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Ice Fishing

If you're looking for ice fishing information you've come to the right place. You'll find lots of great ice fishing tips and techniques to help you catch more fish as well as gear and equipment recommendations to make your time ice fishing more enjoyable. Your first priority on the ice should be safety but catching fish is a really close second!

Ice Fishing Tips

How Big Is an Ice Fishing Hole? Your Questions Answered

We get a lot of questions here at USAngler, and for anglers new to the sport, that’s completely understandable.  If you’ve never been out on the water, or you’ve only been fishing with friends who did most of the heavy lifting, you may not know much beyond the basics - and there’s nothing wrong with […]

Ice Fishing at Night: Our Best Tips to Make the Most of Your Time on the Hard Water

Fishing at night can be incredibly productive, and that doesn’t change once the water hardens and the mercury plummets. But a successful night fishing through the ice takes some preparation and know-how, and it’s that extra bit of knowledge that separates an adventure in the dark from a freezing night spent on the ice with […]

Best Time to Ice Fish: Tilt the Odds in Your Favor!

Winter means that some aspects of fish behavior change dramatically. Some species, like largemouth bass, will cease actively hunting while they experience cold-induced torpor. But many predictable behaviors remain the same, and among them you can count peak feeding times. If you want to know the best time during the day to ice fish, we’re […]

Ice Fishing Lakes in Michigan: Best Locations for Hard-Water Excitement

Michigan’s waters promise great ice fishing every winter, and as enthusiasts across the state - and country - know, there are simply fantastic opportunities to catch walleye, pike, panfish, and rarer freshwater species like splake. Blessed with lots of great places to fish, we’ve culled all but the best, offering you a list of the […]

Best Ice Fishing Lakes in Minnesota: Top 10 Lakes in 2022

When the mercury drops and the ice hardens, anglers in Minnesota can feel their adrenaline start pumping. Home to more than 10,000 lakes, the state is blessed with world-class ice fishing nearly everywhere you turn. We had a hard time picking our top 10 destinations for winter , but our shortlist offers the most impressive […]

Ice Fishing for Bass: Our Best Tips for Pulling Largemouth through the Ice

Largemouth bass are America’s favorite game fish, and spring, summer, and fall, they’re the passion of legions of anglers from Minnesota to Texas, Florida to California. But in states where the winter brings ice and snow, as well as temperatures low enough to enable hard water fishing, largemouth bass drop off the radar for the […]

JawJacker Ice Fishing: Everything You Need to Know

Ice anglers look for every advantage they can get, but at the end of the day, what they’re really fishing for is fun. Tip-ups have proven themselves effective for a very long time, but they’re not great for catch-and-release fishing, nor are they much help when you get a big fish on your line. Enter […]

Best Ice Fishing Lakes in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to some of America’s most enthusiastic ice anglers, and it’s easy to see why. Excellent opportunities for hard-water fishing are plentiful nearly anywhere you turn, and winter in Wisconsin promises plenty of excitement. Seven locations really stand out as premier ice fishing spots, and if you’re looking for hard-water action, you won’t […]

Ice Shelter Flooring Options: Real-World Solutions for Aching Knees and Freezing Feet

Every ice angler knows just how hard the ice is, and kneeling down to work can be murder on your knees. Worse still, the cold that seeps into your bones through your feet can be just plain brutal. Unfortunately, the vast majority of ice fishing tents, including many of the very best options, don’t offer […]

How To Sharpen Ice Auger Blades at Home: Two Methods and Step-by-Step Instructions

A sharp blade is a safe blade, and that’s as true of ice augers as it is of knives and axes. A sharp auger blade will bite ice without requiring much force from you, and less downward pressure on the auger leads to less risk should it fail to bite and kick. And, of course, […]

Best Tips for Tip Ups: Catching More Fish Through the Ice

If there’s one thing all ice anglers can agree on, it’s that tip ups are an effective way to cover a lot of hard water no matter how cold the weather is. And if the thought of a lake packed with pike and walleye, but covered in ice and snow, gets your heart pounding, we […]

Ice Fishing Safety: Tips You Should Never Ignore

There’s a certain breed of angler who waits all year for the coming of winter, whose dreams are haunted by hard water, the steam of breath in the cold air, and numb fingers pulling big fish through the ice. These ice fishing fanatics know that cold weather brings hot fishing, and they’re already lubing their […]

