Ice Fishing For Carp – Quick Guide, FAQs & My Personal Advice

Is ice fishing for carp worth your time?

It depends on your individual willingness to battle cold temperatures and do some physical labor just to begin the fishing experience.

I’m going to throw this out there nice and early in the blog so that everyone is clear what we are covering here. I have only gone ice fishing for carp a total of 3 times!

Yes, 3.

My point I’m trying to make, is I’m clearly not an expert on this topic.

My Failures When I Started Ice Fishing For Carp

The problem I had and the reason I had to write this blog is because of the massive failure I had the first two times I tried ice fishing for carp.

I literally wasted about 12 hours 2 days in a row. Mainly because I had no idea how to use a hand auger at the time either.

That took all of about 5 minutes to figure out compared to the rest of the struggles.

Why Can’t I find any Information about Ice Fishing for Carp?

So, what did I do? What any normal human being in 2024 does. I went home and googled how the hell to catch carp ice fishing.

I found really nothing relevant on the topic. Some forums discussions, some YouTube videos of people successfully catching carp.

Yes, google it right now, people carp fishing through the ice are having success. The problem is, none of them really explain what to do or how to do it.

I naturally was upset like anyone would be after not finding an answer on google. I mean it’s google.

It has an answer for everything.

Considering my new-found love for carp angling over the last 5 years or so I decided, even if I don’t know much about it, I’m at least going to share what I do know and help someone out along the way.

I honestly don’t even have a clue if anyone will ever find this blog post, but if you do…

I hope it helps at least a little.

I apologize in advance for not having every trick of trade up front and will be updating this extensively after this winters’ efforts.

Let’s cover some of the basics first.

The Evolution of Technology And Ice Fishing Gear

In case some of you were not aware, ice fishing is simply the process of fishing through any body of water through a hole or open area in the ice.

The game of ice fishing has changed dramatically. It wasn’t too long ago, you had one shot at a decent spot and you would literally just sit there all day and hope the fish gods would allow you to catch a fish for your hard efforts.

Well, those days are over. Technology has advanced. God bless technology by the way.

Now you can move and pivot locations with ease if you have the correct equipment.

Disclaimer: Another reason I wrote this blog was that I knew I could use these new tactics to try new spots if need be once out fishing.

Simply meaning. I now know my game will dramatically improve this 2024 winter and I will have more success.

Back to the story.

I have caught plenty of carp in winter before. Hell, I even wrote a blog about what baits work the best for carp in the winter that you can check out.

My point is, I know how to catch carp. Just not through ice apparently.

In my mind I was thinking if I can do it without the ice in the same conditions, why not try the ice as well?

I don’t really see what was wrong with the logic.

If I can make the holes in the ice and do my typically stalking and scouting methods, how hard it could be? I was sadly mistaken. At least so far in my journey.

We will get to that soon.

Let’s first make sure we are safe out there.

Is Ice Fishing For Carp Dangerous?

The answer is, yes. It surely can be. It doesn’t need to be, however. With the ability to scout and research before heading onto a frozen body of water, there’s no reason people shouldn’t be preparing and checking safety issues beforehand.

The most significant danger ice fishing presents is obvious. The ice-breaking while your standing smack in the middle of it.

You also run the risk of frostbite, but this can be avoided with some simple common sense. Dress accordingly and spend a few bucks on some proper gear before hitting the frozen tundra.

We All Need To Adapt

Point being, you now have everything from underwater cameras, to sonar technology, and of course the lazy man auger method of creating your fishing holes and just about anything else you can think of to get the job done.

So what gives?

Technology And Gear Or Not

Carp fishing Through the Ice is Not Easy. It’s Damn Hard

I’m assuming you came to this post because you wanted to know how to catch carp ice fishing?

You and me both friends.

I’m going to do my best to provide you what I did learn, but if you thought clicking into my blog was bringing you the magical abilities to get it right your next time on the ice finally, I’m afraid I must send you packing but thanks for visiting.

What I was able to learn was a few key things on my first few times trying this method.

First, It’s Frigid.

Don’t choose a windy day if it can be avoided. It’s terrible unless you have a proper hut ready to go.

