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Ice Fishing
Written by Scott Binnie   
Friday, 29 June 2007
Article Index
TFN Ice-Fishing Primer
The Rules
Equipment Basics
Cutting Through The Ice
Keeping the Hole Clear
Rods, Reels and Tip-ups
Lures and Baits
Locating Fish
Keeping Warm

Cutting Through the Ice

There are 5 basic methods of breaking the icy barrier between you and the fish. Unfortunately, the efficiency of each method is directly related to the cost.

Gas Powered Ice Augers.

These drills are very efficient, if noisy, but can cut a hole through a foot of ice in seconds. If your budget is not tight, one of these tools will make your days on the ice much more enjoyable and incredibly less strenuous, allowing you to save all that energy for bringing in all those fish.

Gas Powered Chain Saws.

You'll get a square hole, but you won't be restricted to the diameter of an auger bit. Many commercial ice-hut rental establishments use these to make holes large enough for six people to fish thro ugh.

Manual Ice Augers.

These can be cranked by one or two people to get through the ice. Although they require some labour, they cost well under $100, and are much more efficient than the last two tools discussed below.

Ice Chisels, or Spuds.

A spud is a long, steel pole with a chisel on one end and a strap or rope on the other, used for vertically chipping away ice. They are inexpensive at $15 to $40 dollars, but require a substantial exertion each time you want a new hole. However, they're easy to use, and if you go back to the same holes the next day, or use someone else's holes within a couple of days of them being opened, spuds are great for clearing 1-2 inches of ice.

An Axe.

Don't scoff at a 5lb axe to do the job. They're less wieldy and much cheaper than spuds, and can cut ice just as well. However, you have to be more careful to avoid taking the odd toe in your zealous attack on the water.

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