What You Need to Start Ice Fishing: A Beginners Guide

by John Wren
What You Need to Start Ice Fishing: A Beginners Guide

What You Need to Start Ice Fishing: A Beginners Guide

Image Source: FreeImages‍

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
QualyQualy Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo Complete Set Ice Fishing Gear with Backpack Seat Ice Cleats Ice Fishing Jigs Line Full Ice Fishing Kit
  • Complete Ice Fishing Combo: With an extra pair of ice cleats and a folding backpack chair, QualyQualy Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo provides you a perfect ice fishing kit, which will greatly improve your...
  • 2 Tip Sections Ice Fishing Rod: 2 different tip sections to meet most ice anglers’ needs for rod power, one is a Medium action and the other is a Medium Light action. High-grade carbon fiber pole is...
  • 5BB Spinning Reel: The front drag ice fishing reel is a size 900 5BB spinning reel, with slim body, extra strong system, smooth operation and sturdy built, ambidextrous hand orientation, push button...
  • 38pcs Ice Fishing Jigs: Great assortment of ice fishing lures of various sizes and colors can meet your different fishing conditions. Partial ice fishing jigs can glow in the dark to attract fish from...
  • Ideal Choice for Anglers: QualyQualy complete ice fishing rod and reel combo is also suitable for women, beginners and youth who love fishing. Carry on the ice fishing gear and enjoy happy fishing...
Bestseller No. 3
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. 4
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. 5
Low-Pro Ice Cleat (Large)
  • 26 Permanent Tungsten Carbide Studs for Max Durability
  • Patent Pending Dual Elasticity
  • Minimally exposed Studs for Transitional Traction
  • Max Elasticity in the Upper for Easy On/Off
  • Reduced Elasticity in Sole for Max Abrasion Resistance

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
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. 2
Eskimo S33Q8 Sting Ray 33cc with 8"Quantum Ice Auger Red
  • 33CC VIPER 2-CYCLE ENGINE: Cold-weather tested
  • QUANTUM AUGER: Ideal for re-drilling holes with its unique centering ring
  • PRECISION, STAINLESS STEEL BLADES: Blades last longer and hold their edge in dirty ice. Blade protector included to help further extend the life of your blades
  • STAINLESS CENTERING POINT: Keeps the auger stable on uneven ice, or when re-drilling old holes
  • ALL-METAL TRANSMISSION: Offers optimum gearing
Bestseller No. 3
StrikeMaster 290149 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. 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
Eskimo Women's Ice Fishing Jacket, Frost, X-Large
  • 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.
  • BOMBER STYLE JACKET – Cut for mobility, with sleeve gussets and a neoprene hybrid waist to keep the weather out and warmth in.
Bestseller No. 2
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. 3
Ice Fishing Definition Funny Ice Fisherman Gift Pullover Hoodie
  • this cool ice fishing definition design with a funny saying is the perfect gift for ice fishermen.
  • 8.5 oz, Classic fit, Twill-taped neck
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
TIDEWE Hunting Pants Heated for Men with Battery Pack, Water Resistant Rechargeable Heating Pants, Warm Heated Pants with Elastic Waist for Hiking Trekking Skiing Ice Fishing (Realtree Edge Camo, S)
  • 【Smart Temperature Control】 TIDEWE heated pants for hunting feature 3 adjustable heat settings (blue for low, white for medium and the red for high) with just a simple press of the button, you can...
  • 【Long Lasting Warmth】The TIDEWE winter hiking pants can be fully charged in about 5 hours, up to 10 working hours on the lowest setting, 5.5 working hours on medium, 3 working hours on high.
  • 【Water-resistant & Safe】 Water-resistant finish on the exterior fabric of our hunting heated pants helps drive water away and keeps you dry in light rain or snow. The fleece-padded design keeps...
  • 【User-friendly Design】Hunting cold weather pants are designed with adjustable leg openings and high quality YKK zipper to protect you from the cold and wind. The elastic waist design gives you a...
  • 【Easy to Maintain】TIDEWE hiking pants for men are made with high quality fabric. Our heating elements can endure more than 50 times machine washes. Please take out the battery pack before washing....

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
SAN LIKE 2pack Fishing Net Fish Landing Nets Ice Fishing Collapsible Telescopic Sturdy Pole Handle for Saltwater Freshwater Extending to 51inches (51inch-2pack)
  • 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. TWO PACK...
  • 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. 2
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. 3
PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Net Fish Landing Net, Trout Bass Net Soft Rubber Mesh Catch and Release Net (16" x 13" Hoop Size)
  • Hoop size:16" x 13", Extend Length: 28", Collapsed Length: 17", Net Depth: 10", Weight: 0.95 lb.
  • Rubber Mesh : Gentle on the Fish and Won't Tangle. Great to use for wading, stream, shore or fly fishing, kayaking, boating and more.
  • Foldable Fly Fishing Landing Net and Ultra Light Weight : Portable Storage and Easy Carry. The special designed belt clip has the advantage of convenience in carrying and transportation.
  • Convenient Magnetic:With our sturdy carabiner , you can easily clip our magnetic release to your vest or pack. Never lose your net or other gear in water.
  • It's the best gift to send father, husband, fiancé, boyfriend for the upcoming Father's Day.
Bestseller No. 4
RESTCLOUD Fishing Landing Net with Telescoping Pole Fishing Net Freshwater Fishing Net for Pond, Handle Full Extended to 50 Inches
  • Fishing landing net is made of sturdy netting and Aluminum handle; ensure long term performance and reliable use. Suitable catch small fish in salt water and fresh water!
  • The telescopic handle extends from 18" to 36", total handle with hoop expend to 50 inches, allows for the extra reach needed to get to your catch, great for kids and adults.
  • Lightweight soft mesh will not damage fish, making it a perfect tool for both beginner and advanced fishermen to use for catch and release.
  • Fishing net with handle is foldable and retractable, easy fit into a storage or rod locker.
  • A flip of the handle opens and locks the net into place.
Bestseller No. 5
RESTCLOUD Bait Net and Fishing Landing Net with Telescoping Pole Handle Extends to 59 inches (Green)
  • Bait net is made of sturdy nanomix netting and a corrosion resistant stainless steel handle to ensure long term performance and reliable use. Great for use fishing in salt water and fresh water!
  • 13" net ring for collection, 11" net depth for preventing escape. Perfect tool for both kids and adults to use for catch and release.
  • The lightweight telescopic handle from 15" to 59". Ideal for landing the fishes in the fish tank, pond, lake or ocean. It is good for small fish, leaf, insect and small baby chicken.
  • Soft and durable net won't harm the scales on fish. 1/14" mesh hole is fine enough for small bait fish and minnows. Also strong enough to handle a full-sized catch as well.
  • Fold-A-Way design Telescopic Handle Net fishing netting for convenient storage and transport, easy fit into a storage or rod locker. Quick assembly and removal. Twist to left to release, twist to...

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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