Secondly, It’s a ton of fun as well. It’s a different feeling of a fishing adventure. Suddenly, depending on your skill level, everything you know somewhat helps, but it’s also slightly tossed out the window.

It’s time to adapt. Don’t forget all the key components you already know about carp fishing. If you don’t know enough about carp fishing start with my other blog post, how to catch carp.

It reveals my top 9 tricks and tips of the trade. It will give you a solid foundation to get you started and catching carp on regular waters first.

And yes, before you ask. That blog post has some skills and plenty of catches backing it’s findings.

The Sweet Corn Still Wins When Ice Fishing

Well, it did on my third effort ice fishing for carp. I had finally caught a fish through the ice.

I was feeling damn good.

Many forums claimed that it couldn’t be done with corn! I beg to differ. It was none other than our carp invader (The Sweet Corn)

My initial thoughts and the reason I went with the corn was a few reasons. I didn’t have any other bait ready to go with because some of my gear was packed away for the winter, and secondly, I always have had good luck with corn.

If you need to know more about that, your free to read my entire blog post dedicated to praising corn as a carp bait here.

I also learned that some of the knowledge we have built up over the years of learning how to fish for carp still applies even in the winter and even on the ice.

Let’s go over some of those.

How to Catch Carp Ice Fishing

I suppose the title above this sentence should be labeled how to catch 1 carp ice fishing instead, but I’m not thinking this blog will be flooded with hundreds of people, so I’ll leave it for the time being.

If you do however ever come across this, you must make sure to leave a comment below and let us know how you’re doing with your ice fishing adventures so far and if you have had any luck reeling in any carp thus far into your journey.

Trust me, I’ll take some pointers on this hobby as well and hats off to you, if someone out there reading this, has mastered or learned this skill.

It took some dedication to get there, I’m sure of it.

Anyways, I digress. Back to how to catch 1 carp ice fishing.

Use the same thinking as traditional fishing for carp. I fished a pond the first 3 efforts I made at this.

The middle to about the middle 60% of the pond was useless.

I initially thought, they would be more profound or lethargic toward the bottom of the water.

Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t.

But they weren’t biting.

Back To The Weeds And Cover Spots

Again, maybe the carp had migrated near the bottom of the pond, but if they were there, they weren’t interested.

The one I have caught to date was near your typical carp habitat for being in a pond.

Right near a nice weeded area on the far east side of the pond.

I obviously didn’t bring a weed whacker with me to get right inside of the weeds, but I did get as close as possible.

Ice Fishing Carp Tips From The Man With 1 Catch Under His Belt!

I wasn’t even smart enough to bring a new and improved auger. I used a hand auger. My advice. SPEND the money. Get proper equipment if you’re going to make a run at this.

Me catching one carp should be enough to convince anyone it’s at least possible.

If I could have set up in that spot on the first trip and been ready to fish much faster, I don’t know if this blog would be here because I apparently started this blog due to the frustration of not much information existing on the subject on the worldwide web.

I promise you that the New Ice Fishing Gear Will Be Worth It. In Big Ways

I can tell you another tip I’m 100% certain of. I’m going to invest the money on the newer technology and underwater cameras/sonar. Sooner than later as well.

Ice fishing sparks my interest too much not to try it. If we know the baits they will bite on and can drill the hole and find them, how would this not work?

Any carp angler here who can honestly say they would prefer to take a break from fishing for a few months, probably shouldn’t be here in the first place.

I’m not looking for a break. I’m looking for 12 solid months of catching fish.

I’m willing to pay the price to make that happen as well.

Are you?

Let’s jump into some ice fishing gear to get you started.

Ice Fishing Gear For The Experienced or The Newbies

Let’s not get to hung up on what we are fishing for. It’s a blog post about carp.

We all understand that. It doesn’t matter if it’s grass carp, bighead carp, catfish or minnows, you still need some essentials before even trying to ice fish.

Here’s an infographic of the gear needed for ice fishing below.

Disclaimer- That took me way longer than it should have to create, so try not to bash it too much in the comments below.

I like fishing, not arts and crafts time on my blog.

