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
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. 2
DECOHS Adjustable Ice Fishing Skimmer Scoop-Winter Ice Fishing Scooper with Long Handle-Ice Fishing Gear for Scooping out Ice While Fishing
  • Creative 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 fishing.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 3
Dr.Fish 40-Pieces Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Ice Fishing Gear Pole Ice Fishing Spinning Reel Equipment Set Ice Fishing Backpack Chair Ice Jigs Lures Ice Fishing Accessories
  • Increase your chances for success on the ice this season with the Dr.Fish Ice Catcher 24" Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo Complete Kit with Backpack Seat.
  • 24” ice fishing rod features solid graphite blank provides superior sensitivity and comfortable handles ensure comfortable operation in freezing winter.Rod type: spinning
  • 5BB spinning reel with spare spool makes everything easier to bring crappie, pike and walleyes up on the ice.
  • Amazing assortment of ice fishing lures including balanced lure like jig rap, jigger shads, jig head and soft plastic worm. All in the most productive pattern.
  • Other key unit including two ice bomber, one backpack seat, one storage box. All are strictly selected to assist ice anglers to catch more walleyes, pikes and crappies on the ice.
Bestseller No. 4
Frabill Ice Hunter Bib | Heavy Duty Insulated Ice Fishing Bibs | X-Large
  • Frabill | Trusted By Anglers Since 1938
  • Heavy Duty 1200D Construction | 1200D fabric with double stitching ensures years of use in harsh conditions | 3M Thinsulate lining provides superior warmth and heat retention without additional bulk...
  • Safety Features | 3M Reflective materials provide visibility in low light conditions
  • All-Day Comfort | Pre-curved knees and padded seat provides mobility and all-day comfort no matter the weather
  • Reinforced Stitching | Rivets and double stitching in high wear areas ensure long time use and wear
Bestseller No. 5
KastKing PolarBlast Ice Fishing Gloves Convertible Mittens – Cold Weather Fishing Mittens and Fingerless Gloves with 3M Thinsulate – Winter Fishing Mittens– Ideal for Ice Fishing, Photography, Large
  • Key Features – Waterproof and windproof 4 layer construction – insulated mittens with 40 grams of 3M Thinsultate for warmth – 3M Thinsulate is considered “the warmest thin apparel...
  • WATERPROOF & WIND PROOF – KastKing PolarBlast mittens are constructed with 4 layers of material to keep your hands warm and dry. The stretch poly fleece outer shell is waterproof and windproof, a...
  • EASY TO MANAGE – KastKing PolarBlast mittens quickly convert from cold weather mittens to fingerless gloves. Built-in magnets hold the thumb and finger flaps out of the way for full finger movement...
  • ANTI-SLIP PALM – An extra layer of microfiber leather on the palm helps to extend the life of your mittens while the printed polymer pattern provides additional grip strength in any weather...
  • Prym1 Camo – “BE THE PREDATOR” with American born Prym1 Camo. KastKing is proud to partner with Stacie Walker a wildlife artist and founder of Prym1 Camo. Stay protected from the elements in...

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
XtremepowerUS 81092 V-Type 55CC 2 Stroke Gas Post Hole Digger W/Ice Auger Bit, Red/Black
  • Post hole diggers are made adaptable with most standard auger bits with shaft size of 3/4-inch; Easy-to-grip finger throttle and switch control on handlebar for enhanced user power and speed control...
  • Engine Type: Single Cylinder, Air-cooled Gasoline Engine; Engine Displacement: 55CC; Engine Cycles: 2 Cycle; Horsepower: 2.3
  • Steel Ice Augers come in 8"inch (diameter), to suit the best of all your boring needs. Our Ice Auger will get the job done for you! Auger that will let you catch fish on a whole new level!
  • Engineered with a manual recoil start easy fuel delivery system that allows for a quick-pull start action and the built-in translucent fuel tank lets you easily keep track of the proper fuel level
  • Package Include - 55CC Gas Powerhead Auger Digger Machine with 8" inch Auger Bit Kit
Bestseller No. 3
290149 StrikeMaster Mora Hand Auger-6 in. MD-6
  • 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. 4
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.
