How to prevent ice over on an ice fishing hole?

I am looking for a cheap lightweight way to generate enough heat to stop the formation of a skin of ice forming on an ice fishing hole. I tried using the element from a pair of electric socks, 2 “D” cells, and that was not enough to keep an eight inch hole free of ice crystals. Maybe if I used 5 or 6 elements it might have worked. I have tried to think of chemical compounds that generate heat, but how to deliver the heat to the water and keep the hole free from obstructions eludes me. Cheap and lightweight are key, I don’t want to lug a car battery out on the ice. Any ideas?

Go to a feed store or farm supply store [or look on the internet]. There are plenty of devices for floating in stock tanks to keep the surface from freezing over.

I have it on good authority from a person who pays attention to survivalist types that a Y-shaped stick will be just the ticket to keep an ice-hole open for a while…

I’ve seen a device in fishing catalogs that burns charcoal and sits down in the hole. The heat keeps the water from iceing up.

Check with Cabela’s.

A few years back when I lived aboard a sailboat, several other boats in my marina used a device that blowed air bubbles though at tube placed in the water all around the boat to prevent freeze-up. Perhaps you could rig something out of a aquarium air pump and tubing that would agitate the water enough to prevent freezing.

That always works for me! :smiley:

What do you mean by icing up??

If you mean overnight you can cover the hole with plastic and pile up snow on the plastic.

If you mean while you are fishing just keep your line moving. Put a piece of paper on your line and the wind will do the rest.

Unless you are using tip ups. I don’t have any experience with them.

      • You mean like ice fishing? The way I heard it, most people either stick a partially inflated beach ball, or a (tapered) bucket with holes into the hole. The next day either can be removed easily. - MC

justwannano - I don’t know where you ice fish, but here in Wisconsin, moving your monofilament line around the hole will not keep it from freezing up (although I think think the OP is talking more about what most people would consider “slushing up” - it doesn’t freeze completely over it just gets a bunch of slush and ice crystals in the way.) He does mention a “skin” of ice though, which sounds rather thin to me.

Sn-man - Check out Gary M and starfish’s responses, I think they’re more on the trail of what you’re talking about. As to tip-ups, I believe the new plastic, flat round ones that cover the holes do a fairly good job.

I’ll send an email to Sledman, he does much more ice fishing than I’d ever care to do.



It would indeed be a long day if the hole froze over while fishing. Sure you’ll get some ice over,big deal. Thats what your ice scoop is for. The piece of paper keeps the line moving and the line will not,Well most of the time, freeze solid.
Maybe Sn-man has an ice shanty. Can’t help you there either.

If you are not using a shanty be it portable(clam) or semi-portable(move it only when you have to) this is a tough call. A small heater attached to a propane tank in one of these shelters would eliminate the problem.

Open air:

GaryM’s idea about about a charcoal burn sounds interesting but the introduction of something giving off that much heat in your hole would probably be a bad thing with 1 or 2lb test.

Your idea with the elements from socks is very intriguing and might be your ticket with(in the words of Tim Taylor) more power.

However, I think you might be stuck with scooping the whole every so often if you are fishing on a cold day. Of course catching a lot of fish through the whole will do wonders for you also…

As far as tip ups the round flat ones that Gazoo mentions (at least the Igloo’s work FANTASTIC!

Not a lot of help sorry. But there is no substiture for a portable shanty. They are a tad spendy though.