Ice Fishing Perch: Tips and Techniques

The yellow perch, Perca flavescens, is a popular panfish to chase all year ‘round. Their natural curiosity and voracious appetite make them easy and fun to catch, contributing to their introduction beyond their naturally northern range. As a result, they can now be found as far south as Ohio and South Carolina. Perch behavior is […]

Ice Fishing for Bluegill and Sunfish: Tips and Techniques

There’s something about catching panfish on ultralight tackle that gets in your blood, and there’s no reason to end that excitement once winter’s grip takes hold. Bluegill and sunfish are among the most popular ice fishing targets. Plentiful, easy to entice into a bite, and simple to pull through a small hole in the ice, […]

Ice Fishing Walleye: Tips and Tricks

The walleye--Sander vitreus--is one of the most popular species ice anglers chase, but it’s also the least well-understood by fishermen and scientists alike. Exactly why and how walleye migrate is something of a mystery, though their attraction to spawning sites is obvious. But the key to catching these aggressive predators is to make the most […]

Ice Fishing Muskie: Tips and Techniques

Muskie, though known to be aggressive apex predators, are sometimes called the “fish of 10,000 casts.” And there’s some truth to this: they can be elusive trophies, though the heart-pounding excitement of landing one keeps die-hard fans coming back to the water, season after season. And as winter approaches, that excitement doesn’t dim like the […]

Ice Fishing Lake Trout: Tips and Tricks

Lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, are a salmonid cousin of both salmon and brook trout. Distinctive for their forked tail and silver-gray body, they’re actually a freshwater char, not a true trout at all. These large fish are as fun to catch as they are tasty to eat. But if you want to ice fish for […]

Ice Fishing Pike: Tips and Tricks

The northern pike, Esox lucius, is a common predator in freshwater lakes and rivers where ice fishing is popular. Armed with a mouthful of sharp, backward-facing teeth and a sleek olive green body sporting a white belly, the pike is the stuff of nightmares for other fish--and the fuel of dreams for many anglers. Massive, […]

Ice Fishing Gear and Equipment Checklist

This ice fishing gear and equipment checklist was put together so you won't forget anything important the next time you head out on the ice. Fishing License Fishing Rods & Reels (insure your line is in good shape) Tackle Box Tip-Ups Live Bait (minnows and/or grubs) Auger (and fresh gas) Heater (and fuel canisters) Sonar […]

Ice Fishing Crappie: Tips and Techniques

Crappie are predatory fish of the genus Pomoxis. Two species are recognized by science: P. annularis, commonly called the white crappie, and P. nigromaculatus, also known as the black crappie. Both species change colors throughout the season, and by pattern alone, they can be tough to tell apart. The surest way to tell the difference […]

Finding Fish Under the Ice: Our Best Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques

The real secret to catching more fish is knowledge! The more you know, the more fish you'll catch. These ice fishing tips and techniques are proven winners. Whether you're ice fishing for Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie, Perch or any other type of fish it's important to know as much as you can about the species you're after. You'll […]

Ice Fishing Gear Reviews

Best Live Bait for Ice Fishing: Minnows, Larvae, and Salmon Eggs

Whatever the season, live bait has distinct advantages when compared to lures and artificial options. That’s definitely one thing that doesn’t change after the water freezes over. There’s no question that lures and soft plastics can be effective, but at their best, they’re designed to mimic live bait options, and they lack the smell, taste, […]

Ice Fishing Sled Ideas: Modifications to Improve Space, Organization, and Security

Icemen are a special breed for whom even the best sleds just aren’t good enough.  From the need to keep their gear covered and secure to customized organization, they demand what they need and won't settle for anything less. And the good news is that they’re more than willing to share their fishing sled ideas, […]

Smitty Sled Plans: A Simple DIY Project to Improve Your Ice Fishing Sled

A Smitty sled is a clever modification of a standard plastic snow sled, adding skis to the bottom to reduce friction and make it easier to pull. Avid icemen already know that a heavily-loaded sled tends to sink into the snow, making it a real chore to pull by hand. If that sounds familiar, you […]

Ice Shelter Flooring Options: Real-World Solutions for Aching Knees and Freezing Feet

Every ice angler knows just how hard the ice is, and kneeling down to work can be murder on your knees. Worse still, the cold that seeps into your bones through your feet can be just plain brutal. Unfortunately, the vast majority of ice fishing tents, including many of the very best options, don’t offer […]

