How to Ice Fish

Follow these tips to keep safe when catching dinner out in the freezing cold.


Up next in Fishing for Beginners (11 videos)

New to the sport of fishing? Learn how to bait a hook; cast a fishing rod; make fishing lures; reel a fishing rod (including how to reel in a really big fish); fish a stream; fish for catfish; fish for trout; ice fish; and more in these Howcast videos.

You Will Need

  • Freezing cold weather
  • A fishing license
  • A towel
  • A bucket
  • Warm clothes
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • A float coat
  • Ice cleats
  • A spud bar
  • An auger
  • A scooper
  • A fishing pole with reel
  • Fishing line
  • A depth finder
  • A bobber
  • Hook
  • Bait
  • A lake with fish


  1. Step 1

    Contact the DNR

    Contact the appropriate state agency to buy a fishing license and check for any ice warnings.

  2. Step 2

    Research fishing spots

    Research popular fishing spots on the web or from people at local bait shops.

  3. Step 3

    Pack and dress for the weather

    Pack all your fishing essentials and a towel in a bucket. Wear warm clothes, boots, gloves, and a float coat.

  4. Dressing in multiple layers will keep you warmer.

  5. Step 4

    Walk with a spud bar

    Walk onto the ice wearing ice cleats and using a spud bar to spear the ice as you go.

  6. If the bar sticks in the ice, stop and back up slowly -- the ice is not secure.

  7. Step 5

    Drill a hole

    Drill a hole with an auger and scoop out the ice.

  8. Step 6

    Measure the line

    Let the line from the fishing pole loose into the water with a depth finder attached until it reaches the bottom of the lake. Reel the line up 2 to 3 feet and attach a bobber where the line hits the water

  9. Step 7

    Attach hook and bait

    Pull the line up and attach the hook and bait. Drop the line back into the water and you are now ice fishing.

  10. In 2006 in Wisconsin, ice anglers spent 11 million hours catching 14 million fish.