest for convenience.Widely use...
  • 【SAN LIKE-WE DESERVE YOUR TRUST】:Dear customer,the product we offer is by testing again and again,but if you receive the goods make you unhappy,pls contact with us directly,SAN LIKE always try our...

Tips for safe ice fishing

– Be careful at the edge of the ice. The ice may look thick but there can be soft spots that you cannot see.

– Wear warm clothes and keep dry and warm. You don’t want to go into hypothermia as this can be fatal.

– Wear safety gear such as a life jacket and a helmet.

– Avoid driving on the ice. You never know how thick it might be and it can break at any moment.

– Don’t go alone. Always go with a buddy and let someone know where you are going.

– Take a first aid kit with you in case of an emergency.

– Stay away from gas-drilling rigs.

– Use a fish finder to locate your best fishing spots.

– Use an ice spud to test the thickness of the ice.

– Avoid going alone if you have no experience.

– Stay away from pressure ridges and cracks.

– Use an auger to test the thickness of the ice.

– Call for help if you get stuck in the ice.

– Remember to use caution and always be careful.

– Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.


If you’ve never tried ice fishing before, now is the perfect time to go! It’s the perfect activity to do with friends, family, and loved ones, to enjoy the last weeks of winter and the first weeks of spring. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before you set off and take all the right precautions and gear!

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