Ice fishing is a popular practice of fishing through a small opening in the ice on a frozen water body. While ice fishing is a means of food and survival for many living in the snowy regions, it is a common sport for many snowmobilers. However, ice fishing is not easy and there are many snowmobile ice fishing accessories that are required to do the job safely.
In this article, we will discuss all the equipment that you may need to make your ice fishing trip a fun, safe, and memorable adventure.
Ice Fishing Accessories for Snowmobilers
Ice fishing can be a boring, difficult, and tiresome experience if you do not have the right ice fishing accessories. Some of the common things that you will need on this trip include an ice auger and skimmer, ice rod or ice reel, ice picks, life vest, a 5-gallon bucket, heater, etc.
All the equipment that you need for a successful ice fishing trip are described below in a one by one fashion. Make sure that you have all the essentials before starting on your ice fishing journey.
Ice Fishing Clothing
The first and foremost thing you need to consider is your own body warmth. You will be literally spending your day on a frozen lake, which is going to be very cold and you definitely don’t want to freeze out there. Therefore, it is extremely important that you are properly dressed to enjoy ice fishing for a long time.
One of the best ice fishing clothing accessories is an ice fishing bib. An ice bib will not only keep you warm, dry, and insulated, but will also maintain the right body temperature allowing you to fish comfortably. However, make sure to check all the key factors of an ice bib like insulation, waterproofing, padding, pockets, etc. before finally buying one.
Apart from an ice bib, you can also use a dependable flotation suit for ice fishing to keep you warm and protected. Please remember that your ice fishing clothing should also contain an overall 3 layer make up. The first layer should be a moisture-wicking layer and should be snugly fit your body. Anything that is made of quick-dry fabrics like wool, synthetic, or a blend of both should do the job.
The second layer of your clothing should be insulating. This layer of clothing should insulate your body heat and should keep you warm. The ideal clothing materials for this layer are wool, fleece, and goose down. It is also recommended that you add multiple insulations so as to add or remove in order to regulate your body temperature.
The third and final layer of your ice fishing clothing should be the shell. This layer should protect you from the elemental damage like heavy winds and rains. Therefore, something that is waterproof and can also serve as a windbreaker should do the job.
Now, you also need something to keep your extremities warm. For your hands, you can use either mittens, which are a little difficult to fish with, or you can use ice fishing gloves, which are preferred by many as they are easily removable and keep you very warm. For your head and neck, the best thing you can get is a warm headwear that covers your entire head and neck.
When it comes to keeping your legs warm and steady, start with wearing moisture-wicking socks under your regular socks and then put on your boots. For boots, it is recommended that you get something that is waterproof and has a smooth surface. Finally, top those boots with a pair of ice cleats and you are good to go.
Best Ice Fishing Bibs are:
Striker Ice Fishing Cold Weather Insulated Bib
Frabill 2505031 Ice Fishing Safety Gear
Striker Ice SI HardWater Bibs
Once you have figure out your clothing, the next thing you need is an Ice Auger. An ice auger is your key to getting all the fish down the frozen lake. It is a tool that is used to create a circular or rectangular opening in the ice. The size of the opening generally depends on the type of fish sought.
There are basically two types of ice augers, a hand ice auger, and an electric ice auger. A hand ice auger is a beginner’s tool and is commonly used by those who have recently started ice fishing. A hand ice auger is very economical and is still a great way to get your fishing hole open.
Hand Ice Fishing Auger
Electric Ice Fishing Auger
On the other hand, an electric ice auger is usually used by more seasoned anglers and by those who want to spend more time fishing and less time preparing. This tool is battery powered and can easily get through 3 feet of ice, allowing you to start fishing very quickly.
For those who wish to use an electric auger, but aren’t yet ready to purchase one can make use of an Auger Kit Conversion Drill Plate. This auger conversion kit can turn a hand auger into an electric auger just using the power of a home electric drill.
Make sure to figure out what type of auger you will be comfortable with before starting your ice fishing journey to avoid problems later.
The 3 best ice fishing augers are given below:
ION X 29250 Electric 8-Inch Ice Auger
Eskimo Hand Auger
Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger
An ice skimmer, also known as an ice fishing scoop, is one of the most helpful accessories to have on an ice fishing journey. The main use of an ice skimmer is to remove ice shavings and snow from the fishing hole created. You can also use an ice skimmer while picking up live baits from your storage can or bucket.
A skimmer can be either metallic, made of aluminum or stainless steel, or plastic made with a woolen or foam handle. The metallic skimmers can cost more, while a plastic skimmer is fairly affordable.
