Prepare For Summer: Book a Summer Fishing Guide on Lake Minnetonka

Summer is creeping up quickly, and there’s no better activity to do during the summer than getting out on the lake to go fishing. Lake Minnetonka is the perfect place to do so. As one of the largest lakes in the Minnesota area, Lake Minnetonka is enjoyed by people of all ages from all over the country who come to beat the heat during the summer.

However, if you’re planning to do some Lake Minnetonka fishing, then you’re going to want to have a summer fishing guide. With a summer fishing guide, you’ll be able to experience what getting out on the lake and being a true Minnesota fisherman is all about. They know all of the best spots, have the best fishing tips and tricks, and can help you have the best time possible out on Lake Minnetonka fishing.

Why You Should Get Out on the Lake

You might be surprised to learn that fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the entire country! From children to seniors, people of all ages love to get out of the house and head for a relaxing day on the lake or by the shore, ready to cast a line and see what they can catch. This activity is great because it’s both fun and easy to do, plus it gets you outside in the sunshine. The best part is spending the day with your loved ones and creating unforgettable memories together.

While fishing may not be the most taxing exercise out there, you can still get quite a workout from heading out to fish. You need to be able to cast your line and reel it in, and when you’ve got a big fish on the end of that line, it can be challenging to hold on and reel it in. Plus, if you’re out fishing on a boat, you’re going to have to use your legs and core muscles to keep yourself standing upright. Even on peaceful Lake Minnetonka, fishing is going to take some strength!

Plus, fishing is great for lowering stress and connecting with nature. Being outside in the middle of the lake, surrounded by water and doing something you love, is a great stress reliever. You can relax by spending the day out on the water. And, even if you don’t catch any fish, it’s still a day well spent.

How to Get Started on Your Fishing Trip

Here at Set the Hook Guide Service, our Lake Minnetonka fishing guides have everything you need to get set up for success. You don’t need to worry about fishing gear—we’ve got you covered. When you work with one of our Lake Minnetonka fishing guides, we provide the following:

  • 2019 Ranger 620FS w/250 Mercury Pro XS
  • Abu Garcia and Fenwick Rods
  • Shimano and Pflueger Spinning Reels
  • Shimano Baitcasting Reels
  • Tackle and Live Bait
  • Tuned-up Custom Rods
  • Life Jackets

If you need it to catch a fish, we’ve got you covered. From the rods to the bait and the life jacket, just in case, our Lake Minnetonka fishing guides come prepared for a full day of fishing.

When you get ready to head out onto the lake, there are only a few things you need to ensure you’ve got with you. The most important one is your fishing license. Your fishing license is something that you need to obtain on your own. While we can help to point you in the right direction, your fishing license must be unique to you, and you need to have it in hand before we head out to go fishing.

Once the paperwork is out of the way and you’ve got your license, you’re ready to go! All you’ll need to bring with you is the following:

  • Sunscreen to help protect you from the hot summer sun
  • Rain gear for unexpected storms
  • Food and water for lunch and in case you get thirsty
  • A cooler to bring your catch back home

That’s it! Once you’ve got all of this in hand, you’re ready to get out and catch fish on Lake Minnetonka.

What You Should Know Before You Go Fishing

You do not have to be a professional fisherman to have a good time. Our Lake Minnetonka fishing guides are here to help you every step of the way, and even if you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to be doing, Set the Hook Guide Services can help you better understand fishing, what it means to fish, fish behavior, and more. Don’t feel like you need to know everything; that’s what we’re here for!

You don’t have to be worried on your first fishing trip. If you’re having a good time and learning more about fishing, that’s all anyone can hope for.

Set the Hook Guide Services

Here at Set the Hook Guide Services, we’re proud to be able to offer our summer fishing guide package. When you book with us, one of our expert summer guides will take you out onto Lake Minnetonka and teach you everything you need to know about the basics of fishing.

We’ll show you what spots are the best places to fish, what kind of bait you need to use, and any other questions you may have so that when you leave the water, you’ll be a pro fisherman in your own right.

Don’t worry if summer isn’t your thing. During the winter, we also offer ice fishing and ice house rentals to help you keep the fishing fun going all year long. We don’t let the cold—or the heat—bother us!

If you’re interested in working with Set the Hook Guide Services and one of our Lake Minnetonka fishing guides, then reach out and book with us today.

Fishing On Lake Minnetonka: What Fish Will You Catch

When thinking of fishing on Lake Minnetonka, understand upfront that some fish are only present at certain times depending on the seasonal water temperatures. As such, some fish, such as largemouth bass or northern pike, will be present when the water is warmer. Others, like crappies and sunfish, are more common when the water is cool but warming up.

But how can you best prepare for the type of fish you expect to catch? For starters, you will still need a fishing license to begin your fishing excursion on Lake Minnetonka, so get that squared away asap!

Largemouth Bass

Bass is one of the most common fish in Lake Minnetonka and is the most popular fish by native and visiting anglers. They are fun to catch and can be an impressive fish for the perfect photo op.

Bass Check

Fishing for bass is fun and easy. All that’s required is a rod, lure, reel, tackle, and some other fishing equipment. To angle for Lake Minnetonka fish, however, you should think about hiring and scheduling a professional guide which comes with all the equipment you could possibly need. Doing so can ensure you snag a bass or three successfully and understand precisely where and how to look for these often clever fish.

Northern Pike

Fishing on Lake Minnetonka, you will come across countless northern pike. They are carnivorous and firm fish known to strip the reels out of an inexperienced angler’s hand!

Prepare for Battle

Northern pike follow the same rules as bass, since they too are a popular and well-known Lake Minnetonka fish breed. Hunting northern pike should be accompanied by a guide if you have children present or if you are an inexperienced angler. The fish is notoriously strong and can easily snap a reel or provide a challenge to an angler that isn’t adequately prepared.


Fishing on Lake Minnetonka, there is a high chance you will see and tangle with Walleye. They are fantastic fish and can provide a decent challenge to both experienced and inexperienced anglers.

Still a Challenge

Walleye are not as tough as northern pike, but taking them alone can be challenging. We suggest finding a guide or contracting a local group to help you “get your feet wet,” as it were, to ensure you and your family have a great experience!

