How to Use an Ice Auger for Hard-Water Fishing

An ice auger is a must-have piece of ice fishing gear for anyone looking to get serious about the sport. Ice augers easily cut through the ice. They create much smoother and cleaner holes than those made with a spud or chainsaw. Plus, you can use them on thick ice without straining your arms and shoulders. This makes ice augers the perfect tool for hard-water ice fishing, allowing you to quickly cut multiple holes into the ice and get to fishing faster. You can also use them to create larger ice holes for more effective ice fishing tactics such as tip-ups or jigging.

A photo of a man using an ice auger.

Learning how to use an ice auger for hard-water fishing takes little time, but they are relatively easy to use and maintain. There are also different types of ice augers, such as manual, electric, gas, and battery-powered augers, which offer different levels of power and convenience.

Tips for Using Power Augers for Hard-Water Fishing

When ice fishing on thick ice, power augers are your best option. They can cut through ice quickly and efficiently, with minimal physical effort. You can quickly drill multiple holes without overworking yourself—and that's key if you plan to spend a long day out on the ice.

  • Get yourself a quality ice auger to start, and ensure it's ready for the job. If it is battery-powered, make sure the battery is fully charged. Then, place the ice auger on the ice and lower it until it's just below its surface.
  • Start drilling slowly, applying firm pressure against the ice as you go. You will feel resistance as you drill—that's normal, which means the ice is thick enough to require more pressure. As ice build-up, take a break every few feet to clear them away and ensure that the ice auger's blades remain sharp.

Once you've reached your desired depth, begin pulling the ice auger back out of the hole while applying steady pressure until it's fully removed. Then, you can place your ice fishing line and get into serious ice fishing.

How To Use Manual Augers For Hard-Water Fishing

Manual ice augers are also a great option if you are fishing on thin ice. They require more physical effort than electric or gas-powered ice augers, but they're still quite efficient when drilling ice holes.

  • Stand firmly with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the ice auger firmly with both hands. Begin by driving the ice auger into the ice while twisting it clockwise or counterclockwise. As you go, use your feet to provide extra pressure and stability.
  • Once you've reached your desired depth, begin pulling the ice auger in the same twisting motion while applying steady pressure. This will help to ensure that the ice auger's blades remain sharp and that ice build-up is cleared away as you pull it up.

Always use a blade size appropriate for your quarry when ice fishing. If panfish and smallish trout, walleye, and pickerel are your quarries, you'll appreciate the easier use of a 6-inch blade over an 8-incher. Alternatively, if it's just panfish that you plan to ice fish for, then a 4-inch might do. In either case, these ice augers will make ice fishing on thick ice much easier and more efficient.

Share this