Below the infographic, we will break down the ice fishing gear item by item and the importance of each item.

ice fishing for carp gear list infographic

Rods and Reels

Let’s cover the ice fishing rod’s first. When it comes to choosing a fishing rod, it always comes down to a straightforward question.

What are you fishing for?

The species of fish you are targeting makes all the difference for what fishing rod you should ultimately choose.

In our example, we are obviously going after carp which is a larger firm fighting fish.

This put me in between a rock and a hard place.

Should I pick a longer rod due to the fact it can handle more fight and head shaking or go shorter to have more ability to maneuver?

Tough questions

Here’s your answer.

Go with which makes you more comfortable.

I’ve always been accustomed to longer rods for fishing since I began my fishing journey with fishing for catfish primarily.

Either one will work. They will just have pros and cons that go with them.

Rod Handle

I’d stick with a cork rod handle due to temperatures alone.

They warm easy and give you maximum ability to feel the vibration and are very sensitive to any motion or bites.


Keep in mind that ice fishing is an up and down vertical sport.

It doesn’t need to be a mammoth of a real to get the job done and doesn’t require to be holding thousands of yards of line on it.

If your fishing for trout, you may want more line, but we aren’t fishing for trout.

Be sure to check out my list of the best ice fishing reels.


You ice fishing. Dress appropriately to be able to handle the elements.

A bare minimum would be headgear, hand and feet warmers, and layered clothing giving you the ability to dress downward through the day and not leave you freezing and ready to pack your bags.

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Ice Auger

So many options you can choose for this. If you have the money and plan on ice fishing more than one time, I highly recommend just spending the money and getting a higher end electric ice fishing auger. It will allow you to work many more areas of the water with ease.

Some lakes or waters you fish could easily reach 20 inches of ice depending on the weather. A hand auger can do just fine when the ice is up to about 10-14 inches but after that, you’re going to be very frustrated.

Don’t get me wrong here. If you plan on ice fishing a grand total of one time, don’t go too crazy on equipment and a gas powered auger isn’t necessary.

If you’re genuinely trying to launch this into a new hobby, I’d honestly recommend having both options in your bag of goodies.

Fish Finding Technology

I’m getting ready to splurge on this holiday season and can’t wait to see if I can strike on a Black Friday deal this year.

If you don’t mind spending the money, I’d highly recommend either sonar technology or an underwater camera/fish finder.

I don’t see how this could steer you wrong and will ultimately lead to more fish being landed by the end of the day.

Tackle Box

This is self-explanatory. You need something to carry your tackle and rigs in. Don’t leave home without it.


This is commonly forgotten by ice fishing anglers. I don’t know if it’s widely ignored to be honest, I just know I forgot my first time out so figured others have as well!

Don’t be the guy (me) who ends up having to sit on his own tackle box because he forgot some form of seating.

News flash. The ice will be cold if that ends up being your seat of choice.


This is 100% optional. You don’t have to spend the money on one, but again, if you plan on making this a hobby for the long term, you should consider building your inventory of proper gear.

It’s going to ultimately lead to you being more comfortable while ice fishing and make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Check out the best ice fishing shelters of 2024.

Is Ice Fishing For Carp Worth Going For?

Are you ready to take the plunge and try ice fishing for carp? Please don’t take me the wrong way from this blog post.

It’s a blast. It’s just challenging if you’re new to it. Be prepared to be a bit flustered and angry at the results are low the first few times out.

For those of you with more skill in the sport, I’m sure you would agree it wasn’t easy going the very first trip you hit the ice.

Having proper gear and the mental attitude is the biggest piece of advice that I could leave you with.

The second you get too uncomfortable or cold ice fishing you will pack it up. The more you can prepare for the elements, the better off you will ultimately be.

Use that bare minimum guide to ice fishing gear to get you kickstarted. Decide which bait of choice you prefer to try and just be patient.

Remember the fundamentals of carp fishing in general when attempting to ice fish for them.

Not as many changes as you would think except are taking place.

Sure, they become overly lazy and tougher to get stirred up but the old rules still apply.

Have any related ice fishing stories when targeting carp or any recent success doing so?

Make sure you leave a comment below if you do.

We would all love to hear about it.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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