Ice Fishing

If you’re looking for an even more exciting way of fishing or are planning a relaxing getaway for hosting family and friends, you could try ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka. You’ll catch an assortment of different fish and can rent every supply you need from us here at Set the Hook Guides.

In Summer and Winter, you can maximize the haul of bass, pike, and many other fish. Each catch should supply a story to tell around the watercooler at work and have you falling in love with Lake Minnetonka!

Ice Fishing: The Perfect Corporate Team Building Activity

Cast a Line With Your Team This Winter!

Are you looking for a unique and exciting activity for your next corporate event? Taking your team ice fishing is fun, thrilling, and great for team-building. It’s an enjoyable way for co-workers to bond with one another, also offering many benefits that make it the perfect corporate team building activity.

Improve Your Team’s Health

Life in the office can be monotonous and exhausting, and your employees deserve a break! Ice fishing is the perfect way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Being in the fresh air and surrounded by beautiful scenery can help to relieve stress and improve overall well-being. It is especially beneficial for employees who spend most of their days sitting in front of a computer screen. Ice fishing is more than a fun activity–it’s the perfect corporate team building exercise!

Build Communication

Communication and coordination are crucial to avoid mishaps while ice fishing. Your team must have a clear plan before heading out onto the ice. Everyone should clearly understand where they will be stationed, what type of equipment will be used, and emergency procedures in case something goes wrong. Your team will have to maintain constant communication while out on the ice. One designated person will be responsible for keeping track of everyone’s whereabouts and ensuring everyone is safe. Your corporate group must coordinate a solid fishing strategy so that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and when they are supposed to be doing it.

To be successful, team members need to work together to drill holes, set up equipment, and reel in fish. Ice fishing is the perfect corporate team building activity for building trust and camaraderie among co-workers, as it improves overall team morale and requires communication and teamwork.

Practice Problem-Solving Skills

Ice fishing can also help improve problem-solving skills. That is because it often requires people to think outside the box to catch fish. For example, if the fish are not biting on one type of bait, then your team will need to try something else. If the lines become tangled, you will need to figure out how to untangle them without breaking the line or losing the bait. Furthermore, in the unlikely and unfortunate case that someone falls through the ice, your group will need to figure out how to get them out without putting themselves in danger. All of these scenarios require quick thinking and problem-solving skills to resolve. This need for creative thinking translates well into an office setting, allowing your team to optimize productivity and develop new strategies to get things done.

Teach Your Team How To Manage Disappointment

Ice fishing is a great way to teach patience and how to handle disappointment. People often give up too soon when they don’t catch anything immediately, which is where the importance of patience comes in. If you are resilient and refuse to give up, you will eventually catch something! And once you do, the feeling of success is that much sweeter. Your team will learn the value of continued effort and refusal to give up. These skills come in handy in the workplace, too.

Promotes Some Healthy Competition

Choosing ice fishing as a corporate team activity is a great way to promote healthy competition. Employees can compete to see who can catch the most fish or the biggest fish, which can be a fun and engaging way to boost motivation and productivity.

A Truly Versatile Activity

Ice fishing is an action-packed activity that can be tailored to meet the needs of any corporate group. Whether you’re looking for a casual team-building event or a more serious competition, you can customize ice fishing to suit your needs.

Ice fishing is a unique and exciting corporate activity that offers various benefits. It’s a great way to get outdoors, bond with co-workers, and promote teamwork, healthy competition, and well-being. It’s an ideal choice for any company looking to add something new and exciting to their corporate event calendar.

Booking an Ice House For Your Corporate Event

Ice houses, also known as shanties or fish houses, are structures placed on frozen bodies of water for ice fishing. Ice houses provide anglers with a place to fish in comfort, even in extreme cold weather conditions. They are typically insulated and heated, making it possible to fish in temperatures well below freezing. That means that anglers can stay out on the ice for longer periods, increasing the likelihood of a good catch!

Ice houses also provide several other amenities to make ice fishing more enjoyable. Some have built-in seating, tables, and even portable toilets, making it possible to fish in comfort for hours on end. Some also come with built-in lighting, which can be helpful for night fishing.

Booking an MN ice house rental for your corporate event is fun and affordable. Our experienced guides help you put together an unforgettable adventure to improve your relationship with your team. Stay warm and safe in one of our cozy ice houses while you catch Walleyes, Crappies, Northern Pike, and other fish native to the area.

No Catch, Ice Fishing Is the Perfect Corporate Activity!

If you’re looking for a corporate ice-fishing experience guaranteed to be a good time, book with Set the Hook. One of our expert guides will take you and your team out on the ice for a memorable day on Lake Minnetonka full of laughter and excitement! You can easily book one of our incredible ice houses for your corporate team building activity.

Call us at 952-454-3266 to book your MN ice house rental for your event. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help you plan a thrilling event your company will be raving about for months!

Common Lake Minnetonka Ice Fishing Questions

Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in Minnesota, and Lake Minnetonka is one of the best places to go. If you’re considering embarking on a Lake Minnetonka ice fishing adventure, you may have a few questions, such as the best time to go, the best spots to fish, and what equipment you need.

Whether you’re an experienced ice fisherman or just thinking about trying it out, read on for everything you need to know about ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka.

What Is The Best Time To Go Ice Fishing On Lake Minnetonka?

If you’re wondering when to set out on Lake Minnetonka for your ice fishing expedition, consider going in the early morning or late evening when the sun is not as high in the sky, as the fish are more active during these times. You may also try to go during a cold snap when the fish are more likely to bite.

Ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka can be a great way to relax and enjoy the winter scenery. Make sure to dress warmly when ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka to protect yourself from the cold.

Where Are The Best Spots To Ice Fish On Lake Minnetonka?

Before choosing your spot, you’ll want to consider what fish you hope to catch. Lake Minnetonka is home to various species, including the black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, perch, and walleye. Each species has preferences in its habitat, so you’ll need to research ahead of time to determine where your preferred catch is likely to be biting.

Unless you are looking for a specific species, the northeast corner of the lake near Orono is a great place to start. There are also good spots near Spring Park, Excelsior, and Tonka Bay. In general, the north and east sides of the lake are the best for ice fishing. Some of the best spots are near public access points, making them easy to get to. If you’re willing to walk further, you can find more isolated fishing sites with less competition. You can also get a guided Lake Minnetonka ice fishing tour and have a professional take you to the best secret spots.