Bestseller No. 5
ION® Alpha, 8-Inch, Gen 3, 40V Lithium-ion, Electric Ice Auger, 59150
  • WEIGHS UNDER 20 LB – Maximized power and minimized weight, the ION Alpha is the lightest 40V series of augers in the world—as much as 40% lighter than the competition.
  • BEST-IN-CLASS CUTTING SPEED – Delivers an average cutting speed up to 3.4 IPS (inches per second) based on over 10,000 test holes in varying ice conditions.
  • BEST-IN-CLASS 40V PERFORMANCE – The Alpha Series offers the best power-to-weight ratio of any electric auger ever made.
  • TURBO HIGH-SPEED CUTTING SYSTEM – An aggressive new cutting system that smoothly and efficiently bores through the ice to open new holes, or re-drill old holes with minimal resistance.
  • UP TO 2000 INCHES PER CHARGE – Includes (1) 4Ah ION Gen 3 battery, powering the 8" Alpha through up to 2000 inches of ice per charge.

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
Frabill Ice Hunter Bib | Heavy Duty Insulated Ice Fishing Bibs | XX-Large
  • Frabill | Trusted By Anglers Since 1938
  • Heavy Duty 1200D Construction | 1200D fabric with double stitching ensures years of use in harsh conditions | 3M Thinsulate lining provides superior warmth and heat retention without additional bulk...
  • Safety Features | 3M Reflective materials provide visibility in low light conditions
  • All-Day Comfort | Pre-curved knees and padded seat provides mobility and all-day comfort no matter the weather
  • Reinforced Stitching | Rivets and double stitching in high wear areas ensure long time use and wear
Bestseller No. 2
WindRider Ice Fishing Suit | Insulated Bibs and Jacket | Flotation | Tons of Pockets | Adjustable Inseam | Reflective Piping | Waterproof Gear for Ice Fishing and Snowmobiling (Large)
  • Warmth and Comfort – Staying warm and comfortable is critical to having fun while on the ice. This is especially true if the fish aren’t biting. We use 3M thermal insulation to keep you warm. We...
  • Flotation – Falling through the ice is the biggest danger we face while ice fishing. There is NO reason to wear gear that doesn’t float. Going through the ice with regular gear on means you have...
  • Storage – Pockets are critical when ice fishing either with a popup or just out on the ice. We have large pockets on the thighs on the bibs. And a flap that allows you to go through the bibs into...
  • All in the Details – Being fishermen ourselves we recognize it is the small things that can make or break a day on the ice. Things like extra padding and reinforcement in the knees so when you kneel...
  • Minnesota Company – Based in Minnesota, WindRider started as a boat builder and expanded to outdoor gear. We only sell direct to the consumer, this means we can give you better gear at better...
Bestseller No. 3
DSG Outerwear Women's Avid Ice Fishing Drop-Seat Bib - Black | 2X-Large
  • The Avid Ice Fishing bib screams functionality while on the ice without sacrificing look and fit. This bib was designed to have a very functional drop seat making it very easy to take care of your...
  • The polyester shell and heavy-duty 840 Denier knee panels with waterproof, breathable coating and DWR treatment on the fabric will keep you dry while 100% seal taped seams, a snap wind flap closure...
  • FLOTEX layered foam combined with 170 grams of Primaloft insulation provide great heat retention. Reflective piping on legs provides greater night time visibility while on the ice. The micro-fiber...
  • An adjustable inseam from 32.5” to 28.5” combined with adjustable side waist tabs and suspenders and removable internal knee pads allow for a more custom fit. Roomy exterior pockets and two...
  • 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
SAITAG Balaclava Ski Mask Warm Face Mask for Cold Weather Winter Skiing Snowboarding Motorcycling Ice Fishing Men (Black)
  • SPECIAL DESIGN: Our balaclava designs movable in breathable face mask. This design is convenient that you can move the face part if you no need. But you don't worry the winter cold close to your head...
  • BREATHABLE SKI MASK: The mouth part and nose parts design with breathable mesh, and the face parts to design fleece fabric. The warm fleece warms your face, as the same time, the mesh not fogs up your...
  • PROTECT SKIN: Soft fleece material and breathable mesh, they are skin-friendly and keep warm, while antistatic and does not irritate the face skin. Our ski balaclava protects your face and neck skin...