Best Ice Safety Picks for Fishing: Essential Equipment for Self-Rescue

Hard-water angling gets in your blood and stays there. For some anglers, watching leaves turn gold and copper as the days grow shorter doesn’t signal the end of the fishing season but rather the beginning, for whom freezing temperatures and blowing snow just mean good ice. If you’re a die-hard ice fisherman, or if you’re […]

Best Ice Fishing Sleds for 2022: Tough-as-Nails Options for Every Angler

Toting as many buckets as you can carry onto the ice is a chore no one looks forward to, and there’s no question that you just can’t bring all the gear you’d like this way. The solution is simple: a good ice fishing sled. The right sled can allow you to load your flasher, tip-ups, […]

Best Gas Powered Ice Auger - Buying Guide & Reviews For 2022

Gasoline-powered augers are old-school tech, surrendering ground to a new generation of battery-powered ice augers that provide hassle-free performance, no emissions, and no danger of spills. That doesn’t mean that gas augers are obsolete, but the reality is that there are fewer models and options available every year, with StrikeMaster dropping gas augers altogether. For […]

Best Drill Powered Ice Augers Reviewed In 2022

While gas-powered augers largely replaced their manual alternatives decades ago, they’re now dying a slow death due to improvements in battery tech.  Now, the right cordless drill can provide the torque and speed needed to spin an 8-inch auger, chewing dozens of holes in deep ice on a single charge. Lightweight, quiet, and emissions-free, this […]

The Best Ice Augers Drills: 2022 Review and Buying Guide

If you’re looking for a reliable, lightweight, quiet, and indoor-approved ice auger, one option that’s increasingly common is a convertible - or drill-driven - auger. If you’re not using a snow machine or ATV to drag a sled onto the ice, you know that every pound matters, and with the right drill, a convertible auger […]

Best Propane Ice Auger: Shredding Through The Ice In 2022

Propane augers promised to revolutionize ice fishing when they first appeared, threatening to dethrone gasoline as the fuel of choice. Much of that promise has been denied due to rapid improvements in battery tech, and electric and drill-driven augers are clearly the future of hard-water angling. That doesn’t make propane a bad choice, especially if […]

Best Hand Ice Augers: 2022 Reviews and Buying Guide

Maybe you’re just old-school, or perhaps your fishing hot spot only requires a few well-placed holes to produce. Maybe you’re on a tight budget or just looking for an ultra-light, ultra-dependable option for the hard water. As legions of anglers can attest, a hand auger makes sense for a variety of reasons, and the best […]

Best Electric Ice Augers for 2022: Reviews and Buying Guide

Experienced hard-water anglers know that ice fishing can be tough work, especially when you’re drilling hole after hole for your tip-ups. And the thicker the ice, the more powerful that auger needs to be to chew through to the water below again and again.  That kind of power used to be available exclusively in heavy […]

Best Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo for 2022

It wasn’t long ago that hard-water anglers had to make do with whatever they could find. Now, ice fishermen are spoiled for choices, and innovation is the watchword of the industry. Good ice rods are now plentiful, and for folks just getting into the sport - or looking to extend their fishing season - there […]

Best Ice Fishing Bucket For 2022

Hard-water anglers know that a good ice fishing bucket is a staple on the ice, and whether you use it to carry pop-ups, lunch and beverages, or fish home from the hole, they need to serve a number of purposes well. Of course, a simple paint bucket with a strong lid can get the job […]

Best Ice Fishing Chairs Reviewed: Hard-Water Comfort for 2022

Long days on the ice demand good equipment, and from the right bibs and boots, to a reliable heater, to a warm, dry shelter, you need gear that won’t let you down. And if you’ve spent hours watching a flasher, you know that comfort matters - a lot! That’s why the right chair can make […]

Ice Fishing Gear & Equipment - Are You Ready for the Hard Water?