Once you’ve found a promising spot, it’s time to set up your ice house. Ice houses come in a variety of sizes and styles, from simple pop-up tents to large permanent structures. You can find a Minnesota ice house rental from your local bait shop or resort, or bring your own if you have one. Once your ice house is ready, you’ll want to make sure you have all the gear you need for a successful day of fishing.

What Equipment Do I Need For Ice Fishing On Lake Minnetonka?

In order to experience a successful Lake Minnetonka ice fishing journey, you will need several pieces of essential equipment. First, you will need a spud bar to check the thickness of the ice before you set up your ice house. You will also need an ice auger to drill fishing holes and an ice fishing rod and reel combo.

When it comes to choosing lures and bait for ice fishing, there are many different options available. The type of lure or bait that will work best for your ice fishing trip depends on the fish you’re hoping to catch. For example, if you’re hoping to catch walleye, you might use a minnow as bait. If you’re hoping to catch perch, use a small jigging lure. Experiment with different types of lures and bait until you find what works best for you.

How Do I Stay Safe While Ice Fishing On Lake Minnetonka?

Safety should be your top priority when embarking on your Lake Minnetonka ice fishing endeavor. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe while enjoying this winter activity.

Wear a Life Jacket At All Times

Even the most experienced fisherman will tell you that a life jacket is critical during your fishing trip. A fall into the freezing water can trigger hypothermia, making it difficult to swim to safety. A life jacket will keep you afloat until your team rescues you.

Carry a Set Of Ice Picks With You

If you’ll be fishing alone, don’t forget to carry a set of ice picks with you. You can use the ice picks to help pull yourself out of the water if you fall in. Make sure they are easily accessible so you can grab them quickly if needed.

Check the Thickness Of The Ice Before Walking On It

One thing to consider before choosing a spot to fish is the thickness of the ice. Check the thickness of the ice ahead of time by drilling a test hole. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends the ice be at least four inches thick before walking or driving a vehicle on it. If you’re a total beginner, you should verify the ice’s thickness with professionals before you embark on your journey.

Be wary of spots with cracks or holes in the ice. These areas are more likely to be weaker and could collapse, leading to an accident.

Pay Attention To The Weather

Be aware of changing conditions by checking the weather forecast before heading out onto the lake. If the weather forecast indicates a storm or other severe weather, it’s best to wait until another day to go ice fishing.

Can I Rent An Ice House On Lake Minnetonka?

An ice fishing house is a shelter anglers use to stay warm and protect themselves from the elements. The water beneath the snowy ice appears to glow and attracts anglers because the houses are kept dark. Some ice fishing shacks have heat, and some even have bunks and kitchen facilities. You can buy or build a prefabricated ice house or get a Minnesota ice house rental from a service like Set The Hook Guide Service.

Set The Hook Guide Service offers guided ice fishing tours, providing you with all the necessary equipment and knowledge you need for a fun and safe experience. What are you waiting for? Contact us today to book an unforgettable winter adventure on beautiful Lake Minnetonka!

Live Bait or Artificial Bait for Ice Fishing?

Are you looking for the perfect winter adventure for your family or a corporate team? Ice fishing is a fun, and adventurous activity people of all ages can enjoy. However, before you embark on your journey, you’ll want to make sure you have the right bait in order to reel in a big catch.

What Is Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing is a type of sport fishing done in the winter. As the name implies, fishermen cast their line into a small hole or opening in the ice, hoping to attract an array of species, depending on the area or body of water. Ice fishing can be done with a spear, but most people use a line and rod, especially if they’re doing it recreationally. Ice fishing is a fun and challenging way to fish, allowing anglers to catch species they might not find otherwise. It’s also a great way to pass the time during the frigid winter months.

One of the most important decisions an ice fisherman must make is what bait to use. There are two primary choices for your ice fishing bait: live bait or artificial bait. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your preferences or the species you hope to find.

Live Bait: Pros and Cons

Live bait is a natural alternative to fishing, making it an popular option for many fishermen. Various types of live bait are available, including minnows, crayfish, earthworms, and insects. Live bait attracts a wide variety of species for many reasons.


The smell is one of the reasons live ice fishing bait works so well. Fish have a highly developed sense of smell and can easily distinguish between live bait and artificial bait. Live bait also looks more natural. It moves in the water in a way that is closer to the way natural prey would move, making it more likely to trigger a fish’s predatory instincts.

Another advantage of using live fishing bait for ice fishing is that it works better in cold conditions. That is because live bait naturally reacts to cold water, which fish find appealing. Artificial bait, on the other hand, may move through the water too fast, scaring some species away.


One of the key disadvantages of using live bait is that it can be more expensive than artificial bait. That is because live bait often needs to be routinely purchased from a bait shop or tackle store, while artificial bait can be used again and again.

Aside from constant stops at your local bait store, you’ll also have to figure out a way to store and transport your bait appropriately to ensure it stays alive throughout your expedition. For this reason, live bait may also require heavier storage, making it more difficult to transport.

Live bait may not be your best option if you’re squeamish with strong smells or insects. There are also environmental factors to consider. While live bait is biodegradable, using live bait contributes to fish prey being over-harvested, which may contribute to or lead to environmental issues.

Artificial Bait: Pros and Cons

Artificial bait is manufactured or homemade that is reusable. It comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and styles, allowing you to choose the perfect bait for the fish you are trying to catch. There are several advantages and disadvantages to using artificial bait on your next fishing trip.


Artificial ice fishing bait has several advantages over live bait when it comes to ice fishing. One of the most important advantages is that artificial bait is less expensive than live bait. Artificial bait eliminates your need to purchase, catch, store, and transport live bait, simplifying your fishing experience. Another advantage of artificial bait is that you do not have to deal with the smell of live bait. Artificial bait does not die, so you don’t have to worry about disposing of it after your fishing trip, and there’s no risk of fish prey being over-harvested. It is also much easier to transport than live fishing bait.


One of the downsides of using artificial fishing bait is that it can be less effective in attracting fish. Fish are naturally attracted to live bait because it smells and tastes like real food. Fishing with live bait is generally more effective than artificial fishing bait or lures.

