Can You Use a Chainsaw for Ice Fishing ?

Ice fishing is a unique experience, it involves fishing through an ice hole in the cold weather. You get to catch the most delicious fish that is usually not available in the market. Ice fishing involves cutting a hole into the ice. This step is important and many struggle to make the perfect hole for themselves. You may wonder if you can use a chainsaw for cutting open an ice hole for fishing.

Yes, you can use a chainsaw to cut a hole in the ice for ice fishing. It is easier to cut a hole in the ice with a chainsaw. The manual methods take time and effort. You need to know how to operate a chainsaw for cutting wood. With some practice, you will be able to make the perfect hole with a chain saw in the ice for ice fishing. Several people use this technique for the purpose.


It is important to know the nuances of cutting ice with a chainsaw. There are several factors such as environmental considerations, local laws, and the process of cutting the ice that you will need to know. If you are planning to use a chainsaw in your next ice fishing expedition, read this article before you delve into the practical aspect. This article is useful for both beginners and pros.

Chainsaw and ice


A chainsaw is a portable saw which is powered by a gasoline or an electric motor. This saw is mounted over a guide bar that is rotated over it at high speeds. A chainsaw is a power tool that has a wide range of applications. It was primarily developed to cut trees at a quick rate. A chain saw has various parts. The major ones are:


It is traditionally a gasoline-driven motor that powers the chain rotation over the drive bar.

Drive mechanism

Typically a centrifugal clutch and sprocket transfer power to the chainsaw.

Drive bar

A strong, extended bar that supports the rotating chain saw over itself.

Chain saw

It is the cutting tool of the system. A chainsaw has small, sharp-edged teeth connected in a flexible chain pattern. When run over a surface at high speed, it ends up cutting the surface.

Chain brake

it is one of the safety features of the chainsaw. It stops or reduces the speed of chain rotation.

A chainsaw is useful for cutting ice as well. Ice fishers use it to easily cut into ice towards making a fishing hole. A chainsaw is an easy option for cutting into the ice as it takes less effort and time to do the activity. This leaves you with ample time and energy to do ice fishing and enjoy your trip. There are several chainsaws available that are adapted for cutting into ice.

Factors to consider before using a chain saw in ice fishing

Before getting into how to use a chainsaw for cutting ice on an ice fishing trip, let’s first consider the factors which surround this whole idea.

Environmental factors

While using a chainsaw, it is possible that chainsaw oil leaks into the ice. Or that it makes a lot of noise. These factors cause an environmental concern at many ice fishing sites. Always ensure that your chainsaw does not leak any oil and produces less sound.

Local restrictions

Due to your and other fishers’ safety concerns, ice fishing sites don’t allow chainsaws. At times, the ice thickness is not enough to support a big hole. Or the chainsaw operator may not be experienced enough to cut ice through a power device. Hence check the local laws before using a chainsaw at an ice fishing site.

Practice using a chainsaw first

If you are a novice using a chainsaw, do not attempt to cut ice with it. Rather, practice on the soil first. Unless you know how to cut horizontal surfaces with a chainsaw, it may be difficult to cut ice using it.

Maintaining a chainsaw

A chainsaw has metal parts. If you use it to cut ice, it will accumulate water on them. This leads to rust. Always remember to clean and dry a chainsaw so that it does not have any water left over it. Open its parts and dry it with a rag. Reassemble it and wrap it in a dry towel or an air-tight bag.

How to use a chainsaw to cut ice


Cutting ice with a chainsaw is pretty easy. Just follow the below steps to cut into the ice:

Select the spot

First, select the spot where you want to make the opening. It is better to choose a smooth surface than a rugged one. Demarcate the shape of the hole on the ice. It can be a square or rectangular-shaped hole. It is rather difficult to cut a circular hole using a chainsaw.

Make a hole using a spade

To start, make a small hole at the edge of your marking. This will allow you to insert the chainsaw’s drive bar into the ice. It does not have to be a big hole – just enough to put in the drive bar.

Start cutting the ice at 45°

Insert the chainsaw’s drive bar into the hole and start cutting it. Hold the tool in such a way that it is at 45° with the ice surface. Cut at a constant rate to make a straight line.

Cut at 90° at the edges

When you approach an edge, hole the chainsaw at 90° and turn it to the next side. Continue cutting the ice as in the previous step to cut open the next side. Use variable speed at the edges if needed.

Push the cut ice underneath

Once all the four sides are cut, push the cut ice underneath the solid ice to clear the opening for fishing. You can also use stick mounted fishing net to remove the smaller ice pieces from the water surface.


We have confirmed that a chainsaw can be used for ice fishing and provided you with a guide on how it can be done. Please also read our other articles on ice fishing to help you in your journey.

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