How to Guide for Ice Fishing: Part II: November 14, 2023

Welcome back! If you missed last week, this is the second part of our ice fishing series! The Brainerd Lakes Area offers many year-round opportunities for fishing!

Transporting Fishing Gear

Once you’ve decided how and where you plan to target fish, it would be a good idea to look into how you plan to transport your fishing gear onto the ice. Walking through snow and slush with a bunch of gear can be overwhelming and beginning with basic “necessities” is important to eliminate unnecessary weight, unless you’re a beast and really want a challenge, then have at it. Some ideas include purchasing a sled to pull your fishing gear onto the frozen lake or a backpack-style rod case/tackle storage. When ice is thick enough, many people utilize snowmobiles or ATVs as well.

  • Basic: Striker Transporter Case or Ego Backpack
  • Advanced: Otter Sled (small or medium).

Drilling Fishing Holes

Next, we’ll discuss and consider how you’ll drill your fishing holes to get to those fish under the ice sheet. There are great assortments of hand augers, brushless drill/auger attachments, or electric augers to choose from. A good size for most fishing applications is an 8-inch diameter auger size. Choosing an auger size is mostly dependent upon the species you’ll likely target. Bigger fish (northern pike, lake trout, monster walleyes, sturgeon) need a 10-inch; walleyes, northern pike, and crappies need an 8-inch; crappies, sunfish, and perch need a 6-inch.

  • Basic: Hand auger (Strikemaster Nora) 8-inch
  • Advanced: Strikemaster 40v lithium auger 8-inch.


Footwear is a frequently discussed topic in the ice fishing world and recommendations vary based on several factors: waterproof, insulation, grip, quality and mobility. A good pair of ice fishing boots has all of these features to cover the wide variety of weather conditions and surfaces (glare ice, deep snow, slush).

  • Basic: Under 500g Thinsulate base waterproof winter boots
  • Advanced: Striker Ice 1200g Thinsulate boots and Striker Ice wool socks.

Gear tips are purely opinions, though they are based on experience, and often tend to lean toward individuals’ preferences; keep this in mind when searching for gear and having your own experiences on ice. We will have a few more gear tips next week, then get into early ice tactics for species the Brainerd Lakes Area and Mille Lacs Minnesota!

Remember to look into Ice Safety Tips by the MN DNR regarding checking ice for safe travel! If you’re wondering where and how to fish, tune in to Visit Brainerd for weekly fishing reports by Hawg Hunterz Guide Service LLC! As always, have fun, stay safe and Happy Hawg Hunting!!

Hawg Hunterz Guide Service