Another downside of using artificial bait is that it can be more challenging to use than live bait. Artificial lures often require special rigging and knots that can be difficult for novice anglers to learn. Additionally, once you’ve rigged your lure, you have to cast it properly in order to have any chance of catching a fish which can be difficult to do if you’re not used to casting with a lure. To avoid this issue, you can consider booking an experienced guide to help you navigate your first ice fishing endeavor.

Which One Should You Use?

There is no “correct” answer when deciding between live and artificial ice fishing bait. The type of fish, the conditions of the water, and the fisherman’s own preferences all play a role in figuring out which kind of bait is best to use.

Book Your Next Adventure With Set the Hook

Before setting out on your own ice fishing adventure, consider contacting Set the Hook for a professionally guided tour. We offer the best Guided Ice Fishing services on Lake Minnetonka, including ice house rentals. We do family tours as well as corporate team-building events for memories you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Gather your friends and prepare for a stunning adventure this winter.

Have A Luxury Ice Fishing Vacation On Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka, located just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one of the most popular winter destinations for vacationers year after year. Luxury ice fishing annually captivates the minds of thousands of visitors. With Lake Minnetonka’s crystal clear waters and abundance of fish, it’s no wonder that avid anglers flock to the picturesque lake every year. This is a time to unplug from life’s worries and enjoy the natural wild beauty around them.

During the colder months, the lake freezes over to create a serene winter wonderland perfect for ice fishing. The most popular species to catch include walleye, northern pike, and perch, all of which are known for their delicious taste and fighting spirit. There’s a sense of pride to be had from hauling a strong fish out of the ice hole.

Stay Warm With An Ice House

Luxury ice fishing vacations on Lake Minnetonka can offer a unique and memorable experience that combines the thrill of the catch with the comfort and amenities of a warm cabin when you rent an ice house. Most ice house rentals should include everything you need for a successful day on the ice. If you want a comfortable experience while ice fishing in Lake Minnetonka, Set The Hook is a great place to start.

Stay warm with a heated ice house equipped with comfortable seating, a heater, and the fishing gear you need for a fun vacation. Get bait, tackle, rods, reels, and even an underwater camera for one steady rate. Prep in advance, get ready to relax, and enjoy yourself! Ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka is an unforgettable experience.

The lake is surrounded by a still, quiet landscape framed by natural beauty. It’s a sight to behold in the wintertime and we feel everyone should make time to experience it if they can. Lake Minnetonka ice fishing brings you close to the rolling hills and wooded forests, letting you experience the serene and peaceful setting perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

With ice house rentals, you can invite your family and friends along for a luxury ice fishing vacation. As you all wait for a tug on your line, you should relax in the heated ice house and enjoy your time together. Bundle up and step outside for a moment of breathtaking beauty. Take in the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape while the sun glints off the ice and snow.

The Stillness of Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is popular in Minnesota for a good reason. The cold-weather activity is enjoyed by anglers of all ages and skill levels because of the immersive outdoor experience. The tranquil setting lets everyone connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors. The anticipation and excitement of a catch are part of what makes ice fishing such an enjoyable experience.

By using ice house rentals, you can enjoy the simplicity and low-maintenance nature of ice fishing. With everything already included, you’ll focus on the experience rather than on any complicated gear and equipment. For instance, the rental service Set The Hook already drills the holes and turns on the heat so you can rest easy when you get there.

Ice fishing is a social activity. Carve out the time to connect with your friends and family during the cold winter months. Instead of embracing a bleak winter, a luxury ice-fishing vacation on Lake Minnetonka brings everyone together in the spirit of camaraderie. Chat and tell stories while waiting for your fish to bite so you can create long-lasting memories with your loved ones.

This engaging experience is great for bonding with your kids as well. If you want a vacation that your kids will talk about all year, a luxury ice fishing vacation is a meaningful way to bond with them. When you go ice-fishing with your loved ones, you’ll enjoy the stories of trying to catch the big one. Ice fishing requires patience and time, giving parents a window of opportunity to really engage with their kids.

Net Yourself a Walleye

Want a vacation story to knock everyone’s socks off? There’s nothing like the thrill of catching a walleye or a pike while ice fishing. Walleyes are known for their powerful fighting skills, and they’re a prized catch for experienced anglers. The walleye always puts up a fierce fight, diving, and thrashing to break free. It’s not easy to hook one, and the chase to get a walleye is addictive.

While you may not be successful in catching a walleye on your first ice-fishing outing, a luxury ice-fishing vacation doesn’t have to be a one-time event. In fact, many families have made ice fishing a yearly tradition that brings them together and creates lasting memories. So even if you don’t catch the big one on your first try, don’t be discouraged. With a bit of practice and determination, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an experienced angler.

Even if you don’t hook a walleye, you’ve got the chance to hook several fish while on Lake Minnetonka ice fishing. There are bass, sunfish, panfish, and more beneath the icy surface. The chance to land a trophy catch is always there, you just have to be prepared and book a luxury ice fishing vacation.

Choose a Trusted Guide

When planning a luxury ice fishing vacation, it’s essential to do your research and choose a trusted ice house rental company that offers the amenities and features you need. Don’t forget to get your fishing license and consider the size of ice house you’ll need for your group size. For example, Set The Hook offers a range of ice house sizes that can accommodate different group sizes and preferences. I”s also a good idea to plan for a minimum of two holes per person to ensure an enjoyable and productive outing on the ice.

Don’t be swayed by rock-bottom pricing from ice fishing companies, either. Balance cost with quality and safety by choosing a company with a good reputation. With a bit of research and due diligence, you’ll have a fantastic time while on Lake Minnetonka ice fishing. With its stunning natural beauty, top-notch accommodations, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, Lake Minnetonka is the perfect destination for a winter escape.

Hand vs. Electric Auger: Which One Is Best For Ice Fishing?

Wintertime brings with it plenty of chilly indoor activities, but if you love the outdoors, you’re in luck! Some of the best outdoor activities are ideal for snowy conditions. Ice fishing is a popular pastime that thousands of Minnesotans undertake every year, trekking out onto thickly frozen lakes to drill a hole through the ice in hopes of catching a variety of fish. But how do you get started?