However, plastic handles tend to crack on extremely frosty days and this may happen even with the expensive plastic handles. Moreover, a plastic skimmer may not be very effective in removing the ice that is stuck on the auger blades or in cleaning the hole covered with ice. Hence, it is considered best to equip yourself with a metallic scoop.
In any case, there are plenty of ice skimmer models available in the market. Make sure to check the skimmer thoroughly before finally adding it to your accessories.
Ice Fishing Rods
A fishing rod is usually a long flexible rod that is used by the fishermen to catch fish. An ice fishing rod, however, is a type of fishing rod that is 24 to 36 inches long and is specifically designed to catch fish through holes in frozen lakes and ponds.
All fishing rods have specifications based on their power, action, line weight, lure weight, and a number of pieces. Fishing rods are selected based on these specifications and on the type of fish species sought.
For instance, if you are out to catch panfish, then an Ultra-light rod is suitable, and if you are looking for a heavy fish, then an ultra-heavy rod can be used. Here, the ultra-light and ultra-heavy are the power specifications of the fishing rod.
So, when it comes to choosing the right ice fishing rod, the first things to be considered are the target species, rod power, and the application of the lure. Once you have narrowed down the choices based on these factors, then you can decide on the type of rod material, length, and construction.
In any case, a 28 inch long, medium-action rod is considered as a standard piece of ice fishing rod for most anglers. However, keep in mind your target species and your usage comfort before finally deciding on your perfect ice fishing rod.
Ice Fishing Reel
The ice fishing reels are a little different than your usual open water fishing reel setup. The reels that are used in ice fishing are generally small in size and somewhat variable. However, there are many factors that you need to consider before finally choosing an ice fishing reel.
The first thing you need to consider is the spool quality, which determines its longevity along with the type of fish you can catch with it. Good quality reels have spools made of high-grade aluminum, which is an ideal material for its construction.
The next thing to consider is the bearings of your reel. It is an important part and needs to be of good quality as the whole mechanism and functionality of the reel depends on it. A bearing made of stainless steel is considered as an ideal material for its construction as it guarantees longevity and will also prevent rusting.
The last thing to consider while buying an ice fishing reel is its handle or grip. The handle should ideally have an ergonomic design to provide comfort and convenience while using. It is also important to keep in mind the grip material as it should not make your hands sweat and cause problems during crucial moments.
In any case, there are plenty of ice reel models available in the market. Make sure to check thoroughly for its construction and quality as the reel plays an important role in getting the best fish from underneath.
The 3 best ice fishing reels are:
Pflueger MONICEB Monarch Ice Fishing Reel
Piscifun ICX 5 Ice Fishing Reel
Abu Garcia Ice MAX Spinning Fishing Reel
Ice Fishing Line
An ice fishing line is a lot different from your normal fishing line. This is mainly because fishing in a freezing environment can cause damage to your line in many unforeseen ways.
When selecting an ice fishing line, it is important to understand that the visibility of the line matters a lot as the lure is just sitting there. This allows the fish to take a good look at the lure before actually biting it. Therefore, the line visibility becomes an important factor when ice fishing.
Apart from this, the cold weather can affect your line in many strange ways. It is not necessary that a line that performs well in warm water can perform similarly in cold water. Moreover, the sharp edges of the fishing hole can also damage your line extensively. Weeds and rocks can damage your line too, but the edges of the fishing hole is a major concern.
Hence, there is no doubt that you will need a fishing line that can withstand the ice fishing challenges. In any case, there are plenty of good line options that you can choose from. For instance, Trilene Cold Weather, Trilene Micro Ice lines, Cold Weather Line, Micro Ice, and Fireline Micro Ice in Crystal Colour are some of the best ice fishing lines for the year 2020.
Best Ice Fishing Lines in 2020 are:
Sufix Ice Magic Fishing Line
KastKing SuperPower Braided Fishing Line
Berkley Trilene Micro Ice Fishing Line
Ice Fishing Lures and Bait
There is no way you can catch a fish with an empty hook, not in ice water and probably never in warm waters. Hence, lures and baits are an extremely important part of your fishing gear. The type of lures and baits you carry should depend on the type of fish you wish to catch.
For small ice fishing lures, you can add some jigs and flies, or you can try teardrop jigs in horizontal presentation, or banana jig with a vertical presentation. For live baits, you can try using wax worms, maggots, spikes, wigglers, or minnows. You can just drop your bait and leave it alone, or you can jig it slowly to catch the fish’s attention.
If you plan on catching big fishes, then a larger hook with larger live baits should be used. Large live baits can include minnows, smelt, salmon eggs, and spawn bags. If you plan on jigging with live baits, then spawn bags and salmon eggs are your best options.
