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Ice augers are a handy tool to rapidly and easily cut clean holes in the ice. They come in various types, sizes, and styles. To increase your odds of finding the fish, you want to drill multiple holes swiftly. Is this question popping up in your head: What size ice auger do I need?

If you use a handheld or manual ice auger, its size should be 6 inches to get the job done. But, 8- or 10-inch is better for battery-powered or gas-powered ice augers. However, the size can vary depending on the fish size, fish type, ice thickness level, surface space, and other fishing conditions.

What Size Ice Auger Do I Need?

Ice augers are available from 6 to 12 inches. 8-inch augers are the most commonly used drills.

But depending on your fishing requirements, you may need a smaller or larger option.

The following are the most important factors that will determine what size ice auger you should choose.

What Size Ice Auger Do I Need

01. Fish Size

The first important point is to consider what fish you will catch.

Generally, larger fish requires you to create larger holes. So, you need bigger-sized ice augers.

Expert anglers recommend choosing 8-inch ice augers for common purposes.

 Selecting a 12-inch ice drilling tool is okay if you target bulky fish.

If you want to target pretty smaller fish, 6-inch ice augers might be okay.

But the hole diameter should be larger enough to pull the fish out along with the fishing line.

Different FishProbable Live In The Depth Of FishHole SizeAuger Size
PerchUp to 50 feet8 to 10 inches8 to 10 inches
BassUp to 40 feetAround 10 inches10 inches
Pike5 to 10 feetAt least 10 inches10 inches
Walleye15 to 25 feetAt least 10 inches10 inches

02. Fish Type

What type of fish are you going to catch? Are they aggressive and fast movers?

Panfish, pike, rainbow, pickerel, walleye, etc., are a top choice for ice fishing.

You need to create larger holes for this aggressive and fighting-lover fish. Smaller holes will freeze up quickly.

Plus, bringing out larger fish through smaller holes will be tough.

In addition, too small holes may damage the fishing line when you try to pull it out forcibly. It will rub against the sharp edge of the ice.

03. Ice Thickness Level

Another vital factor is the ice thickness level. Thicker ice requires creating larger diameter holes.

You want to use a larger-sized ice auger to cover the increased depth and finally reach the fishing water.

But the hole diameter can’t be more than 12 inches. Otherwise, it will be risky. Your fishing gear may get inside the hole out of your knowledge.

So, the minimum hole diameter should be 8 inches, and the maximum is 12 inches.

The following table gives a clear idea regarding the ideal ice auger you should use depending on the ice thickness level.

Ice Thickness LevelHole DiameterAuger Size
4 to 6 inches6 to 8 inches8 inches
6 to 18 inches6 to 10 inches8 or 10 inches
18 to 24 inches8 to 12 inches10 or 12 inches
More than 24 inches8 to 12 inches10 or 12 inches

04. Surface Space

Apart from the above mentioned factors, you want to consider much surface space you have for the drilling area.

The simple rule is the more space you have, the larger the ice auger you can select.

Bigger ice augers have larger blades. Their overall dimension is bigger than smaller ones. Hence, they will cover more space.

For example, when fishing in an open lake, a 10 or 12 inches drilling tool is a good choice to get more leverage and drill conveniently.

In contrast, you won’t get a good amount of space in a tiny fishing hut. Operating a larger ice auger within a limited space will be tricky.

Hence, don’t forget to determine how much floor space you have in your drilling zone.

What Size To Choose For a Hand Or Manual Ice Auger?

Handheld or manual ice drills are available in 4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch, 7-inch, and 8-inch.

If you are fishing in perch fishing lakes like Mendota/ Monona, a 4-inch handheld ice auger ice is enough to zip through to a few inches of ice.

For pan fishing, select a 5-inch handheld ice auger for better results. Creating several five inches holes will be easygoing.

A 7-inch or 8-inch handheld ice auger is a perfect choice for anglers who do more tip-up fishing.

The ice shards on top will not get heavy on your drilling device. You won’t face difficulty in turning it smoothly.

Anglers won’t have to worry about cutting enough holes for setting tip-ups or jigging.

What Size To Choose For Gas or Electric Ice Auger?

Gas-powered and battery-powered ice augers are more appropriate choices for thicker ice. They save you time and effort.

You want to choose at least an 8-inch size. Otherwise, why don’t you choose a manual auger if the ice is not too thick?

If you regularly fish in various locations where the ice thickness varies, a 12-inch gas auger will be better.

It will help you cut through ice smoothly and create perfect holes to place your fishing rod perfectly.

However, considering how much floor or surface you have is vital too. Larger-size gas augers will cover more space than smaller options.

Are Larger Ice Augers Always Better Than Smaller?

If you are fishing in various types of fishing conditions and catch different types and sizes of fish, larger ice drills are better than smaller ones.

You can utilize the same tool for drilling various thickness levels of ice.

On the contrary, smaller ice augers are a good choice if you only drill thinner ice. Also, the fish should be larger than the hole diameter. And they can’t be too aggressive.

In such a condition, smaller ice augers are better to save you money. Plus, you won’t have to bear the fuel cost.

However, larger gas or electric ice augers are not highly portable to carry around.

Do you already have a lot of fishing gear? Is the fishing spot far away from where your vehicle can last go?

Won’t it be hard to carry a heavy ice auger a few kilometers along with all this gear? It may not be if you have a partner or assistance.

Simply put, an angler has to consider all important aspects before choosing a particular size auger. It can be a small or larger option. 

Summing Up

The history of ice drilling began in 1840. It has evolved a lot over the years. If you are a hard-water angler, an ice-fishing auger is an essential tool for you.

Your success on the water often depends on using the correct equipment. Choosing the right size ice auger will help you drill ice more effortlessly and catch more fish.

Get a larger ice auger for cutting thick ice and making large holes. But smaller ice drills won’t be a bad choice if you only handle thinner ice with minimal depth.

Consider all the important aspects mentioned in this article to select the best one. Hopefully, now you won’t ask anyone, “What size ice auger do I need?”

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