When winter hits it doesn’t keep us inside, we just switch up our gear and pack up sleds to tow behind the snow machine. Fish Alaska’s Editors check out the best ice fishing gear each year and put it to the test. Have a look below for items we liked out on the ice this winter.
ION X Electric Ice Auger
This auger is very convenient and easy to use. No more hauling gas, or working up a sweat with a hand-crank auger. The Ion X uses a 36-volt lithium battery that does an amazing job punching holes through the ice. Our testers drilled 13 holes in 12-inch-thick ice. The battery was still running strong, requiring about 10 seconds each, using either the 8- or 10-inch wide augers. The desired auger size was easy to switch out, as well as an optional extension bit. This product was a definite favorite and a game-changer for our testers.
This lure is very life-like with exceptional action, and it drives rainbow trout, char, lake trout, northern pike and burbot crazy in Alaska lakes. It can be cast or vertically jigged, perfect for searching out fish through an ice hole or in open water. The wings on the lure open each time it falls through the water column and that causes it to glide. Or you can prevent the wings from opening so you can quickly drop back onto fish, and open them back up with a sharp snap. When you snap the rod upwards a couple feet, it causes the wings to open and close rapidly and it looks like a disoriented baitfish.The opening and closing of the wings also mimic the gill action of a baitfish, as well as create predator-attracting noise. It comes in three sizes and multiple patterns which incorporate UV and Glow. This is one of the more innovative lures we have seen in quite some time.
Daiwa TRIFORCE “Shorty” Casting Rod
Daiwa TRIFORCE “Shorty” rods are available in both spinning and casting configurations. They are great weapons for larger Arctic char, burbot and lake trout-sized fish. Our tester has used them for several years with lures ranging from 1/16-ounce leadheads to big tube jigs to 2/5-ounce spoons. They are very versatile, durable ice rods. If an angler had three or four of these, each rigged with different lures, he or she would be well prepared for lakers, char and burbot on the ice. At 36 inches long and rated for 4-to 12-pound-test, these have enough length to absorb the huge head shakes of giant lakers, yet they have the lifting power needed to turn such fish up into the ice hole.