How Far Apart Should Ice Fishing Holes be ?

Ice fishing is a great experience on its own. People drill holes in frozen lakes and rivers to get the best fish that is available. You need to cut holes in the ice before you can start ice fishing. Many a time people cut more than one hole to increase their chances of catching fish, or several people do ice fishing together. In such cases, you may wonder how far apart ice fishing holes should be.

As a general rule, ice fishing holes should be five to six feet apart from each other. This is to avoid the fishing tackles from getting entangled with each other. This is especially true when a fish bites the bait of one or more tackles. Also, drilling holes close to each other increases the chances of the ice caving in. Or if the ice remains intact, people moving around on the ice can trip on one of the holes and fall down.

Ice fishing holes are an important aspect of the whole ice fishing adventure. You should know where to drill and the spacing in between each drill. If you are a novice or not getting enough catch, this article is for you. Read on to find out all about the spacing between ice fishing holes.

Ice fishing and ice holes

You need to drill holes in the ice for ice fishing. It is generally done using an auger. The auger size decides the diameter of the hole which is cut into the ice. Once you drill a hole in the ice, you can use it to catch fish. At times, your ice fishing hole location determines how your catch will be – good or average. In such scenarios, people cut multiple holes at various locations.

Ice holes should be located at least five to six feet apart. This ensures the safety and better fishing experience. The main reasons for doing so are:

The ice fishing tackles don’t get entangled

This distance will ensure that the ice fishing tackles don’t get entangled with each other. When a fish bites the bait of a tackle, the fisher needs to outwit the fighting fish and get it on the surface. In such situations, it is possible that the neighboring tackles get tangled up. If you use an ice camera, then ensure that the camera hole is at least two feet away from the tackle hole. This avoids the submerged camera from getting entangled with the line.

There is space for people to walk through

If you cut holes five to six feet apart, it will leave enough space for the other people to walk through. This is important as you or your buddies may not be sitting all the time. Otherwise, people may just trip over an ice hole and have a nasty fall.

To avoid the ice from caving in

Drilling holes in the ice weaken it. While drilling holes, minute cracks or fractures develop in the ice. If you drill too many holes close to each other, it reduces the ice strength. If someone passes too close to these holes, it is possible that the ice will cave in. this is a serious life risk.


Patterns for cutting holes in the ice

You may want to drill multiple holes in the ice to maximize your catch. Or you may want to find out which location is giving you maximum fish bites. You can do so by drilling multiple holes in several ways. Some of them are:

Drilling holes in a line

You can drill holes in a straight line keeping them five to six feet apart. This is a methodical way of testing which hole or location has fish underneath.

Drilling holes in a zig-zag pattern

This is similar to drilling holes in two lines. The holes in each line are staggered with respect to each other. This technique is useful when you want to test the fish at various depths of a frozen lake or river.

Drilling holes in a cluster

This technique is used when you know that certain parts of the frozen lake or river offer a better chance of fishing than others. Here, you need to drill a few holes in a cluster at a few spots simultaneously. This allows you to find out the best spot for you.

Drilling holes in a grid fashion

You can also drill holes in a grid-like manner. It is useful for covering a big area. This technique is helpful when you don’t know anything about the frozen water body.

Tips for cutting holes for ice fishing


We have collected a few tips for cutting holes for your ice fishing adventure. We hope you find them useful:

Work in a group

Cutting holes in ice is a tiring job. So it is better to do so in groups. It also helps you plan and execute in a far better way.

Start early

If you want a good catch, start early and get the best spots for yourself. Do not wait for broad daylight as by then others will occupy the good spots.

Don’t allow your ice holes to re-freeze

Keep cleaning the thin layer of ice that will keep forming over the water in the ice hole. You can also consider covering the hole or putting some hot water in it occasionally.

Mark your holes when you are done

This is important to avoid any accidents. You should mark the holes you made so that others don’t trip and fall due to them. Falling over ice is a nasty experience and people end up breaking their bones.

In Conclusion


We understood that the ice holes should be cut keeping a proper distance from one another. This keeps us safe and keeps our fishing lines from getting entangled with one another. For multiple holes, there are a few patterns that you can try out. We hope that you find the article useful for your next ice fishing adventure. Wishing you all the best!

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