If you know anything about the topic of ice fishing, you probably have an idea of how much gear and special equipment is needed for the trip. Knowing this information myself, I decided to do some research on how much it really costs to acquire this gear, as well as how cheap you can get it on the other hand.
How much does ice fishing gear cost? Depending on the quality of equipment you purchase for ice fishing, you can end up spending anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars.
In order to spend less on ice fishing gear, you will need to either go with the bare necessities or find discounts and clearance sales toward the end of the season.
If you are interested in going ice fishing, but have been stressing about the expenses that come with all of the special ice fishing gear that is required for the activity, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown on what you can expect to spend on these items and how you can find a great deal.
How Much Does Ice Fishing Gear Cost?
When it comes to ice fishing, a lot of beginners stress about the amount of money that goes into all of the necessary equipment.
To get a better idea of what you might need for your ice fishing trip and what each item will cost, read through the list below.
Common Ice Fishing Gear:
- Ice fishing rod $30
- Ice auger (manual) $50
- Ice auger (electric) $200
- Ice skimmer/scooper $20
- 5-gallon bucket $25
- Ice jigs (assorted) $30
- Ice picks $25
- Sled $25
- Snowmobile $2,000
- ATV $10,000
While the overall cost will vary depending on where you get each item and which items you choose to purchase for your trip, you could end up spending anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
For example, if you purchase all of the necessary equipment at full price in the absence of a snowmobile or ATV, you can expect an expense of about $400 or less.
However, if you spring for the snowmobile or very expensive ATV, it will likely bump you up to anywhere from $2,500 to a shocking $10,400 total.
With these prices in mind, the next question of how to save money on this equipment is certainly expected.
Since the ice fishing season only runs for a few months every year until all of the ice clears up, it could seem like purchasing all of this equipment could be a waste, especially if you will only be participating for one year.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cut down on costs and save money while shopping for ice fishing gear.
If the breakdown of costs in this section scared you, keep reading to get some valuable tips on how you can give your wallet a break.
Cutting Down on Costs For Ice Fishing Gear
The previous section outlined a list of the necessities that everyone needs for ice fishing, along with a payment breakdown for each item.
While it is true that these are the basic needs of every ice fisherman, it is possible to cut down on this list even further.
Shopping for ice fishing gear can get very expensive, especially when you feel like you need more than what you really do. In order to cut down on costs for your ice fishing gear, you can cross out a few things on your list and go with this one instead.
Ice Fishing Gear – Absolute Bare Necessities:
Contrary to the listing the above section, you could end up spending an average of about $200 when you cut down on some of the unneccessary fluff that you might feel you need, when in reality you don’t.
For a successful ice fishing trip, you really only need to be able to cut and scoop the ice before using your ice fishing rod and ice jigs to fish.
Along with the inexpensive 5-gallon plastic bucket and the winter clothing that you might already have, you can significantly reduce your overall purchase price for ice fishing gear this way.
Finding Discounted And Clearance Ice Fishing Gear
Discounted/Clearance Ice Fishing Gear:
- Spring – the best gear goes on sale
- Summer – clearance sales of what is left over
If you’d rather go all-in with your ice fishing equipment instead of going without a few things to save some money, you will probably have more luck finding discounts and clearance sales on ice fishing gear.
The best time to get deals on ice fishing gear is actually in the Spring.
Since the ice fishing season extends from early December to late February, you can clear out the ice fishing aisles almost immediately after the season is over.
If you will be doing all of your equipment shopping depending on sales prices, you will want to get into the stores immediately.
The Best Retailers For Ice Fishing Sales:
- Bass Pro Shops
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Fish USA
Those who assume that the best ice fishing gear sales will go up in the summer time will miss out on a lot of the good stuff, since everyone who knows about ice fishing sales will pick everything up in the Spring.
If you will just be getting a few additional things to add to your collection, you can swing by in the Summer time for some great clearance sales, although these items are usually considered the secondary pieces of equipment that no one else wanted throughout the entire year.
Online retailers will occasionally have sales for their ice fishing equipment as well, even though they have no physical shelf space to clear out.
It seems like everyone wants to get rid of their ice fishing inventory at a certain point, which is the perfect time to swoop in and get some great deals.
How thick does the ice have to be in order to be safe for ice fishing?
The required thickness of the ice will depend on how much gear you have and what you will be using to carry it. For example, the ice must be a minimum of 4 inches to safely hold one person with their gear on their back.
However, you will need 8-12 inches of solid ice to support a snowmobile or larger ATV vehicle.
What is the 5-gallon bucket used for on the ice fishing supplies list?
The 5-gallon bucket that was mentioned in the previous section serves a variety of purposes throughout a single ice fishing trip. The first and most obvious purpose of the 5 gallon bucket is to hold the fish that you catch in the ice.
Before that, you willl be able to flip it over and take a seat while you cast your line and reel in your catches.
What is the difference between ice fishing poles and the regular ones that are used in the summer?
An ice fishing rod is shorter than a regular summer fishing rod, due to the fact that it will be cast into a small hole created in the ice. These type of fishing poles can be made of wood or plastic.
Jigging rods are also classified as ice fishing rods, which are more similar to the regular ones. They are, however, lighter and shorter.