Wondering how to choose the right ice fishing hole size for your needs? We’ve got you covered! Ice fishing offers a one-of-a-kind experience for anyone, especially beginners. This type of angling seems simple enough until you get to the practical complexities of it.
One of the complexities being, how to choose the right ice fishing hole size? The size of your fishing hole is just as important as the right bait and the best time to angle.
Needless to say, ice fishing requires a lot of planning to get the best experience and here we cover one of the most important steps, choosing the right hole size.
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Picking the Right Ice Fishing Hole Size
Ice fishing has its fair share of hassles; from when is the best time to ice fish to how to choose the right ice fishing hole size, it can all be a bit intimidating.
To help you choose the right ice fishing hole size, here are some factors you need to beware of. These factors will assist you in making the right choice.
What Species of Fish Are You Planning to Catch?
The species of fish in the area play a big role when it comes to determining the hole size. The larger the species, the wider the hole has to be to offer more control over the catch.
Be sure to research the fish population before your expedition and make sure you take your ice fishing suit with you.
How Thick is the Ice Sheet?
The thickness of ice varies in a very irregular pattern.
Even spots 6 feet away from your current position could vary in thickness. With thicker ice, you’ll have to change your equipment accordingly.
While wider holes allow you to take the fish out and control them easily, they can be a source of suspicion due to their not so discreet size. On the other hand, narrower holes will make it difficult to properly angle the fish.
Keeping all these factors in mind, here’s an approximate guide for you to base your hole size on.
Check the ice thickness on your specific spot, then if your ice thickness is:
- 4 to 6 inches: your hole diameter should be 6 to 8 inches
- 6 to 18 inches: the hole diameter should be 7 to 10 inches
- 18 to 24 inches: the diameter should be 8 to 12 inches
- Over 24 inches: the hole diameter should be between 9 to 12 inches
Which Auger to Use?
Ice is challenging to drill through and even sharp augers can leave you feeling tired afterward.
Augers come in different kinds based on the power they use. You can find electric, gas, and even hand-powered augers on the market, each with their benefits.
Generally, 8-inch augers work best in all of the above-mentioned situations. However, if the area’s ice thickness is over 18 inches, we recommended investing in more heavy-duty augers.
Your Fishing Style
Every angler has their preferred style of fishing and your style affects the hole size as well.
If you’re fond of the jigging method, a narrower hole size would work fine whereas if you prefer using live minnow, the larger the hole the better the chance of you capturing the fish.
Additionally, if you prefer using tip-ups, your hole size is directly proportional to the tip-up you’re using.
Period of Ice Fishing
Ice fishing can be a tough sport and setting aside dedicated time is necessary for it.
You need to factor in the thickness of ice, the number of holes, and the time of angling all together and set aside the period in which you’ll be ice fishing.
Drilling holes can take a while hence factoring in the number and thickness will largely determine the preliminary fishing time. The time you spend while making the catch is then dependent on the area and fish population.
More on Ice Fishing Holes
While choosing the right hole size for your ice fishing venture bears great importance, certain other factors will affect your catch rate and the experience of ice fishing overall.
Here are some factors that you need to be mindful of when it comes to ice fishing holes.
Shrinkage of Holes
Something that most anglers overlook is the fact that the holes will begin to freeze as time passes.
The bigger the hole, the longer it will take but it’s necessary to keep this in mind so it doesn’t affect your catch rate.
How Many Holes to Drill?
The number of holes within the location depends on the topography of the area and how much you’re willing to work the auger.
The whole process of ice fishing is brimmed with uncertainty so you will be drilling one hole after the other in your determined area to find a good catch.
Hazards of Big Ice Holes
While there’s no limit to the size of the hole you’re cutting out, it’s important to put safety first. With larger holes comes the risk of the angler falling in and giving way to multiple accidents.
Additionally, larger holes take more time to shrink and close up which could prove to be a hazard for anyone without ice fishing gloves near the area.
It’s recommended to not make holes larger than 1 foot to avoid all these hazards.
How to Not Scare the Fish Away
It’s always best to set your holes up strategically to maximize your catch rate. The fish might get scared away if your hole is allowing more light than usual or if your holes are too close together.
One trick most anglers use is to throw in chunks and shards of ice to block out the excessive light.
Additionally, map out your holes to be at least 8 to 10 feet away from each other to not raise suspicions and scare the catch away.
If you keep the focus on the geographical factors and your safety measures are right, we’re sure you’ll have a great ice fishing experience.
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