When it comes to ice fishing tools, the ice auger is a piece of gear you should take the time to research. After all, you need a hole even to get the fish. An ice auger is a specialized tool that drills holes into the ice. These holes must be large enough to drop a fishing line through and haul fish out of the water. If a hole is too small, the fish can bump against the sides of the holes, allowing them to slip off your line. Making a hole by hand can be tiring, so you may want to consider an electric ice auger if a hand auger sounds too daunting for you.

Several types of ice augers are available, ranging from electric ice augers to hand ice augers. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so consider which one is best for your needs. In this article, we’ll break down hand ice augers and electric ice augers so that you can make informed decisions on the ice.

What To Consider For Your Ice Auger

The thickness of the ice, the size of the holes you need to drill, and the number of holes you need to create will all impact what ice auger that’s best for you. Choose a high-quality auger that is reliable and durable. There’s nothing more disappointing than getting out on the ice with a poorly-performing auger, or even one so poorly made it breaks after a hole or two. You’ll either have to repair out on the ice or just head home early without a reliable ice auger. There’s nothing more frustrating than hiking out to the perfect ice fishing spot, only to have your ice fishing trip ruined because of a crappy ice auger.

If you’re new to ice fishing, you’re probably thinking of getting a hand auger for your first purchase. Hand ice augers are generally more affordable and lightweight than electric ice augers. Since hand augers don’t require fuel, they eliminate the need to figure out gas or charge up an auger. However, the ice thickness proves a real problem with hand ice augers.

Ice Thickness

For ice up to 12 inches thick, a hand auger can be a practical choice. However, if the ice gets thicker than 16 inches, a hand auger can become extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive to use, even with the best hand augers on the market. In these cases, investing in an electric ice auger is more practical and safe. It is generally only advisable to use a hand ice auger up to two feet deep.


Remember, hypothermia is a concern out on the ice. If you’re using a hand auger and it takes a long time to drill through the ice, or if you’re digging multiple holes, you may begin to sweat due to overexertion. This can lead to hypothermia, which is a dangerous condition that can occur when your body temperature drops too low.

To practice safe ice fishing, choosing an auger suitable for the thickness of the ice and the number of holes you’ll be drilling is essential. This will help you avoid overexertion and the risk of hypothermia. Always be mindful of your physical limits and take breaks as needed to stay safe and comfortable on the ice.

Additionally, be careful not to fall in icy water. You should consider bringing extra clothes on your ice fishing trip so you can change out of soaking clothes just in case an accident happens.

All About Hand Ice Augers

As far as affordability goes, hand augers are the most popular choice. Most anglers prefer to use hand ice augers when portability and simplicity are the goals, such as a simple, inexpensive set-up for ice fishing that only includes the bare minimum. These manually-operated augers are powered by physical effort and are suitable for drilling holes in ice up to 12 inches thick.

Hand-ice augers are relatively low maintenance and don’t require batteries or fuel. Still, if you’re an angler who grapples with physical limitations or you intend to drill through very thick ice, a hand auger may quickly become more of a problem than it’s worth. Ice thicker than 16 inches will be highly labor-intensive and time-consuming, even with the best hand ice augers on the market. If the ice extends beyond two-feet deep, avoid a hand-powered auger altogether. At that point, an electric ice auger is what you need.

You’ll want to pay attention to the blade’s sharpness when considering a hand ice auger. The best hand ice augers have chrome-alloy stainless steel blades that will drill into the ice. Powder-coated paint is another product trait to check off of your list. The powder-coated paint will reduce ice build-up and keep the auger working. The best hand augers on the market are sharp and ice build-up resistant to keep your auger working smoothly.

Do You Plan on Going Ice Fishing Often?

If you know you’ll be putting a lot of sweat and time out on the ice, an electric ice auger is what you need. These augers are powered by electric batteries and are generally faster and more efficient than hand-powered augers. This is useful if plan to change fishing spots frequently, which means you’ll need to drill multiple holes through thick ice. Investing in quality ice fishing tools, including an electric auger, means you have an enjoyable and productive outing on the ice. That means the possibility of a lot of good catches.

Electric Augers

Need something dependable and lightweight, but with enough power to get through multiple holes in a trip? Electric augers are environmentally friendly, unlike gas-powered augers, and powered by electricity. If you’re not drilling through incredibly thick ice, an electric auger will be great, though they don’t provide as much torque as a gas-powered auger. You also need to keep track of an electric auger’s charge. If you forget to charge before a long day out on the ice, you’ll run into issues that will have you packing up early unless you bring a charged spare battery or two.

You’re in luck if you already own a high-powered handheld electric drill. Drill-powered ice augers are generally half the price of a gas or electric auger, and you already have part of it. Drill-powered augers are lightweight, though they’re not as powerful as electric augers, and are more suited for 6 to 8-inch blades.

Be Prepared Out on the Ice

Ice fishing tools make or break your fishing experience out on the lakes. After all, you don’t want to hook a trophy fish only to lose it from an improperly drilled hole or a too-small hole. A 6-inch auger will handle trout and panfish but move up to an 8-inch for larger trout and bass. If your plan is to hit pike and musky, go for a more robust 10-inch auger. Also, consider your other gear. Make sure you have weather-resistant and water-resistant outer layers, and stay warm. If you’re a new angler unsure where to start, consider hiring a guide service like Set The Hook. Whether renting one of their ice houses or using a guide service, the holes will come pre-drilled, and you won’t have to worry about an auger. Have a great time out on the ice, and stay safe!

Can You Ice Fish With A Normal Fishing Rod?

There is a cardinal mistake that many new anglers stumble into when they’re gearing up for their first ice-fishing season out on the lakes. Unfortunately, you can’t just assume that your summer fishing rod will work as well for ice fishing as it does in the summer. Keep this in mind when you’re debating whether or not to buy a new rod. Choose your ice fishing rod based on the kind of fish you want to target. There are a variety of fishing rods to consider when you’re preparing to go ice fishing for the first time, so let’s get into it.

Let’s start by putting the question to rest: can you ice fish with a standard fishing rod? Yes. A regular fishing rod is still a fishing rod and you can catch fish with it, but a specialized ice fishing rod gives many different advantages over your regular fishing rod. Let’s go over why an ice fishing rod is unique and how it affects your wintertime experience.

