Are you planning on going ice fishing once winter sets in and the waters start freezing over? Before you even set foot on the ice, you need to consider a few key factors. One of the things you need to prepare for is how you can cut the ice properly to make a hole for fishing.
We’ve heard of cutting ice with a chainsaw, but is it safe to do so? It is, but only if you do it correctly! With that said, read on as I talk about how you can cut ice using your chainsaw.
Cutting Ice With a Chainsaw
Before I get into how you can cut ice with a chainsaw, be acquainted with your local laws first. In various areas, using a chainsaw to cut ice on lakes and rivers is illegal because of the environmental damage it brings. Besides this, these rules are imposed for the safety of the angler and other people nearby.
Know where to drill a hole as well. Consider the ice thickness and the safety of using a chainsaw to prevent any injuries or falling into the ice if it were too thin. You should also be sure that you drill a hole in places that aren’t near shallow areas or hot springs, or where there are endangered species and irritable neighbors!
If ever chainsaws aren’t allowed to cut through the ice in your area, there are alternatives to it. You can go for specialized ice-cutting tools such as ice augers, which are used for cutting circulation holes in the ice. These tools create holes with a diameter of up to eight inches without needing oil or batteries.
Another method is to use an ax for cutting through ice, though this will require a ton of work and you’re better off using special ice-cutting tools.
If ever your area allows the use of chainsaws, here are the ways to get started:
1. Prepare the Gear
You don’t only need a chainsaw to cut through the ice! Here are the other items you will need:
- Typical fishing equipment for ice fishing after drilling the hole
- Protective gear against the weather and while you are using the chainsaw
- A high-quality chainsaw with non-slip handles and efficient performance made for ice-cutting
- Small accessories such as spoon-like products to scoop any excess ice from the hole, as well as a bucket to collect the ice
2. Finding a Spot
The next thing to do is to find a good spot to drill an ice fishing hole. Beyond what I have mentioned above, you also need to consider an area where fish are most abundant.
You can use a sonar device to search for good underwater activity so you won’t have to drill multiple homes and test waters every few minutes. A sonar device can also identity water thickness for safety, so you won’t drill in weak spots.
When you found a good spot where fish are most abundant, drill a hole two feet away from the area to avoid scaring the fish.
One should also consider when they are fishing and drilling a hole. I highly recommend that you start your ice fishing trip in the morning or right before sunset. This is when most fish are most active, and it will be much safer to drill a hole with a chainsaw when there is more light.
3. Drilling the
Next up is to drill the hole with your chainsaw. You can proceed to drill the hole the same way you would use the chainsaw with a tree. If you haven’t used a chainsaw before, learn the waist handle it safely and practice on dry land to prevent injuries and accidents.
Before you cut into the ice, prepare the chainsaw by cleaning the top part with soap and hot water. This will remove oil from the surface, which may pollute waters and poison fish. You can also use canola or vegetable oil to fill it, which is more environment-friendly.
Use the long bar for your chainsaw as ice will be thick. Once prepared, carefully cut the ice down by inserting its blade into the surface using slow movements.
There will be slight resistance but don’t allow it to overpower you. However, do NOT push very hard, as this can cause accidents and you may be surprised when your chainsaw bar reaches the water.
Be prepared as the chainsaw kicks out water while cutting it and position yourself accordingly to prevent getting wet. You can approximate the size of the holes you create or measure it with a ruler before cutting. Six to eight inches is the most ideal size.
Once you have cut through the ice, use an ice bar or pick when extracting larger ice out. Or, you can push the ice blocks underneath the surface to prevent it from sliding away and hitting someone.
Also, you may have to do multiple drills, depending on your preference and luck. Just be sure that the holes are far apart from one another to prevent the ice from weakening.
4. What Happens After?
Once you have finished using the chainsaw, switch it off properly and dry it to prevent it from rusting and freezing over. Keep it in a dry area and its casing while you fish!
You can still learn more about cutting ice with a chainsaw for ice fishing in this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
Using a chainsaw to cut ice through for your fishing trip can be dangerous if done incorrectly. That’s why you have to learn all about what to consider, from the ice quality and thickness down to the convenience and maintenance matters of your chainsaw! Once you do, there won’t be any worrying about damage or injuries.
I hope that this article on cutting ice with a chainsaw helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and begin preparing the right equipment and knowledge for your ice fishing trip this winter.