If you are not too comfortable using the live baits, artificial baits work too. You can easily buy artificial lures and baits from your fishing stores. They come in a variety of shapes and colors and are usually made to resemble worms.
Best Ice Fishing Lures and Baits are:
Berkley Gulp! Maggot
Berkley Gulp! Earthworm
PLUSINNO Fishing Lures Baits
Tackle Box and Bucket
Snowmobiling is the best way to reach your ice fishing location, and your ATV might be able to take you many places, but moving on the ice making holes is something that you have to do on your own.
For easy movement on the ice with your ice fishing gear, it is better to carry a tackle box. You can use this tackle box to carry all your lures, hooks, weights, and other gear that you are carrying along.
You would want a tackle box that can lug easily since you probably will be moving around making new holes to catch better fish. So, a backpack type tackle box can easily free your hands and can allow you to move comfortably. Moreover, having a tackle box can greatly ease your job while packing up for the day.
Apart from a tackle box, it is recommended that you also carry a 5-gallon bucket to hold all your catch. This bucket can also serve as a seat while you wait on the fish to bite your lure. It is considered better to have a bucket with a lid. You can either use a homemade lid to cover the bucket or buy a new bucket with a lid on it.
Best Ice Fishing Tackle Boxes are:
Tackle Bag – Berkley
Rapala Utility Box
KEESHINE Waterproof Fishing Tackle Box
Ice fishing can be a very cold challenge. While many anglers can brave the frosty winds sitting on a bucket, many prefer a warm area to wait for their bite. Therefore, having an ice shelter, also known as an ice shanty or shack, will keep the frosty winds off your face and will allow you to stay on that ice longer.
Earlier, people use to build a wooden shack and leave it there for the entire season, as moving it continuously would be an impossible task. But that’s not the case now as there are many lightweight and portable ice shelter models available in the market. These shelters not only keep you warm but can also be easily folded and moved from hole to hole easily.
The new models have plenty of new features like being waterproof and can house up to 10 people. They have insulated floors and keep the insides warm. Some ice shelters also boast detachable ventilation windows and steel frames.
You can even mount your ice shelters on your Ski-Doo and carry it comfortably along with your fishing gear. Just make sure to get an ice shelter according to your needs and comfort to avoid health issues on the ice.
Best Ice Fishing Shelters are:
Eskimo FatFish Pop-up Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
Goplus Portable Ice Shelter
PEXMOR Ice Fishing Shelter
Ice Fishing Electronic Accessories
Modern ice fishing techniques make the sport simple and complete fun as compared to the harsh challenges that anglers used to face without the latest electronic accessories. From keeping the fishing hole open to detecting the type of fish underneath, these modern electronic accessories can help you on an ice fishing trip in many ways.
The most common electronic used for ice fishing nowadays is a GPS. Using the GPS, anglers can not only locate the active fish zones but also mark the area for other anglers to relay the information about the type of fish found in that region. The GPS also helps in locating frozen lakes and pounds and makes hunting fishes a lot easier.
You can also get yourself an electronic ice kit that uses sonar technology to precisely locate where the fish are. This way, anglers do not have to keep making holes as they now know precisely where the fish are located.
Other useful electronics include ice fishing heaters that keep your fishing hole open, underwater cameras that show you the fishes underneath, and attractors that help you in making effective lures and baits.
The best thing is that you can carry all these electronics on your snowmobile ice fishing rack or an attached cargo rack comfortably, without feeling heavy at all. With all these ice fishing electronic accessories nowadays, ice fishing is more of a fun sport than an extreme one.
Best Ice Fishing Electronics Kits are:
Garmin Striker 4 Ice Fishing Kit
Lowrance 000-14181-001 Ice Fishing Electronics
Garmin 010-12676-00 Portable Ice Fishing Kit
What is the Best Ice Fishing Rack?
Digger Ice Auger Mount For ATV, Snowmobile, UTV, Polaris Composite Rack
This is rated number 1 Ice auger rack, it is also an adjustable rack which is compatible with any UTV, ATV, and snowmobile.
It fits every type of ice augers too. High strength alloy aluminum is used in the construction of this rack that resists low temperature. The rack promises durable brackets which are also light in weight.
The fast and secure over-center shaft adjustable snap and go clamp securely holds any brand of the auger. The mount flatforms are scratch proof so you will have to worry about ugly scratches no more.
- It holds the auger right in place safe and secured.
- This is easy to install.
- The rack is very light in weight so it does not bog you down.
- This is a very sturdy rack that is rock solid.