If you’re getting ready for ice fishing, you’re not alone. We are too! And if you’re anything like us, you’re counting the days until the ice is thick enough to fish. Until then, preparation is key, and as any experienced angler can tell you, the right gear is essential to make the most of your […]

Best Ice Fishing Bibs Reviewed: Staying Warm and Dry on the Ice

Keeping warm and dry on the ice is essential. While an awesome shelter and heater can help, if you’re constantly fiddling with your tip-ups, fishing in the open, or taking a long snow-machine ride to the ice, you’ll need the best bibs you can find. Even just the repetitive kneeling that ice angling demands will […]

Best Ice Fishing Heaters Reviewed: Keeping Warm on the Ice

Fishing at the best of times offers plenty of challenges, and angling on the hard water adds a whole host of new frustrations. Frozen line, iced-over guides, and fingers too numb to tie a new jig on can spoil even the best of days--and if you’ve ever sat shivering over a ten-inch hole, you know […]

Best Ice Fishing Tip-Ups Reviewed: The Low-Down on Tip-Ups

For most winter anglers, tip-ups are essential gear. Whether you want to cover a lot of water, try multiple baits and depths, or just increase the odds of landing fish while you jig in the comfort of an ice shanty, well-designed tip-ups are a reliable, effective fishing tool. From monster pike to plate-sized panfish, a […]

Best Ice Fishing Flashers Reviewed: Stone Cold Fish Finders

Three brands dominate the ice fishing fish finder scene : Humminbird, MarCum, and Vexilar. And if you’ve spent much time on the ice, you already know these names. But there are new players and new approaches to watching fish approach your jig, and it’s important to know how they stack up against the tried-and-true. After […]

Best Soft Baits for Hard Water: Our Favorite Plastics for Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is at the forefront of innovation within the sport of angling, and while each new summer sees much the same gear on the water, the short days of winter witness new gear every year. On the hard water, for instance, the days of long rods are finished. Today you’ll see most ice anglers […]

Best Portable Ice Fishing Shelters: Cold Weather Protection for 2022 At Its Finest

When you're ice fishing the right clothing is essential, of course, but so is a good ice fishing tent. If you’re in the market for a portable ice fishing shelter, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorites as well as a complete buying guide to help you make the […]

Best Ice Fishing Lures: Our Favorite Jigs and some Tips and Tricks!

Jigging is the ultimate ice fishing technique, and as we wait for the water to harden, it’s time to revisit this tried and true method. While apparently no more complicated than dropping a lure through a hole in the ice and giving it a bit of a twitch, the difference between fishing and catching this […]

Best Ice Auger For Fishing: Which Auger is Hungriest for the Ice?

Drilling holes in the ice isn’t the fun part of fishing on hard water, and you want this job to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Whether you prefer the lightweight simplicity of a good hand auger, or the unrivaled power of gasoline, choosing the best ice fishing auger for this hard work is […]

Best Ice Fishing Gloves For 2022: Finding the Warmest Grip

One of the fastest ways to get forced off the ice is cold fingers. We can all sit through a snowstorm sipping from a mug in the shanty, but none of us last long with frozen fingers, do we? So, how do we keep our precious digits from icing over while maintaining enough dexterity to […]

Best Ice Fishing Boots: Warm, Dry, and Sure-Footed Boots Reviewed

The right gear is essential, as is knowing how to choose it. That’s as true for ice boots as it is for anything else, and excellent footwear can mean the difference between an exciting day pulling crappie or muskie through a hole and the misery of fighting cold feet and numb toes. To help you […]

Best Underwater Fishing Camera Reviewed - “Eyes-On” Angling

However awesome your flasher or fishfinder, there’s nothing like actually seeing the fish you’re after. And from species identification to indications of behavior, live video is an impressive tool to enhance your angling prowess. Indeed, plenty of hard-water anglers already know that “eyes-on” fishing will improve your success. But finding what you need isn't exactly […]

Best Ice Fishing Rods: Short Rods that are Long on Performance

Not all ice fishing rods are equal, and it can be hard to know which is the best for you. In fact, as ice fishing has grown more popular, we’ve witnessed a surge in quality options, but there are plenty of duds out there, too. Keep in mind that it’s important to match your rod […]

Best Inline and Spinning Ice Fishing Reels - Buying Guide and Reviews

If you’re ready to hit the hardwater, you’ll need the right rod and a good ice fishing reel. We’re here to help, and we know that it can be hard to get authoritative answers - backed by fact and experience - about exactly what works and what doesn’t. To cut through the confusion, we’ve reviewed […]

Best Ice Fishing Line: Landing your Limit on the Ice

To get the most from your tackle, line choice is critical. Unfortunately, this is a complicated subject, and it’s easy to find plenty of misinformation out there. Since the wrong choice can lead to frustration, missed strikes, and broken line, we’d like to help by offering a clear, fact-backed discussion of line basics, followed by […]

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