Do Ice Fishing Hole Covers Work? | Worth The Investment

The world of fishing accessories is filled with dozens and dozens of products that have come and gone over the years. Ice fishing hole covers have been used since ice fishing was invented. First Nations people found them helpful, and so do anglers today.

Fishing hole covers do work and you can use them for a variety of purposes. Such as preventing the hole from entirely freezing to blocking out all light to keep the conditions regular for the fish. Fishing hole covers are made from various materials and serve many goals for ice anglers.

Even though they seem like one more thing to keep track of on the water, fishing hole covers are worth the investment.

Ice Fishing Hole Covers Work

Ice fishing hole covers should be an investment that ice anglers strongly consider. They can make your life easier if you’re willing to keep track of them and use them.

1. Keep Your Presentations Natural

Believe it or not, the light that enters the water through the holes you drill can make a difference. Keeping appearances natural helps you land the most fish.

As a result, if fish see your lures and the light from your hole, it can cause them to shy away. By using an ice fishing hole cover, you can keep your line in the water but keep out the light from above the surface.

You’ll still be able to feel when a fish is taking your bait and quickly remove the cover in order to set the hook and fight the fish.

The cover can help you land some of the more skittish fish that know something isn’t exactly right.

The bigger fish are often the most skeptical, so keeping everything dark can give you a great advantage in an already challenging situation.

Since ice fishing was invented, ice anglers have understood the importance of keeping too much light from entering the hole.

It’s not as much of an issue for anglers fishing at night due to the natural darkness, but if you’re fishing during the day or in a shelter that’s highly lit, you’ll want to make sure you’re prioritizing an ice fishing hole.

Keep Your Presentations Natural

2. Prevent the Hole from Freezing

First Nations people would cover their ice fishing holes to not only block out the light but also prevent their holes from freezing.

If you’ve found a great spot right where fish congregate, a fishing hole cover is going to keep the hole wide open, so you can continue to return to the same place time after time.

These covers will help keep the water open for quite a long time. If you have minimal fuel or battery for your auger or just want to keep the hole open for a later date, use an ice fishing hole cover.

They absorb the sunlight and keep the top of the hole completely unfrozen.

3. Stop Valuables from Falling Through the Ice

Most ice anglers have had an experience where they drop a phone, car keys, or fishing tackle through the ice with no hope of getting it back.

An ice fishing hole cover is going to give you peace of mind that you will not lose anything in the water.

In ice fishing, we often have to quickly stand up to get another rod or set the hook on a tip-up, and that’s when the accidents happen.

Phones or other valuables sitting in our lap will slip right into the hole. Get yourself an ice fishing hole cover! You could save yourself some frustration and money.

4. Protect Your Tip-Up Setup

If you’re used to fishing with tip-ups, you’re aware of the challenges that can come as a result.

A tip-up is a fishing method that allows anglers to suspend bait below the ice and monitor a tension-set flag to determine if a strike happened.

When a fish takes the bait, the flag raises, and anglers hand-line the fish.

A problem with tip-up fishing is the hole can easily freeze! It doesn’t matter if you’re using a bucket-top tip-up or a traditional cross-beam style tip-up; both methods are susceptible to freezing.

A thermal ice cover is going to allow you to keep your tip-up set regardless of the weather.

Snow and wind cause drilled holes to freeze over fairly quickly, and it’s extremely frustrating to have to continually clear the hole of slush and newly formed ice.

A thermal ice cover will let you leave the tip-up alone until you have to check the bait or you get a strike.

5. Protect Your Permanent Ice Shanty

If you’re traveling with your permanent ice shanty, then you want to make sure you have your ice holes covered.

If you don’t, you’ll find that dust, debris, and precipitation can enter your ice house through the open holes as you’re driving down the road towing your shanty.

Make sure the holes are snug and secure. You don’t want anything entering your ice house that you usually would not want.

Protect Your Permanent Ice Shanty

Homemade Ice Fishing Hole Covers

Some companies make pre-made hole covers, but it’s fairly easy to make your own ice fishing hole cover. With some simple tools and waterproof material, you’ll have the perfect setup.

1. Use a Rubber Mat

If you have any black rubber workout mats or garage flooring, these work great. You can cut these in the shape and size of your auger diameter.

Give yourself a few extra inches around the outside, so you can place it over the hole. These rubber mats will absorb the heat from inside your shelter or from the sunlight outside.

Even if there is no sun, you’ll find that these rubber mats delay the freezing process by a large margin.

Many anglers will cut a one-inch by one-inch notch in the side of the mat to allow their line to move freely up and down in the water. This allows you to continue to jig with the hole still covered.

The rubber mats are good options if you’re hoping to keep your holes covered outside.

They’re heavy enough not to blow away in the wind. You can even set them below your tip-up so they don’t freeze to the ice.

Use a Rubber Mat

2. Use Black Foam 

If you’re looking for simple hole covers on the inside of your shelter, then some simple black styrofoam will do the job. These are extremely easy to make.

You can find some of the traditional blue styrofoam that you would find at any hardware store and use some spray paint to color it black.

Again, cut a few-inch hole in the side to allow for your line to move freely, and you’ll be in business.


Fishing hole covers aren’t going to make a bad ice angler successful, but they will help you in your effort to land more fish.

Some days, we need all the help we can get, and ice fishing hole covers could be the difference.

Whether you’re making one on your own or purchasing them from the store, they definitely help you while out on the ice.

They’ll keep your presentation natural, prevent your hole from freezing and prevent any of your valuables from falling into the water. You’ll realize their effectiveness as soon as you begin using them.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not freshwater fishing in the nearest creek or enjoying saltwater fishing by taking boats far in the ocean.

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