Ice Fishing Rods Are Special

Ice fishing rods are designed for fishing in cold, icy conditions through holes in the ice. They are generally shorter than traditional fishing rods, with lengths between 24 inches and 48 inches. The shorter length gives them excellent maneuverability. They’re more sensitive than longer rods, making fishing through the holes in the ice much more effortless.

When selecting an ice fishing rod, consider the type of fish you’ll be targeting. Different species of fish require different rod lengths to maximize their chances of being caught. For example, crappie, perch, and bluegill typically require 20-30 inches, while walleye and whitefish require a rod of 30-36 inches. Northern pike and lake trout, generally larger species, require a rod of 36-42 inches, and muskie, which is the largest of all, require a rod of 42-48 inches.

A long fishing rod will be challenging if you’re all bundled up and warm in an ice house rental or shanty. Short ice fishing rods are more manageable in a small space, and a shorter rod lets you sit close to your ice hole while fishing. If you’re using a flasher to identify fish under the ice or sight-fighting, you need to sit closer to the ice hole to get a catch. It’s the same principle even if you’ve got a fishing camera to observe the fish.

Short and light ice fishing rods give you more sensitivity in terms of feeling a subtle bite, like panfish. While jigging the bait, you can sense the slightest nibble with a light ice fishing rod by holding it like a pen between your thumb and index finger. With a shorter ice fishing rod, you’ll be right there to grab the fish as soon as it is pulled up to the surface.

Can You Use Your Normal Fishing Rod?

If you try ice fishing with a regular fishing rod, keep a few tips in mind to make it a smoother experience. Using a light line and a shorter, more sensitive rod can be helpful if you have it. It can be difficult to detect bites under the ice otherwise. Since you’ll be working with a bit of distance from your ice hole, be mindful that it can be challenging to control the rod from a distance.

Consider using a dead sticking technique with live bait instead of jigging for longer fishing poles, as this allows the rod to stay stationary and makes it easier to feel bites on the tip of the rod. Ice fishing reels aren’t different from regular fishing reels, and spinning reels are the most common type of fishing reel used for ice fishing. Small spinning reel sizes from 1000 to 3000 are ideal for ice fishing, with the larger sizes being suitable for walleye, pike, and lake trout.

If you’re new to ice fishing and not sure you want to sink a lot of money into gear, you can use your warm-weather fishing rod. Once you find out if you enjoy ice fishing, you can start to invest in more specialized equipment to make the experience more fun.

Why Should You Use An Ice Fishing Rod?

Using an ice fishing rod can enhance your ice fishing experience and improve your chances of success. If you’re going out in the cold for hours, it’s always nice to bring something home for your efforts. Ice fishing rods are designed specifically for ice fishing, and you can stay warm out on the ice in the sometimes cramped quarters. The improved control and ease of use are also significant factors in their favor. You want to focus on catching fish, not struggling with a rod that isn’t meant for ice fishing.

We’ve covered that ice fishing rods are shorter than standard rods. That alone makes ice fishing a lot easier. Small rods make catching fish below the ice easier. If you’ve been out on the ice a few times and know you want to keep ice fishing every year, an ice fishing rod is a worthy investment. You’ll have better control and won’t be so cramped in a shelter, pop-up, or shanty. Ice fishing rods are designed to be more flexible and forgiving.

Open-water fishing and ice fishing are quite different. When a fish is swimming in open water, you have no problem when it begins to swim in different directions against you. It’s easy to adjust when fishing in open water because of the space you have, while a hole in the ice can limit you.

If a fish swims in different directions under the ice, it may result in a snapped line if your rod isn’t flexible. When you’ve got an ice fishing rod and a fish begins to swim erratically, you only need to dip the tip of your pole inside the hole to prevent cut lines. An ice fishing rod is designed to handle erratic movements and use in small spaces. Make your ice fishing experience a breeze by buying an ice fishing rod.

Which Ice Fishing Rod Should I Buy?

If you’re just starting out in ice fishing, it’s a good idea to go for an affordable reel and rod. A beginner set can be purchased for around $30, and it will be sufficient to catch decent-sized fish on the ice. If you already have a spinning reel, you can save money by just purchasing an ice fishing rod, which can be found for as low as $15. This cost-effective way to start ice fishing can still provide a good fishing experience, netting you impressive fish during the season.

When it comes to buying an ice fishing rod, consider the power of the rod. The power refers to the force needed to bend the blank and is typically classified as ultra-light, light, medium, or heavy. To choose the best ice fishing rod for your needs, you’ll need to decide what species of fish you’re targeting.

For example, ultra-light rods are ideal for panfish, while light rods are good for perch. Light to medium rods are suitable for walleye, whitefish, and most trout, and heavy rods are best for pike or lake trout.

One of the most common mistakes new ice anglers can make is buying rods that are too stiff. While bigger fish requires more strength, you still need a considerable amount of bend for ice fishing. A lighter rod allows you to feel light nibbles, which can make the difference between catching that trophy fish and having one just swim away.

Experienced ice anglers usually avoid slow-action blanks. You need strength and sensitivity to pull a fighting fish up through an ice hole, and the light strikes are better detected with a fast-action rod. Ice fishing rods are classified by how they flex when pressure is applied, and fast-action rods are designed to flex mainly at the tip.

Consider a medium-action rod, which tends to flex to the middle of the blank. Medium-action rods fit well if you use minnows or live bait for deadsticking or finesse jigging. With the forgiving bend, any jarring movements are softened if you’re working the jig aggressively. Fast- or medium-action rods allow for better sensitivity to bites and easily handle larger fish. By considering the rod’s flex, you can choose the best option to suit your style of fishing and improve your chances of success on the ice.

Graphite vs. Fiberglass Rods

You’ll want to think about the material of the blank, which refers to the rod’s main structure. There are three primary materials to choose from: graphite, fiberglass, and composite blends. Each of these materials offers different characteristics and varies in price.

Graphite is the most popular choice. With ice fishing, lightweight and sensitivity are key to anglers. It’s also more expensive than fiberglass, though solid graphite blanks offer the highest level of sensitivity. Tubular or composite blanks are not as sensitive. Experienced ice fishing anglers prefer fast-action graphite rods, as it’s the perfect mix of stiffness and sensitivity, helping detect bites from shy fish.

