Fishing & Hunting Tips

Ice fishing gear checklist – Beginners Ice fishing 101

If you’re thinking that Ice fishing is insanely expensive, then lemme tell you, folks- you’re absolutely wrong! With only 75$ you can start Ice fishing cause I did it back then when I was at my grad school.

To me, Ice fishing is one of the most thrilling activities on planet earth! When the fish under thick ice hit’s the hook that will give you a breathtaking sensation. But for this amazing experience, you only need some basic gears in your list.

Here in this blog, I’m going to tell you about all the gears you need to start ice fishing. So let’s get started! And yeah, feel free to check out our latest article on Best Ice Fishing Rod for Panfish.

Your ice fishing gear checklist


  1. Winter wear/ warm clothing for ice fishing
  2. Ice fishing boots
  3. Ice fishing rod and reel
  4. Lines and a plier
  5. Ice fishing Jigs/lures and baits with a small tackle box
  6. Ice auger
  7. Ice skimmer/ ice fishing scoops
  8. Ice picks (for safety)
  9. Life vest
  10. A bucket


  1. Ice fishing tip-ups
  2. Fish Finder
  3. Rod cases and holder
  4. Ice fishing sled
  5. A tent

So basically that’s all about Ice fishing gears. You’re gonna need all the essentials for ice fishing and the additional gears are for some extra fun if you want to make your ice fishing trip more thrilling. Let’s discuss a bit more details about the essential and additional ice fishing gears.

Ice fishing gear checklist

Ice fishing 101

  • Winter wear: being in the freezing cold, it’s the most important part to cover yourself with proper warm clothes. This should be your first line of defense against shivering cold.
  • Ice fishing boots: since ice is slippery and you can hurt yourself falling into ice by losing the grip and balance, ice fishing boots are really crucial. Ice got slicker when there’s no snow on the top of it and when there’s heavy wind. Now, this is often overlooked and had to pay the price brutally!
    If you have a normal boot, at least use ice cleats for the boots. Trust me, in those silky ice, it’s really wise to have some spikes on your boot.
  • Ice fishing rod and reel: with a single rod and reel, you can rock the whole day. As a novice angler, it’s actually wise to have a single rod and reel and once mastered goes for multiple types of equipment.For a beginner, we really recommend a 24-inch Ultra-light rod with a spinning reel. You can do possibly anything with this simple setup, that’s the Mr. versatile! These will be great for unlimited pan fishing.If you want to spin some more money, you can get a 26-28 inch light rod which will land some bass, pike, walleye, etc.
  • Lines and pliers: you’re gonna need some lines and pliers. The basic theory is, you’re gonna need a fire line or braid if it’s a single barbed hook, and the smaller the bait is the lighter the rod. Get a 6-10 pound braided or fluorocarbon line.
  • Ice fishing lures/baits: life baits are always a great choice for ice fishing, you can use some minnows as live baits. Coming to the lures,
  • Ice auger: you just need an ice auger for ice fishing. There are tons of choice from cheap to expensive. You can go anywhere from manual to motorized. But lemme tell you, an affordable Manual ice auger will do the job done.
  • Ice skimmer/ scooper: you cut the ice nice and deep, now you must need an Ice skimmer or scooper which cost’s only a couple of bucks. This is a great handy tool you will need often cause ice tends to freeze again after some time and you have to scoop it several times.
  • Ice picks: this little gear is a lifesaver and you should carry it in your pocket while ice fishing! If you somehow get drawn into the ice, you can stab the ice and get yourself out of it. You can also carry some rope so if there’s your friend and anyone else, you can throw the rope so that someone pulls you out of icy water.
  • Life vest: if you can really find the weak spots and avoid them, you maybe don’t need this. But it’s always good to have a life vest cause you don’t know what’s going to happen next! Again folks, always keep your foot there where the ice is at least 2-3 inches thick.
  • A bucket: a bucket can be used for multi-purpose. It serves you like a box for your live baits or minnows, you can store your catch there and feel free to sit on top of the bucket.


  • Ice fishing Tip-ups: these are great toys to play, yup it’s a toy in my book! An ice fishing tip-ups basically catch fishes, you just cut a hole with the augur and set the tip-ups there. There’s a flag and when the fish bites the flag rises so you can rush there and land the fish. Works more like a trap. Awesome fun things to have!
  • Fishfinder: fish finders are not suitable for a budget ice-fishing trip, also as a beginner, you don’t have to bothered with this cool gadget. But once you’re experienced, a fish finder will let you know where the fish is.
  • Ice fishing sled: if you want to spend more money on some better experience, then you can go for an ice fishing sled. Nothing crucial, but then again you can have em.
  • A tent: wanna stay long? You need a tent then. Also, perform some catch and cook with your friends, quite a moment that is!


Wrap up

Maybe going to an ice fishing trip is a lot of fun, but that doesn’t eliminate the risk! Yup folks, with fun ice fishing can be dangerous too at the same time. You always have to watch your step while on to the ice! Going out there with a couple of friends is a wise decision. Must follow all the safety precautions. And never, never ever step in ice which is less thick than 2 inches.

If it’s 2 inches, wait for 2 more nights, it will get thicker like 4 inches and then go to the ice fishing. Safety comes first! Hope this blog helps getting started! Happy fishing in the ice, folks!

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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