As with any spring, summer, or fall conditions outside, you want to ensure you have all the right gear for your fishing expedition, and of course, ice fishing is no exception to this. Now that fly-fishing season is over, it’s time to move into the colder part of the year, which isn’t a bad thing as this allows us to enjoy our favorite type of fishing, ice fishing! If you’re no stranger to this type of fishing, then you know how important it is to bring along the right gear. This means you need to pack something warm and get your ice fishing rods ready, don’t forget to bring along the right auger too if you plan on catching the most fish.
Ice is thick and dense, so the only easy way to get through it is to drill a perfect hole with an ice auger. As for any fisherman, having this equipment on hand is critical. Besides, if you’re traveling a long distance, you want to drill a hole with a reliable piece of gear that won’t give out quickly.
Luckily, you have many choices given the simplicity of equipment that is designed for drilling holes.
So how does one choose the right ice auger for ice fishing? Well… it all comes down to a few choices: blade size, automatic powered or hand-powered auger. In case of an automatic auger, other details come into play, such as horsepower and fuel type, but we’ll cover those later.
As you read below, you will get to know some of our favorite types of augers and even learn more about them, so you can find the right one that will work best for you.
However, before we jump into that, let’s talk about the features of both the hand auger and the automatic auger so you can decide which one is right for you.
How to Choose the Right Auger
When it comes to purchasing an auger, you must first decide if you want a manual auger or an automatic powered model. Depending on the number of holes you plan to drill, the speed at which you want to dig them, and how thick the ice is, you can easily determine the best one for you to buy.
Should you go with the Manual Ice Auger?
So, it probably sounds much easier to get a powered auger instead, right? Well… not exactly. Weight plays a factor in this decision because the hand auger weighs only a third of a powered one. If you’re going fishing in a remote location, the hand auger seems like a good choice. Also, if you’re going catching in the early season and not going to be drilling many holes, then the hand auger will do just fine and get the job done.
Another good reason to select the hand auger is if you are someone that only occasionally goes ice fishing. After all, there is no reason to splurge on an expensive power auger if you’re only going to go ice fishing just a couple of times every year.
Please be aware that if you’re going to be fishing large fish species and need a hole drilled that is at least 10”, then the hand auger isn’t going to work well. In these cases, a power auger would be the best choice.
Should you go with the Power Auger?
For many ice fishing enthusiasts, the power augers have replaced the hand augers completely. This is because power augers have become very reliable, and they are ideal if you plan to go ice fishing quite often during winter.
There are four types of powered augers: propane augers, electric augers, two-stroke, and four-stroke augers. Below we will cover each type in detail.
The propane-based auger has become very popular over the last few years. This is because it requires less maintenance, it is easier to clean and much quieter than the two-stroke or four-stroke engines. Propane-powered augers are also easy to start and have plenty of power.
Battery-powered augers (also known as electric augers) are quite convenient because of their new long-lasting and powerful lithium batteries. Thanks to their design, they are quiet and efficient. If you’re drilling through a wheel-house, then you won’t find another powered auger that is as clean and quiet as this one.
A two-stroke powered auger utilizes a type of engine that has been used as a power source for years. These engines run off a mixture of oil and gas and are reliable and powerful. These augers are fast and basically unbeatable compared to other models in terms of speed. They used to be the only practical choice available for those who needed a powered auger.
Although their speed is fast, newer designs featuring other technologies, such as the electric powered augers, have been released on the market, and consequently the two-stroke auger has been losing some of its appeal. In addition, two-stroke augers typically require more maintenance and are more difficult to start compared to other types of powered augers available.
A four-stroke auger typically require less maintenance than the two-stroke auger. Also, the four-stroke auger is much easier to operate than the classic two-stroke. The newer versions of the four-stroke models cut ice somewhat better than the two-stroke, and some can even run off propane, too. In fact, if you are considering purchasing a new four-stroke auger, you’d be glad to know that it can cut ice more precisely, leaving a cleaner hole. It is also very fast too and does not produce the same smoke that you would normally get from using a two-stroke auger. The downside? These machines are on the pricier side compared to other options on the market.
Different Auger Blade Types & Choices:
Ice augers can be purchased with a variety of blade sizes, with 8” and 10” blades being the most commonly used for ice cutting. Depending on the size of fish you’re catching, blade size will vary, so keep that in mind. A bigger hole is going to help you better execute your catch!
Ensuring your blades are kept well sharpened throughout the ice fishing season is very important. The number of holes you drill will determine how often the blade will need to be sharpened as well as eventually replaced.
You can replace or sharpen your blades either by using a sharpening jig or going to a professional to do it for you, which we recommend because it is usually cheaper. With that said, replacing the blades of an auger is not too difficult and if you wish to learn how to do it more than likely you can find that information in your owners manual or on an online resource.
Accessories for a Hand Held Ice Augers
The best accessory you could buy for your auger is an auger blade extension. After all, the last thing you’d want to happen while fishing on thicker ice is realize that the auger’s blades are not long enough to drill through the ice entirely.
Another accessory you might want to consider is a cover for the power head of your power auger. This is because colder weather causes plastics to become breakable, and having a cover will protect the crucial components and the exhaust from breaking.