December 25, 2016

Chainsaws And Ice Fishing. Is There A Better Way?

Chainsaws and Ice Fishing

So you're going ice fishing, and you want to know if it's safe to use your chainsaw. Not just safe for you, but safe for the environment. You want the next generation to be able to ice fish too! Well, lets take a look at the subject and see if a chainsaw, is really the best tool for you.


Things To Consider

Before you so much as set foot onto the ice, there are a few key points you need to consider. Such as, convenience, safety, environmental damage, location, maintenance and if there are any better options. I mean, if you can go with something safer, why wouldn't you?


You are going to be walking or driving out to your fishing spot on unpredictable ice, so weight and size matter. Plus extra gas and your sharpening tools. The more portable the chainsaw is, the less powerful it may be. So find yourself a good balance between the two.


Many times you will have your family with you, and you know that safety is a top concern. Chainsaw accidents According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 28,500 chainsaw injuries in 1999.

More than 36 percent were injuries to the knees and legs. And according to OSHA, in 2012, 243 people died in chainsaw related incidents.

Ice thickness is not always optimal for a chain of teeth to be spinning into it. According to The farmer's almanac, at three inches, it's safe for one person on foot so I wouldn't try to cut into it at that point.

At four inches it's safe for a group single file. So If you're by yourself, proceed with caution and fish on! At seven and a half inches, the ice can hold a small car! So if the Ice is between five, and seven and a half inches, you can use that chainsaw and Ice fish to your heart's content.

Ice fishing in itself has some risks of its own. Everything from carbon monoxide poisoning from heater misuse, to frostbite. So you have to decide if you really want the added risks of a chainsaw on top of that.

For more Ice fishing safety tips and tricks you can watch:

Environmental Damage

The oil from some chainsaws can be harmful! And illegal in some places. Always know the laws in your area and know your chainsaw. Some people have taken to using vegetable oil instead of traditional harsh oils.


In many places, the use of a chainsaw on the ice is illegal because of the oil. You also want to have a map of the body of water you plan to fish on. If there are any hot springs, or currents, that can compromise the stability of the ice.


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With a chainsaw, you end up pulling a lot of water into your tool. So you always have to thoroughly clean and dry it. If you don't keep up with it, you will end up with a rusty tool no longer fit to use.

You also have to know how to sharpen your blade. Just because you are technically cutting through water, does not mean that it will not dull your blade.

Alternative Options

There are two different options traditionally used in ice fishing. One, is called an Auger. Two different types one, being hand powered, and the other being motor powered. Both being safer and easier to use than the chainsaw.

The other is a spud bar. This does not work so well if you are on thicker ice, as it will take a long time. But also less safe on thinner ice because of the risk or shattering the ice you're standing on.

The more you know

Knowledge really is power. Before you step foot on the ice, always be prepared. Research before you go out, and make sure you have taken all the necessary steps for safety on the ice.

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So here are a few steps you can take to keep safe if you choose to go with a chainsaw.

  • Keep both hands on the chainsaw at all times.
  • Wear thick pants or chaps.
  • Be sure to clear away any small branches, stones, or other impairments from the ice surface.
  • Turn the saw off, or engage the blade brake any time you are mobile. If you're not cutting, it should not be moving.
  • Always start the saw from the flat hard surface of the ice. Drop starting is not a safe option.
  • Be sure you are at least 10 feet away from any fuel when starting, and using your chainsaw.

So now you know a little more about ice fishing and chainsaws! From on fishermen to another, Good luck!

Read more:


I'm Brenda. I have a great love with fishing and the wonderful fish species. I created the website - Fall For Fishing - as an outlet for my love of Fishing and I hope that you may find some enjoyment learning from my Fishing articles.

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