Ice-fishing equipment then and now

  • Updated: January 25, 2014 - 2:00 PM

You don’t need much more than a hole in the ice and a hook at the end of a line to catch a fish in winter. But ice fishing hasn’t been left in the wake of emerging technology, and today a winter fishing excursion can have a much different feel than it would have 20 years ago. Consider the available equipment then and now:


Then: Hand augers ($60 to $100) are still used, but you may want to bum one off someone who’s upgraded to the ­latest technology. Hand-drilling through 2 feet of ice takes five to 10 minutes.

Now: Lithium-ion battery or propane-powered models (around $500), some to be used in conjunction with a drill, won’t build your pectorals much. On a subzero day, you can drill through the ice sheet in 30 seconds or so.


Old: A five-gallon bucket with expansive views of sun and stars.

New: A heated, insulated trailer warm enough for tank tops and flip-flops is also equipped with cushy seats, bay windows and a multiburner stove. Ice Castles range from $5,000 to $36,000.

Protective gear

Old: Enough layers of cotton, fleece and leather to clothe an army.

New: Comfortable, lightweight bib suit made of high-tech material that is water- and windproof ($300, by IceArmor)

Fish finder

Old: Luck, tip from the guy at the bait shop, trial and error

New: Flasher and depth finder (Vexilar, $600) shows the ­activity (or lack of it) near your bait so you can catch your limit or move to a better spot.

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