Select Page

Article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

complete ice fishing gear guide

Photo via LaneG

Gearing up for ice fishing season is almost as fun as Christmas day. This time of year means there are new tools and gadgets to be tested in your favorite fishing spots.

While you are welcome to head out on to the ice with only your grandfather’s fishing rituals, today the most successful anglers use technology to their advantage.

As you’ll see below, having the right ice fishing gear can help you catch more fish and have more fun. Some of the most popular pices of equipment ice fishermen use include ice shanties, augers, flashers and tip-ups.

Shelter: Ice Shanty

If you’re shopping for a high-quality portable ice shelter there are several features to look for. These include windows for visibility while using tip-ups, construction quality and inside height.

While fishing on the ice you’ll need a shelter with a sturdy frame that can withstand high winds as well as a strong anchor system. Here are a few of the highest rated ice shelters to consider:

eskimo fatfish 949 insulated ice shelter arcticshield double layer ice fishing shelter clam bigfoot xl2000 popup ice shelter
Eskimo Fatfish 949 Insulated Ice Shelter ArcticShield Double Layer Ice Fishing Shelter with Floor Clam Bigfoot XL2000 Pop-Up Ice Shelter
94″x94″x80″ 72″x96″x84″ 90″x90″x80″
See Price See Price See Price

Ice Auger

Drilling a hole in the ice by hand isn’t as hard as it may seem, but there’s no shame in using power tools to get the job done faster. Whether you need a 4, 6 or 8 inch hole there are lots of augers to consider. Many of the fishermen we talked to said their hand auger can cuts holes in the ice faster than their buddies powered auger. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, below you’ll find a top rated auger to meet your needs.

Note: “Cutting an 8″ hole requires the removal of almost twice as much ice as a 6″ hole, so don’t buy an ice auger much bigger than you will need.” –Source

Hand Augers

strike master lazer hand ice auger eskimo hand ice auger strike master ice fishing mora hand auger
Strike Master Lazer Hand Auger Eskimo Hand Auger Strike Master Mora Hand Auger

Powered Augers

eskimo quantum 43cc power ice auger ion 40v max electric ice auger jiffy pro4 propane ice drill
Eskimo Quantum 43cc Power Ice Fishing Auger
ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger Jiffy PRO4 Propane Ice Drill

Flasher / Fish Finder

Don’t waste your time drilling holes in bad fishing spots. Instead use a flasher to instantly see where the fish are. Plus, a flasher can help you determine the depth of the water and the type of bottom surface you’ll be fishing. Once you start using a flasher, you’ll wonder how you ever caught fish without one.

humminbird ice 55 flasher deeper wireless sonar smart fish finder vexilar fl8se ice flasher
Humminbird ICE 55 Flasher Deeper Wireless Sonar Smart Fish Finder Vexilar FL-8SE Ice Flasher

Rods and Reels

The market for ice fishing rods is quite broad but we did our best to give you a few recommendations to get started. Whether you need a completely new set up or just a replacement reel, take a look at our top rated picks first:

Ice Fishing Rods

berkley lightning ice rod shakespeare ugly stik gx2 ice combo piscifun ultralight graphite ice fishing rod
Berkley Lightning Ice Rod Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Combo Piscifun Ultralight Graphite Ice Fishing Rod

Ice Fishing Reels

eagle claw inline ice reel frabill straight line 371 ice fishing reel celsius blizzard spinning reel
Eagle Claw In Line Ice Reel Frabill Straight Line 371 Ice Fishing Reel Celsius Blizzard Spinning Reel


ht polar thermal extreme tip up frabill pro thermal round tip up frabill blackhawk assault tip up
HT Polar Thermal Extreme Ice Fishing Tip-up Frabill Pro Thermal Round Tip-Up Frabill Blackhawk Assault Tip-Up

Ice Sled

When the ice isn’t thick enough to get your truck out on the lake, you’ll need a sled to pull your equipment out to the best fishing spots. Having a heavy duty utility ice sled will make it easy to haul your 50 pound shelter, ice auger, fishing poles and cooler without wasting all of your energy.

shappell 54 jet sled beavertail sport sled kl industries sport sled
Shappell 54 Jet Sled Beavertail Sport Sled KL Industries Sport Sled

Ice Skimmer, Picks and Storage

Keeping your hole from freezing over is a constant chore. An ice skimmer is an easy way to clear the fresh ice even in 20″ deep holes. Along with an ice skimmer, here are a few of our favorite accessories:

celsius chisel n dip ice scoop frabill ice safety kit mtm ice fishing rod box
Celsius Chisel-N-Dip Ice Scoop Frabill Ice Safety Kit MTM Ice Fishing Rod Box


Like any sport, you can ice fish with only the bare essentials and still have success. However, if you want to drill holes quickly, catch your limit and stay warm in the process, you’ll need a few tools.

Some of our recommended tools for both beginners and pros include a high quality ice shelter, auger, flasher and durable fishing tackle.

Note: Before you head out on to the ice, verify the thickness and conditions carefully.

Local ice fishing authorities such as the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation recommend only fishing on clear ice that is thicker than 4 inches when traveling by foot.

They also suggest that you should not drive a snowmobile or ATV onto the snow unless it is 5 inches thick. Finally, do not attempt to drive a medium-size truck onto the ice unless you can verify that it is thicker than 15 inches.

Last but not least, remember to have fun!