By Jeff Matura
Hand Power Ice Augers
Hand powered ice augers are the least expensive, and do a great job at cutting through the ice, especially the Strike Master Lazer. For occasional fishermen that don't log a lot of days on the hard stuff, this is probably the best choice. When selecting a hand auger you can save a lot of work and time by using the smallest diameter auger you can. The larger the diameter of the blade, the tougher a task it is to drill as you are moving more ice. So in my opinion it's very important when buying a hand auger to purchase a size of auger no bigger than it has to be.
Gas Powered Ice Augers
For those that spend a great deal of time on the ice, or fish lakes that are prone to thick ice, a gas-powered auger is the way to go. These augers can cut through the hard surface in seconds, allowing you more time to fish, and less time to rest your weary body. Being to quickly drill many holes also lets you lower your ice transducer into that many more holes in a given amount of time when you're trying to find the fish. The gas powered auger may be pricey, but they're worth it in my opinion. These augers also have good re-sale value.
Electric Ice Augers
Another powered auger is the electric auger which rely on a smaller lead acid deep cycle battery. The biggest disadvantage of an electric auger is the time required to recharge the battery, versus filling a small gas tank on a gas auger. The next issue is that a deep cycle battery looses power the colder it gets. If your looking to drill a lot of holes every time you hit the ice I would recommend a gas powered auger.
Ice Fishing Auger Size
When fishing for bluegills, crappie, and perch a 5" diameter ice auger will work for you just fine. Some ice fisherman will even use a 4" diameter auger for these smaller fish.
For ice fishing bigger walleye and northern I would go with a 7" to 8" ice auger diameter. I personally used a 7" ice auger for years when tipup fishing for northern and pulled many eight to thirteen pound northern through the 7" diameter hole without any problems.
Bottom line here is that the bigger diameter of the ice fishing auger you purchase the more work it will be for your arms or the engine to power the auger through the ice. Good luck ice fishing this winter and fish safe!
Jeff Matura has been fishing during the open water season and through the ice for over twenty years. The majority of his time fishing has been spent in the Midwest on lakes and rivers including the Mississippi River for crappie, walleye, and bass.
Be sure to visit his latest website for great deals and info on gas camping stoves along with Coleman Propane Stoves.