What is the Best Size Hole for Ice Fishing? (Catch Many, Stay Safe)

The best size hole for ice fishing is 8 inches. The most common size is 6 inches. The size can vary between 4 – 12 inches for different size fish. For example:

  • Pike –  10 inch
  • Muskie – 10 inch
  • Crappie – 6 inch
  • Catfish – 12 inches
  • Bass – 8 inch
  • Perch – 6 inch
  • Lake trout – 10 inches
  • Bluegill – 6 inch


While getting out for ice fishing, it’ll be essential to estimate the proper hole size for your fishing exercise. The average size hole ranges from eight inches to ten inches. The ideal ice fishing hole size varies due to different factors such as the size of the fish, the thickness, and the type of the fish.

Note the larger the hole the more it becomes a safety issue.


Most ice fishing experts will argue that the appropriate fishing hole size is eight inches, but this largely depends on several factors. The size of the fish will significantly affect the size of the hole, where for the large fish species, you’ll need a large hole (ranging between ten and twelve inches). Whereas, if you have the small species you’ll need, you might need smaller hole sizes of up to six inches.


When considering the type of fish, it’ll be essential to choose large hole sizes for all the fighting fish species. The large hole sizes prevent the fish from rubbing the edges of the ice while fishing. The quality of the ice auger will also significantly affect the size of the hole, where you’ll need a large hole for a thicker ice auger. It’ll be essential to consider these factors before drilling the ice fishing hole to get the appropriate size for the fishing activity.


Ice fishing thickness guidelines

Most individuals easily access ice fishing services nowadays, unlike the past due to the continuous growth in ice fishing technology. You can purchase warm coats, heated fishing gloves, and ice shelters to help you battle with most elements while ice fishing. For each activity, the Minnesota laws provide guidelines for the ice fishing activity and the appropriate thickness. The thickness guidelines of each activity include:

● The thickness you require to head out to the lake on foot is usually 4 inches.


● For a quad or snowmobile, it’s 6 inches.


● For any small car, the appropriate size is usually twelve inches.


● For all the semi-trucks, the appropriate thickness is usually 24 inches.


When using the above guidelines for ice fishing sporting activities, it’s essential to understand the guidelines are usually for new ice. If the ice shows some signs of weakness, such as white and snowy, it’ll be good to double the figures as it indicates weaker ice. Before engaging in any ice fishing activity, it’ll be essential to consider the above thickness guidelines before getting your gears for the exercise.


Before walking on any ice, it’s usually good to check the thickness of the ice consistently, like after every 150ft. When you check for the thickness of the ice frequently, it guarantees that you’re moving on the correct ice thickness for your ice fishing activity. The accurate method to get the proper ice thickness measurement is to make a hole and measure the thickness. You can use ice arguer, drill, hatchet, and chisel to make these holes.


Clear vs. white ice strength

While checking for the thickness of the ice before you get to your favorite ice fishing, it’ll be necessary to consider its strength. All those wishing to participate in ice fishing should understand the two categories of ice strength (white and clear ice): white and clear ice. The clear ice is ideal for ice fishing because the ice formation occurs at a uniform rate despite the weather disturbances. The consistent formation free of any weather disturbance makes this ice strong and ideal for ice fishing.


Alternatively, the snow and slush create white ice, usually cloudy, opaque, or white. This ice is generally weaker than the clear ice due to the frequent disturbance of its formation by weather factors. It’s not an ideal ice fishing ice due to the multiple imperfections and seams, making it fail under load. Heavy snowfalls can also affect the quality of this ice negatively.