BlogJanuary 2015

An Ice Fishing Gear List

An Ice Fishing Gear List

By Tom Keer

Jan 21, 2015

The more we ice fish the more gear we collect.

The more we ice fish the more gear we collect. That’s one of the fun parts of fishing or of any sport for that matter. But we all have to get started somewhere, so here is a list of gear that is enough for a beginner through intermediate ice fisherman. The sky is always the limit, but let’s get started.

Tools of the Trade

Fishing Gear Two techniques work best to find fish: The first is to set up a series of tip ups with live bait. The more you set, the more you increase your opportunity to catch fish. Set them up in different spots, with different baits, or at a variety of depths to suit your targeted species and fishery. While you’re waiting for a flag to fly you can use a jigging rod to prospect in different areas. On a warm day you can move around a lot and on a cold day you can jig in the comfort of a lean-to or a fully blown shanty. Here’s some gear to pack:

  • Tip Ups, with reel lubrication, line, lines, and smooth operating trips.

  • Jigging rod, reel and line

  • A tackle box with jigs, lures, and spoons for jigging. Sinkers, swivels, line clippers, hook disgorgers, and needle nose plier are a good start. You can forget to pack the insect repellent…

  • A minnow bucket with live bait

  • Maps or charts that show the profile of your pond or lake

  • License, rules and regulations

Creature of Comfort

How to Get Around on the Ice Having a good time while ice fishing comes from removing the frustrations from the sport. A pair of ice cleats, warm, comfortable clothing, food and drink are a good start. Other options are:

  • Fish house, shanty, or a bucket to sit on. Standing all day isn’t fun, and if you skate pack, use a pair of Super Tacks.

  • Electronics: fish or depth finders with fresh or charged batteries and updated charts or maps point the way to the fish.

  • An Ice Augur: If yours is a cranked by hand, then just bring an extension shaft, a blade guard, a replacement blade and be sure to eat your Wheaties. If yours is a power machine then bring the likes along with fresh gas, oil and a charged battery.

  • Don’t forget the ice skimmer, it’s the little things in life that make all the difference.

  • For a meal that is tough to beat, bring out a propane stove with a skillet for an on-the-ice-fish fry. Pack it all in a sled and you’re good to go!

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at