Can an Ice Fishing Auger be used for Dirt ?

Ice fishing is a thrilling experience. You spend a weekend at a frozen lake to get some of the most exquisite fish that nature has to offer. It is fun to drill a hole in the ice using an ice auger. However, since most of us don’t go ice fishing every day, you may want to utilize the ice auger for other purposes. You may think – can an ice fish auger be used for dirt ?

It is better not to use an ice fishing auger for dirt. Ice fishing augers have sharp blades which get damaged while digging into the soil. This occurs due to small rocks or pebbles in the dirt. Once damaged, ice fishing augers are unusable for ice digging. Or the blunt blades can crack the ice making it dangerous for people on it. However, most ice augers come with changeable blades. Hence, you can use a set of blades for ice fishing and another set for soil digging.

You need to know all about your ice fishing augers. If you are new to ice fishing or want to use your ice fishing auger for other activities, read this article. We bring to you in-depth know-how about your ice auger.

What are Ice Augers ?


An ice auger is a tool with a spiral blade for drilling into ice. It is popularly used by ice fishing enthusiasts to cut open an ice covering. Ice augers drill circular holes in the ice. Larger ice augers need two to three people to run them. The ice auger blades come in various diameters – starting from four inches to as large as eighteen inches. Augers come in various depth sizes. They can be used to drill as less as three to four feet. Or as deep as 10 to 12 feet.

The tip of an ice auger is known as ‘flighting’. It is a pointed head that cuts, scrapes, or removes material underneath it. The blades that follow the flighting are sharp and further cut in the ice opened by the tip. The blades increase in diameter from the tip end to the tail. As the blade is rotated into the ice, the debris from the hole moves out from the tip into the blade and then outside.

Augers are found for various purposes. Some of them are:

  • For drilling into ice for fishing and water.
  • For drilling into the wood for maple syrup
  • For drilling into the soil for installing fences and posts
  • For collecting scientific samples from soil, rocks, ice, etc
  • For planting saplings and trees.

Augers are powered manually or through motors. Manual augers are like hand drills. They come with small diameter blades and can be used by one person. Power augers are driven by gas or propane engines. The smaller ones can be manned by one operator. The larger ones need two to three people. Some augers are mounted on a truck and need specialized engineers to drill through. These are mainly used for scientific and expeditionary purposes.

Auger blades

Augers come with different blades according to their purpose. An ice auger has sharp, fine blades. They cut through the ice without cracking it. You can either go for a manual ice auger or choose a power ice auger. However, it may be difficult to start a propane ice auger in the cold. An alternative to it is battery-driven augers. They start quickly and are re-chargeable.

Soil augers have strong, robust blades that are less sharp than their ice auger counterparts. They have to cut through soil that may have stones and pebbles. Thus these blades are made robust. Since soil or dirt does not crack like ice, these blades are made less sharp. If soil-based augers are used for ice, they may just crack it. They also come in manual and power options.

Fortunately, augers are available with detachable blades. So you can keep two sets of blades for your work – one for ice fishing and another for digging into the earth. This will save your blades and let them remain usable for a long time.

What to look for in an ice auger ?


If you are planning to get yourself an ice auger, there are plenty of points to consider before going for one. Some of these are:

Blade size

Select your ice auger blade as per the hole you want to cut open. Usually, an eight to ten-inch hole is good enough for two anglers. As understood from above, it is better to get yourself a detachable blade ice auger.

Mode of operation

A manual ice auger needs a lot of labor but is free from machine-related hassles. Propane or gas-based ice augers are easier to work with provided you can start them in cold weather. Many such ice augers come with a cold starting option. You can even go for an electric ice auger if you have a power supply near you.

Sound emissions

Ice augers can be noisy. Select a device that has low operational sound. Check the local regulations on sound emissions for the area you plan to use your power ice auger. Low sound ice augers may be expensive though.


Power ice augers can be heavy. It is a good idea to select a lightweight ice auger for fishing purposes. They are easy to operate and carry around. If you go for a heavy, high-power ice auger, it may drill efficiently but may be difficult to use.

Servicing and spare parts

Choose an ice auger whose spare parts are easy and less expensive to get. It is good to go for a brand that has multiple spare part options. Also, remember to check your neighborhood for its service stations.


Your ice auger blade may chip away or your motor may stop working. So chose an auger which provides you maximum warranty. You may also purchase an extended warranty for your ice auger if you plan to use it extensively.


As you read we do not recommend an Ice Fishing Auger be used for dirt as the blades would get damaged. Ideally you get one with detachable blades allowing you use the appropriate blades for dirt and ice.

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