Fiberglass blanks are not as sensitive as graphite, but high-end fiberglass blanks offer similar sensitivity levels. Fiberglass blanks tend to bend along the entire length of the rod, leading to smoother hook sets and the ability to play with larger fish like pike. Graphite can become fragile in cold temperatures, but fiberglass is more durable. If you don’t want to be too delicate with your gear, go for a fiberglass rod.

Consider whether you want to feel or see fish strikes when deciding on a blank material; if you’re an experienced angler, you probably do. A spring bobber or strike indicator will work better with a fiberglass rod. Graphite is the way to go if you want to feel fish strikes, as the higher sensitivity will allow you to feel even light nibbles.

Ice Fishing Lures

Artificial lures have advantages over live bait, and anglers often combine live bait and lures. Which one should you choose? Live bait must be purchased and kept alive, while lures offer convenience when heading out onto the ice. Minnows and other live bait require time and effort to keep alive, even if they can attract the larger, predatory fish under the ice.

Lures are flashy, and the vibration can attract fish that are reluctant to take live bait. Since fish move much slower under the ice in cold water, it can take a skilled hand to balance the subtle action of a lure and the excitement of wiggling it. Jigs are often considered the best fishing lures, although spoons and plugs attract fish.

In colder water, fish metabolism slows down and bites can be harder to tease out as the fish don’t feed as aggressively. With this, some anglers prefer using live bait for a higher confidence level in their catch. Some species, like trout, remain active even in cold water and may be caught using live bait or artificial lures, so it depends on what species you want to target on your ice fishing trip.

New To Ice Fishing?

If you’re inexperienced, using your regular fishing rod is a good choice until you decide whether you like ice fishing. There is also the possibility of guided fishing tours or an ice house rental. With an ice house rental, you’ll be able to try out live bait, tackle, rods, reels, and use an underwater camera without investing in any of the gear. You won’t have to worry about buying an auger, as the holes will be pre-drilled when you arrive, and you’ll be able to stay warm.

You can always use your regular fishing rod to get started, but renting an ice house with the gear included is a good in-between step to decide if you want to invest the money into a set of ice fishing rods. Ice fishing is a relaxing wintertime activity for new and experienced anglers alike and helps break up the monotony of the cold seasons. See if you can catch a prized walleye by heading to Lake Minnetonka this winter!

How to Drill the Perfect Ice Fishing Hole

Ice fishing is a popular winter sport to bring family and friends together. Enjoying a day out on the lake catching walleye and bass starts with loading up your gear and heading out early in the morning to start your day.

Although there’s a long list of the essential gear you need to ice fish, we’re here to discuss the one that will get you into the ice: an ice fishing auger! We’ll walk you through how to drill that perfect ice fishing hole and answer the questions a new ice fisherman usually has, like “What size should my ice fishing hole be?” and “What kind of augur should I use?”

Drilling The Perfect Hole

Drilling holes in the ice takes some practice, but you’ll be a pro at it before too long. Make sure you drill your hole straight. If it’s at an angle, you’ll have trouble getting the ice fishing auger out, and when you go fishing, you won’t be able to see your hook, and you’ll catch the edge of the ice. If you get a fish on a ragged hole, likely the fish will get leverage on the uneven surface and get away from you.

Ice fishing holes can range from 6 to 10 inches in diameter, but the perfect hole size is 8 inches. The 8-inch hole allows you to pull most fish through and is achievable even with a hand-powered ice fishing auger. There are a few situations where the standard 8-inch diameter hole isn’t a great fit.

Ice Thickness

Deeper ice is harder to drill, and no matter the type of auger you use, it can be hard work getting through thick ice. It’s essential to think about how much energy you exert to get through the ice, as a 6-inch auger will be easier to get through 2 feet of ice than an 8-inch auger. You’ll want to avoid sweating as it will chill you in sub-zero temperatures.

A narrow hole in deep ice gives a fighting fish more control than the angler. While this isn’t too big of a deal with panfish, a larger walleye or lake trout can snap your line and be difficult to pull through a narrower hole. Your ice fishing hole should match the ice thickness of your location, so it’s vital to pick a corresponding ice fishing auger with the correct diameter.

An 8-inch hand auger is alright for ice less than 18 inches, but on days where you’re moving holes often, a gas or electric auger is a must.

What Fish Are You Trying To Catch?

Don’t work yourself to exhaustion, drilling big holes for big fish. A 10-pound walleye is only 5 to 6 inches thick and could quickly come up through an 8-inch hole. If you’re regularly catching 30-lb lake trout, you might consider a larger 10-inch hole, but for the average-sized walleye and panfish, a 6 to 8-inch hole will work just fine.

How Many Holes Are You Drilling?

With a heavily insulated jacket in sub-zero weather, drilling holes isn’t easy–especially if you’re moving spots quite a bit. Sometimes, finding fish involves drilling one hole after another until you get bites. In order not to work up a sweat, make sure your auger size is suited to how many holes you’ll be drilling. Think about using a motorized version to protect yourself from exhaustion and hypothermia.

Ice Fishing Safety

A hole should never be big enough for a person to fall into. A large hole takes longer to freeze solid, and while the top layer will freeze first, it might only be an inch or two thick by the time someone else is walking to their spot. Going through the ice into excruciatingly cold water is life-threatening and traumatic. It can lead to death. Never make a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter. It’s just not needed, and your life or someone else’s could be at stake.

Hand Auger vs Machine Auger

In the old days, anglers used just a pry bar and a chisel. Thankfully, nowadays, we have ice fishing augers.

Hand Powered Augers

Hand-powered augers are built to use your strength. They’re a good workout early in the morning, but if you’re looking to drill multiple holes or move spots, a hand-auger will probably lead to an aching arm. Take this into account before you invest in this as your only option.

Gas-powered Augers

Gas-powered augers are falling out of favor. Though they do drill through the ice impressively, a machine malfunctioning out on the ice can be a pain to fix. Not to mention, you’ll need to fill it with gasoline (and worry about having spare gas on hand when you travel). That said, these augers are much better than hand-powered augers if you need to drill multiple holes in a short amount of time, so they’re great for multi-day trips or fishing with buddies. Remember to lift your auger up and down after getting through the ice. The motion will clear much of the slush and ice out of the hole.

