Can You Have a Fire Ice Fishing ?

Ice fishing on a frozen lake is a favorite hobby for many. It is a winter sport that helps get the best fish nature has to offer. The temperatures at frozen lakes go down drastically. You need to keep yourself warm. Hence you may wonder if you can have a fire while ice fishing?

Yes, you can build a fire while you are ice fishing. Before doing so, check the local laws if you are allowed to build a fire on the frozen water body. Build a fire where the ice is at least six inches to a foot deep. To start a fire, use dry twigs and wooden logs. Use dirt or mud to cover the bottom of the wood teepee. Remember to put out the fire when you leave.

When on ice fishing, the weather can get really cold. You may feel chilly and need to warm up. A fire in such a situation is very helpful. If you plan to have a fire during ice fishing, this article will guide you on how to do so. Read on to find out the basic nuances of having a fire during ice fishing.

Fire and ice fishing

The words fire and ice-fishing seem to be antonyms. The inexperienced may think that it can be dangerous to build a fire during an ice fishing trip. Though this may be correct not all the time. You can have a fire during ice fishing. It is especially helpful to keep you warm and have extra light during a cloudy day. The experienced anglers build a fire alongside during the entire ice fishing session.

Having said so, you need to be careful while building a fire during ice fishing. If you start a fire where the ice is sparse, you can end up collapsing into melted ice. This is dangerous and life-threatening – both to you and others. Or if you don’t douse the fire and clean it up before you leave, it can contaminate the waters when the ice melts in the summers.

The heat from any fire is pointed upwards. When you build a fire at ice fishing, the heat rises to the top and escapes. This prevents the ice from melting. Also, the ash falls on the bottom of your fire teepee forming an insulating layer. Many people also use a green wood base at the bottom to prevent the fire from heating up the ice.

What can you do with a fire during an ice fishing trip ?

There are several uses of fire during an ice fishing trip. Some of them are:

Keeping you warm

At times, the cold lake with chilly winds can get to your bones. At such times, you will need to heat yourself up. A fire in such situations is helpful. You can open your jacket and heat yourself up. It is both comfortable and relaxing.

Making yourself a cup of coffee

Yes, you can do that on your ice fishing trip. Just heat up some water in a kettle and prepare yourself a piping hot cup of coffee. If you have the supplies, you can also try some instant soup to your liking.

Cook food

If you plan to stay for a longer duration, you can cook food over the fire. A stew, broth, roasted fish, or a stake is the ideal companion to the setup. You can also warm up your drinking water while you have a fire during the fishing trip.

What do you need to build an ice fishing fire ?

You will need a couple of things to start an ice fishing fire. The important ones are listed below:

Dry wood

You need to select the fuel for the ice fishing fire. It should be crackling dry and catch fire easily. Have an assortment of twigs and logs to start and sustain the fire. It is better to carry a basic quantity with you and gather the rest of it from the ice fishing site.

Firelighter or matches

You will need a fire source to start your fire. You can carry a box of waterproof matches or a lighter to start the fire. You can also consider having an old newspaper along with as a fire starter.

Fire poker

If you want to have the fire burning for a long, keep a fire poker with you. You can gently rake the fire occasionally for the wood to catch fire.

Metal container

If you feel that your fire can go out of control, better to carry a metal container. You can use a metal drum or barrel for the purpose. If it is tall, then consider puncturing a few holes at the sides of the metal drum. For the fire to keep getting the air it needs to keep going.



If you plan to have the fire directly on ice, make the base using green wood. They don’t catch fire easily and serve as an insulating layer between the heat and the ice.

How to start the fire

It is a fairly simple process. The steps are:

Spot selection

Select a spot that has solid ice cover. The ice thickness should be at least six inches. It is better if you select a spot that has over one-foot ice thickness. You can find the ice thickness when you drill the ice for an opening.


Arrange the wood

Arrange the wood as a teepee. Keep the twigs in between the bigger branches of the teepee. For extra protection, cover the ice with mud or dirt before you start arranging the wood on ice. If you are using a metal drum, put it on top of a few flat stones. There will be air passage between the bottom of the drum and the ice, protecting it.

Start the fire

Light up an old newspaper or something similar. Insert it into the smaller twigs within the teepee. If the wood is dry, it will catch fire within a few minutes. Once the fire starts, keep adding extra wood when the fire starts reducing. Poke it occasionally.


To conclude

You can build when ice fishing should local laws allow you to, but care must be taken to ensure the ice has sufficient thickness and that you are comfortable controlling the fire.

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