Essential Women’s Ice Fishing Gear [7 Must-Haves, Plus Some Extras]
Nov 23rd 2022
Hard water will be forming across the country before long. Be prepared this winter with the following essential women’s ice fishing gear (plus some that are just nice to have), and some ice fishing clothing designed by women, for women, courtesy of DSG Outerwear.
While there are motorized augers, manual augers are both more budget-friendly and much more versatile - plus they can never break down. They’ll take a little more effort, but anything worth having takes work!
Gas augers and electric augers power through the ice more quickly and thoroughly than a manual auger. However, these types of augers are heavier and take up more space in the sled and require more maintenance. Gas augers require more maintenance and may need supplemental fuel throughout the fishing trip. Electric augers may need a battery swapped at some point, but the batteries are easier to carry on and off the ice than an extra gas can. One thing to keep in mind when using electric augers is to not expose the battery to the cold for too long. This means the auger should not rest on the ice with the battery side down and the extra battery should not be left in the open. Ideally, the batteries should be stored inside a heated shack while on the ice.
Auger size depends on the targeted fish. For instance, panfishing would require a 4 to 6 inch auger, but if there is a chance of a larger fish by-catch, for instance pike or bass, then the auger size should jump to 8 or 10 inches. The average auger size is 8 inches, and this should suffice for most ice anglers. One thing to keep in mind is the larger the auger, the more power will be required to cut through the ice.
No matter the type of auger, the auger won’t cut the ice properly if the blades aren’t sharp. Some augers have removable and replaceable blades, which makes maintaining sharpness a breeze. Other blades may need to be taken to a local shop for sharpening. There are also plenty of tools available for purchase to sharpen your own blades at home, but this comes at a risk of injury so proceed with caution. Additionally, all augers should have a blade cover on when not in use. This will protect the blades from the elements as well as prevent injury and clothing damage.
Based on this information, we recommend starting with an electric auger, if it's within your budget. Electric augers are typically the most expensive on the market, but they are worth the investment as they are lighter, require the least amount of maintenance, and have removable and replaceable blades.
Get a good pair of retractable ice picks that you can wear, not tuck away in a pocket and forget about. Some (such as those designed by Frabill) are designed to be worn inside your jacket and will remain at the base of the sleeve in case you ever need them. Others are designed to be worn around the neck.
In any case, they can save your life if you ever fall into the water.
When you drill through the ice, a bit of slurry will form at the surface of the water. This layer of slush complicates dropping your jigs and working them efficiently.
There are special ice scoops you can buy to keep your holes clear of slush. Simply lower them vertically, raise them, allow the water to drain through, and then discard the slurry.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to buy a designated ice scoop. You can improvise with a slotted steel kitchen spoon, too.
Even with aggressive lug soles, walking on slick ice can be fairly hazardous. Make sure you are at least prepared with a set of ice cleats. They can generally be easily attached to and removed from your boots and will give you a much better grip on the ice.
If you’re fishing in an ice hut or shelter, you can probably just bring a portable tent heater or propane stove into the shelter. But if you’re not, and you’re out on the open ice, hand warmers can vastly improve your comfort.
Consult our guide for staying warm on the ice for some additional helpful tips for keeping the cold at bay, one of which is keeping a few hand warmers close by. Sometimes, getting the warmth back to your extremities just takes a little help.
You’ll need to get all your ice fishing gear out on the ice and back home again, and a sled is tops for that.
Deeper, smaller sleds are perfect for this because it’s harder for them to spill your gear. If you already have a game sled that you use in the fall woods, you can repurpose it as an ice sled that will greatly facilitate your journey to your fishing holes.
The Be-All-End-All: A Five-Gallon Bucket
As boring as it sounds, a five-gallon bucket is just about the most versatile piece of ice fishing gear under the sun.
When it comes to storing all of your gear, bait, and tackle, a five-gallon bucket is perfect. They’re even typically big enough to hold ice fishing outfits.
Once you’re set up, a bucket can be used to contain your bait (if fishing with live or cut bait) and the lip can be used to arrange your pliers, disgorgers, and other tools while keeping them close at hand.
Or, once you get to your spot, you can invert an ice fishing bucket and use it as a seat. That way, you won’t need to carry a separate one.
Nice to Have: a Fish Finder
Fish finders are not an absolute necessity among ice fishing equipment, but they can help you locate fish, especially if you’re fishing on a body of water with which you’re not particularly familiar.
Knowing where all the holes and structure are is the best way to locate fish; having electronics that use sonar or cameras to find out where fish are actually hanging up is the next best thing.
Women’s Ice Fishing Gear: Clothing
Finally, it’s essential to be prepared with women’s ice fishing gear, designed by women, for women, that will keep you warm and dry.
Our collection contains ice fishing apparel specifically designed for lady ice anglers, including but not limited to jackets and bibs, base and mid layers, footwear and socks, gloves and mittens, headwear, and even accessories.
For a full breakdown of what you should be wearing on the ice, check out our “Dressing for Ice Fishing” guide or get in touch with us at Sales@DSGOuterwear.com.