Electric Augers

There are also ion-battery augers. Environmentally friendly and easy to use on the ice, the only downfall to these is the battery time. While they can make multiple holes quickly, these electric augers will eventually need a longer charge.

Drill Augers

Cutting holes with a drill auger doesn’t have to be work. It can even be enjoyable. An ice fishing auger kit is usually an adapter kit to fit an auger drill. Drill augers can beat out many of the top gas-powered augers on the market without the hassle of gas attached.

The rule of thumb is that if you’re only drilling one hole during your session, a manual-powered auger will definitely reduce the amount of gear you have to bring out on the ice. If you’re drilling three or more holes during the outing, you’ll want a motor-driven auger so that you don’t build up a sweat. With conditions changing quickly out on the ice, working up a sweat can lead to hypothermia.

Guided Ice Fishing

The best way to learn ice fishing is to first go on a guided ice fishing tour with an experienced angler. Lake Minnetonka is one of the best ice fishing spots in Minnesota, and Set the Hook offers guided ice fishing tours that will get you set up with the ice fishing techniques you need to make this a permanent part of your winter traditions. Through experience and careful guidance, you’ll learn what makes the best ice fishing hole.

When is the Best Time for Ice Fishing in Minnesota

As temperatures drop and snow rolls in, Minnesota transforms into a wonderland for anglers looking to catch bass, walleye, and panfish. Ice houses begin to dot the frozen lakes, and outdoor enthusiasts head out to fish in these temporary shanties. Winter weather doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside, and an ice fishing trip means time to bond with friends and loved ones who can’t wait to start fishing with you. Below, we’ll cover what months the ice fishing season in Minnesota spans. After we break it down month by month, you’ll know the best time for ice fishing in Minnesota.

Ice fishing is an exciting thrill for new anglers. Cutting a hole through the ice with an auger and then fishing through the ice to catch a fish is a lot of fun, and you’ll likely remember your early attempts for the rest of your life. If you’ve never been ice fishing before, it’s essential to learn from an experienced angler. Services like guided tours will cover how to drill through the ice, what equipment is needed to start ice fishing, and how to catch a fish. 

While we can definitely advise you on the best time for ice fishing in Minnesota, booking a guided tour can fill in the rest of the knowledge gaps to make ice fishing relaxing, fun, and approachable for inexperienced anglers. Ice fishing season in Minnesota spans from January to March, when the ice is thicker than four inches.

What is Ice Fishing?

When the lakes freeze over, native Minnesotans trek out onto the lakes and make whole ice shanty communities to fish. Even still, many go out with only a fishing pole, a hand-operated auger, and a lure to catch some fish for a few hours. Ice fishing is drilling through thick ice to fish underneath it, and Minnesota has made it an art. Whole resorts and guide services offer gear rentals and comfortable, pre-heated ice houses for anyone who wants a good time. Pre-heated ice houses can make any winter month the best time for ice fishing in Minnesota.

You’ll need to buy or rent gear if you’re new to ice fishing:

  • Slush scoop
  • Rods
  • Reels
  • Lines
  • A machine or hand-powered Auger
  • Tip-ups
  • Tackle
  • Bait and fish bucket
  • Warm clothing with layers

Summer fishing poles can be too stiff for ice fishing and won’t work if you’re in an ice house. Depending on how many holes you will dig, weighing a machine or hand-powered auger is essential. Ensure your gear is water-resistant and that you don’t over-layer. 

A Note On Safety

As with any ice fishing venture, make sure you know how much ice is safe. A day or two of frost will not build up enough ice to support the weight of you, your fish, and all your gear. Ice fishing accidents are rare because experienced anglers exercise caution and common sense. The rule of thumb is that ice is safe to walk on when it reaches four inches thick. However, that’s only the standard for clear ice. Cloudy ice must have at least six inches before venturing out onto it.

Always take safety seriously on the ice. Familiarize yourself with the signs of hypothermia:

  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion or feeling tired
  • Confusion
  • Fumbling hands
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness

Ice fishing is a physical activity. It’s essential to know the signs of hypothermia and not over-exert yourself. Staying safe on the ice should always be your top priority. A heated ice house can alleviate the stress for anyone new to the sport. Consider giving one a try.

The Ice Fishing Seasons

Here’s what you should know to prepare for ice fishing season:


The real kick-off of ice fishing season is in January. The Department of Natural Resources in Minnesota even offers a Take a Kid Ice Fishing trial where residents can fish or spearfish for free when accompanied by a child 15 or under. It’s an excellent way to try it out before investing heavily in gear. While it might be dark and cold outside, holed up in a warm ice fishing house in January makes for a great time–everywhere you look, ice fishing is in full swing. January is the best time for ice fishing in Minnesota, and it can lead to some great catches.


February is the last month of walleye season for many of the inland waters of Minnesota. Each fish species has an open season, but only some carry a closed-season label. Lake Minnetonka has a chance of big fish in February. The ice fishing season in Minnesota during February ice fishing is winding down slowly but isn’t entirely done yet, and there are still a few more ice fishing trips to get in. It’s not the best time for ice fishing in Minnesota, but February can come close.


March’s ice conditions can impact access to the lakes. It can shut the season out early when the ice starts to break down because of an early thaw. March, however, can bring excitement for many anglers. Some parts of Minnesota allow ice houses until March 31st, but you’ll find that in others, they must be removed by March 21st or earlier. Be sure to check the rules of your location.

March is known as a great season for catching sunfish and perch. Since March is a transition period for many fish species, they can move miles away from where they were. This causes a need for additional food during those final stages of gestation and leads to a lot of bites in March. The warming temperatures mean the end of the ice fishing season in Minnesota.

The Winner: January

January is the best time to go ice fishing in Minnesota, but it isn’t the only month where you’ll have a great time. Ice fishing season in Minnesota can stretch to March with the right weather and thick ice.

If you’re new to ice fishing and want to know more, try booking an experienced guide like Set the Hook before you head out on the ice. The best time for ice fishing in Minnesota can be from when the lakes freeze over to the end of the season, and each trip leads to great memories.