- It perfectly fits all kinds of augers.
- The clamp has been reported to pop loose.
- It does not come with instructions.
- It might not fit a few brands of an auger.
How to Do Ice Fishing with your Snowmobile?
Both snowmobiling and ice fishing are two very fascinating sports that make to the list of favorites of those sports fanatics who hail from the snow-laden mountains and are enthusiastic about both these sports. Ice fishing is an evolved sport from a traditional more specified sport known as spearing.
Ice fishing is an angling activity during the winters. And with the help of a snowmobile, the angling activity gets even easier and most sought after as the snowmobiles allow anglers to just ride across the snow, pick any spot and cut a hole through the ice and just start fishing.
A snowmobile is not just a ride to take you around on snow-covered terrains but also complements a different sport like ice fishing. All that is needed is a snowmobile that needs to be rigged to upgrade it to be able to carry all your fishing tools and gears.
The alternative way of using a tag-along attached behind your sled is not as much help as it slows you down and your tools get beat up. A rigged snowmobile, on the other hand, helps you to travel in a much easier manner.
Strapping at least two buckets on to the back of your sled as every fisherman needs them is a clever way to carry some of your tools inside the buckets with the lids on so that the tools are secured; this also makes up for extra storage to carry every small item that one might need while going ice fishing. If you have the fortune of catching any while returning you can use one of the buckets to carry your equipment back while the rest to haul fish.
Tote the luggage
Setting up a tote or a cargo rack behind your sled on the footprints also help you with the storage. It makes up for extra storage unit for all the important items that one might require while snowmobiling and ice-fishing. The tote can be good dry storage that will keep all your equipment safe from harsh elements of the weather.
The most important step in rigging your snowmobile is mounting a GPS unit on it. The GPS unit helps in navigation and provides for calculated distance, direction, time, altitude, speed, ambient, engine temperature, maps, and position thoroughly calculated very accurately in real-time.
This saves you from worrying about every log and nock along the way while riding. Make sure to carry a GPS which has a very detailed map of the woods and the lake and must ensure you can go anywhere just like you would in a boat.
The next important step is to install an auger carrier to keep your auger safe and secure on your snowmobile. All you need to do to mount your auger is drop it into place and lift and lock the ‘jaws’ of the carrier closed. When you want to take your auger off the carrier, you need to release the pin for the jaws to spring open.
You can screw rod holders to the snowmobile to hold your rods. You can also DIY your rod holders with the help of PVC pipes and not just rods but you can also use the holders to put your helmet and other stuff when the snowmobile is parked.
Flasher depth finder
These are powerful tools for every ice fisherman or fisherwoman. Usually, a hole needs not to be drilled in the ice to see what’s below, the flasher can shoot right through it.
All you need to do is scrape away the snow and get down to the ice. The transducer needs to be set onto the ice, the unit needs to be turned on to the appropriate range, and a small amount of water needs to be poured onto the transducer. This forces out any air between the transducer and the ice, giving the angler the necessary contact to the water below.
Sometimes a healthy wad of spit also does the trick. If you do not have a clue about the depth of the water simply start shallow and switch to deeper ranges until you find the bottom. In case of water seeping away from the transducer, more water needs to be poured onto it.
Underneath your snowmobile, you can install ice-scratchers so that while riding on glare ice, the ice scratcher can sprinkle some ice shavings on your sliders so that they don’t get too heated up.
Snowmobile makes it easier for the rider to investigate a place before angling.
How to Choose Ice Fishing Rack for Snowmobile
The ice fishing rack for your snowmobile needs to sturdy enough to hold your auger in place and keep it secure.
A few things to consider while choosing a shaft are
The arms of the rack should be adjustable to move them apart or bring them closer to fit ice auger of any kind and style.
The rack should be made of heavy-duty steel and high-density polyethylene construction. The construction material is important because the life of your auger depends on the rack. The material should be immune to weather elements too.
The rack should be made to be compatible with any ATV, UTV and snowmobile bumpers so that there is no difficulty mounting it on any vehicle like Polaris, Artic cat or Ski-doo. The standard rack usually fits any brand of an auger. The brackets should be durable so as to last more than just one season.
Ice fishing is an extreme sport where fishermen go to a frozen lake or pound in extreme cold weather conditions and catch the fish underneath the ice by making a hole through the ice. The sport is considered dangerous and without proper preparations, it can cause severe health issues that can even be fatal sometimes.
However, with all the modern equipment available these days, ice fishing has become a rather fun sport to enjoy with your friends and family. Although, make sure to be thoroughly prepared for everything that you might face in the frozen environment.