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL BALACLAVA: The face mask for cold weather can be used as a balaclava, pirate hat, full & half face mask and neck warmer, perfect fits to different occasions. It will meet your need...
  • UNIVERSAL SIZE: Soft elastic fleece material that can cover your head, ears, neck and face and provide the ultimate warmth protection and comfort in winter. So one size can fit most head size and no...
Bestseller No. 5
Piscifun Ice Fishing Insulated Bibs, Floating Waterproof Fishing Bib, Veil Camo, S
  • 【Warm & Windproof】 Our Ice Fishing Bibs combine a unique windproof shell with a soft inner liner, filled with floatable material and 120g thermal insulation which could keep you warm in cold...
  • 【Safe Flotation Technology】 Our Professional Flotation Technology allows an adult to stay afloat in the event you may fall through the ice while fishing. The interior mesh hem design will also...
  • 【High-quality Waterproof Material】 The Ice Fishing bib is guaranteed water resistance due to DWR Coated Polyester and fully taped sealed seams. Piscifun’s unique fabric increases breathability...
  • 【Wear Resistant Protection Design】 Piscifun uses 1680D reinforced Oxford Fabric at the knees to improve double wear resistance; We also inserted a pair removable EVA guard plates to ensure you...
  • 【High Quality and Eye Catching】 The Piscifun Ice Fishing Bibs have precision stitching and sewing process and YKK two-way zippers,all the details are focused on ensuring our bibs are user...

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
Clam 10472 Fish-Well Floating Livewell - 7"
  • Included Components: 7650 Fishing-Equipment
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 3.5 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 12 Inches
  • The Package Width Of The Product Is 4 Inches
Bestseller No. 3
ICE SEA Foldable Fishing Net Landing Net Trap Cast Dip Cage for Fish Shrimp Minnow Crayfish Crab Size 37.40inch (10 Sides 20 Holes+1 Hole)
  • EASY TO USE: It setups up in one quick motion. You pull the string attached to the white tip and it's ready to use.
  • MULTI-FUNCTION: Its 360 degree design allows to catch a number of fish and crustaceans, including shrimp, crab, minnow, lobster, smelt and crawfish.
  • SPECIAL DESIGN: Bottom hole can help you remove the fishes quickly.
  • CONVENIENT TO CARRY: The fishing net cage is fold-able. It can folded into a small size light and portable.
  • PROTECTIVE DEVICE: When you open the fishing net, the red color ring can protect your finger.
Bestseller No. 4
SAN LIKE Fishing Net Fish Landing Nets Ice Fishing Collapsible Telescopic Sturdy Pole Handle for Saltwater Freshwater Extending to 36/43/71/98inches (49inch-Black)
  • PREMIUM FIBERGLASS METERAIL : Featured with High-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass pole which makes the fishing net solid and durable, ensure long term performance and reliable use.
  • DURABLE RUBBER COATED MESH : Waterproof and non-absorbent rubber coating is knotless to prevent fishhooks from getting tangled.Lightweight soft mesh will not damage fish. This fishing net can be...
  • TELESCOPIC FISH LANDING NET : Foldable design, retractable pole and ultralight framework ensures you can carry and keep this net with ease. Skid-resistant EVA handle help you catch fish safely and...
  • EASY TO OPERATE : Specially designed with rotary switch for easily locking and fastening.You can easily adjust the pole to a suitable length.
  • Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions for product of you buy. We will reply your email solve your problem within 24 hours.
Bestseller No. 5
ICE SEA Portable Folded Collapsible Fishing Net Fish Minnow Crawfish Crab Trap Lobster Shrimp Baits Cast Mesh Trap (7 Sides 6 Holes)
  • Collapsible crap trap, light and portable
  • Convenient and simple, you can fold it to a small size
  • Net with 360° design, help you catch more
  • 7 sides 6 holes unfolding size, length: 27.1inch; Height: 9.8inch. Folding size, length: 13.5inch; width: 9.8inch
  • Application: it can be used to catch crabs, fish, lobsters, shrimps, crawfish, crawdad, etc. Put the bait in the cage, then put the cage into the water

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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