Brainerd Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing, a Brainerd Minnesota favorite Winter activity, and Brainerd, Minnesota is the ideal location to drill a hole and drop a line. Our Brainerd Lakes area is home to some of the best fishing lakes in the state, and we enjoy winter fishing just as much as we love open water fishing.

If you are staying at a Brainerd resort or working with a local ice house rental company, ask what equipment you will need. Many of the resorts and fish house rental companies provide some of the basic ice fishing equipment needed and offer services that will help prepare you for your Brainerd ice fishing experience. You might also consider ice fishing with one of our local fishing guides for an unforgettable, worry-free ice fishing experience.

As you prepare for your ice fishing excursion, keep ice safety in mind. Know the ice conditions for the lake you plan to fish. It is a good idea to check on ice conditions by visiting with a local bait shop or resort, and to check the ice thickness yourself once you arrive at your lake.

The Minnesota DNR issues some General Ice Thickness Guidelines and urges you to remember that there is no such thing as 100% safe ice. We also recommend having a first aid kit available.

Bookmark the Brainerd Lakes Area webcams to see ice conditions year round on some of your favorite lakes!

Ice Fishing Equipment Checklist:
Please note: This list is a guideline and is not intended to be inclusive. You may not need everything on this list, and you may want some additional equipment that is not listed.

  • Ice Auger – The ice auger is used to drill a hole in the ice.
  • Chisel or ice pick – Use a chisel to help keep your hole open as new ice forms or to re-open a previously drilled hole that has iced-over.
  • Ice fishing rod & reel – Ice fishing rods are typically much shorter than an open water rod. They range in length from 16 – 32 inches. The length and weight of the rod you will need varies by the type of fish you are trying to catch.
  • Cordless drill – A cordless drill can be useful when checking the ice thickness.
  • Tape measure – Another tool to help find the ice thickness.
  • Chair – It’s nice to have a place to sit. It is a common ice fishing practice to use a 5-gallon bucket to sit on.
  • Fish House – while not required, an Ice House can make your ice fishing experience more enjoyable by offering some shelter while you’re on the ice.
  • Ice fishing bobbers or tip-ups – These can be great visual aids to help alert you that a fish is on your line.
  • Ice scoop – Use the scoop to help keep your fishing hole open and your fishing line moving freely.
  • Bait – A little something to help the fish find your hook.
  • Heat source – a small heater or hand warmers (perhaps both!) can help take the chill away to make winter ice fishing a bit more enjoyable.
  • License – Remember to take your Minnesota fishing license and proper identification with you.
  • Refreshments - OK. We know this is not actually equipment, but it is a good idea to take with some refreshments--a warm thermos of coffee or hot chocolate or a refreshing malt beverage, perhaps? A little snack or two is always nice to have as well.