What is an Ice Fishing Auger?

Daniel Liden

An ice fishing auger may be used by a fisherman to drill a hole in the ice, as well as to remove the ice from the hole. Ice fishermen must make holes in the ice before they are able to catch the fish below, and augers have proven to be among the easiest ways to get through the ice. Other methods, such as chipping or hammering holes into the ice, tend to require much greater effort and to involve much greater risk of making large, possibly dangerous cracks in the ice. An ice fishing auger is essentially a large screw that is turned into and through the ice. After this, it is pulled out of the hole, taking the excess ice with it.

Drilling a hole in ice or removing ice from a hole can be done with a fishing augur.
Drilling a hole in ice or removing ice from a hole can be done with a fishing augur.

There are many different kinds of augers used for ice fishing, and they are available at widely varying prices. A hand auger is the most basic type of ice fishing auger. Hand augers consist of a handle affixed to a screw that is typically several feet long to penetrate thick ice. It can take considerable energy and time to drill a hole in the ice with a hand auger. A hand auger, however, is far lighter and more portable than a motorized ice fishing auger.

Using a hand auger to manually cut through ice many times over the course of a long day of fishing can quickly grow tiresome. This is especially true in the depths of winter, when the ice covering a lake can be several feet thick. Motorized, gas-powered augers solve this problem. They are able to quickly and easily cut clean holes in the ice, preventing exhaustion and allowing fishermen to drill more holes and stay out on the ice for more time. Motorized augers, though, are significantly heavier than hand augers and can be much more difficult to transport without motorized transportation.

A fisherman will consider other factors when choosing his ice fishing auger as well. One important consideration is the size of the hole to be drilled. Some augers drill holes as small as four inches (about 10 cm.) and are ideal for fishing for panfish. Other augers drill holes as large as ten inches (about 25 cm.), which are good for catching larger fish such as pike. Smaller holes tend to be easier to drill than larger holes. Many ice fishermen will drill several holes at a time so that they can have several lines in the water at any given time.

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