Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups of 2021 – Ultimate Round-up

For most people, ice fishing is a daring and hazardous sport. The truth is, there is nothing dangerous about it if you take the necessary precautions. Sitting on a frozen lake for hours to get that amazing catch is quite relaxing for some people. However, the situation is not exactly pleasant for everyone. 

Imagine a frozen lake with nobody in sight for miles. It’s you, your frozen breath, and chattering teeth unless some friends decide to accompany you. The hours of waiting are well spent in the company of some close friends and are truly worthwhile when you get a big catch.


Ice fishing is increasingly becoming popular in Northern America, especially tip-up fishing. Once considered the laziest form of ice fishing, tip-up fishing has become a key tactic for amateurs and professionals alike. 

If you are an ice fishing novice, who would like to add tip-up fishing in your angling skills, look no further. In this article, we have covered tip-up fishing in great detail. You will also find a list of some of the best ice fishing tip-ups that you will like using on your next fishing expedition. 

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Comparison of the Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups

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What Are Ice Fishing Tip-Ups and What Are They Used For? 

An ice fishing tip-up, also known as a fishing trap, is one of the most important tools in any ice angler’s gear. It offers a hands-free approach to fishing. There is no need for holding onto poles or planting them on an uneven surface.

A fishing trap consists of a base frame, a spool, a flag, and a hook and pulley system. The base is placed on the hole and dangles the bait with a hook and pulley on a spool of line beneath the ice. 

When the fish bites the bait and tries to escape, the spool spins, which in turn trips the flag above the ice. This indicates to the fisher that the bait is taken. Now it’s up to him to set the hook and pull the fish by hand. 

Contrary to a common misconception, there is nothing lazy about tip-up fishing. It is a versatile yet fun way of fishing. Nothing beats the excitement of seeing your flag go up. It is the cue to sprint and see what’s on the line. 

These can be used to get a number of advantages, including:

To Cover More Area 

Tip-ups are excellent tools for covering more water. You can set up multiple lines at the same time, which increases your chances of getting a bite. 

To Increase Efficiency 

Tip-ups have been around for a while. These days, they are more improved and efficient. Their bite triggers are quite sensitive and reliable, so there is little to no chance of a false alarm. 

For an Opportunity to Exercise 

As exciting as it is to see the flag of your tip-up going up, it also offers you with an exercising opportunity. While using a tip-up, you exercise a lot as you run from hole to hole to pull out your prey. 

To Enjoy High Versatility 


The use of fishing tip-ups is not just limited to any one species. They are perfectly capable of catching almost any fish.

For Increased Convenience 

They offer a more convenient way of enjoying your time outdoors. Just set it and forget it until the flag goes up. Then the action is all about being fast and furious. 

What Should I Look For When Buying Ice Fishing Tip-Ups?

There are different styles of ice fishing tip-ups in the current market. Each type has its own merits. The key to choosing the right one for yourself is carefully considering certain aspects. Some of the obvious factors are durability and weather resistance. 

But there is more to fishing traps than these basic considerations. Here are some specifics that you need to read before making your purchase. 


These are traditionally made using planks of hardwood. Nowadays, plastic tip-ups are available too. They are cheap and good but tend to bend or break very easily. Wooden tip-ups cost more but are more reliable than plastic ones.


The base is the most important component of any tip-up. When choosing one, be sure to select one that has a wide base. It needs to be stable, so it does not fall inside when fish take it. A wider base means more stability.


Trip Bar

A trip bar is the trigger mechanism of any fishing tip-up. It can be set from medium to high, depending upon the kind of fish you want to catch. A good tip-up has a sensitive and reliable trip bar that effectively prevents false flags. 


The flag of a tip-up is its indicator, which pops up to inform the fisherman when the bait is taken. Choose a model that offers a customizable flag option so you can have more fun with it. 

Bait Keeper Clip

A bait keeper clip is important for any fishing tip-up. It is useful in keeping the line under the board. It is very useful when you fish with live bait as they tend to trigger false alarms.


One important consideration in a tip-up is its storage. Some designs feature slots for storing the flag, rod, and spool safely. Others have a collapsible design and can be stacked on top of each other. 

Review of the Best Ice Fishing Tip-Ups

Ice fishing is as relaxing as any other fishing. But when you use fishing tip-ups, it becomes fun and exciting. To make sure your experience with them is wonderful, you need to choose a model that checks all the right boxes of suitability. 

With a huge range of designs available, it is natural to be confused. Below is a comprehensive list of the best options in the current market for you to consider. Go through the detailed discussion given below, and you might come across a model that works for you. 

Best Overall:Beaver Dam The Original

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  • Quite easy to set up 
  • Boasts a high-quality construction 
  • Equipped with a dual trigger system
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around 
  • Features a removable spool for cleaning and lubing 


  • Lacks a handle to reel in the line
  • Line cannot be removed from the line guide

What Recent Buyers Report

Anglers who have recently invested in this tip up report it to be a top-quality product. They are extremely satisfied with its reliable construction. The performance is another great aspect to talk about. People have found it to be extremely successful in attracting and trapping their prey. The traditional design is something that is loved by many. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is actually a classic. They have been in production for over 50 years and stood the test of time to prove that they actually work. Handcrafted using a pine base, this ice fishing tip-up has freeze-proof lubrication that ensures smooth operation even in the harshest weather. 

Lightweight and easy to set up, this is the top choice for anyone who wants to be a successful tip-up fisher. 

Who Will Use This Most

We find this to be the perfect tip-up module for every ice fisher. Amateurs and experts are both likely to benefit from using it. It is the perfect choice for people who want to set up multiple bait. Old and young alike are bound to find this a useful addition to their ice fishing gear. 

Bottom Line

If you are a fan of classics, then you will surely value it for its originality. In today’s fast-paced world, manufacturers still want it to be handcrafted. That is some pure dedication as they want people to have not just a tool, but also an experience. If this is enough to convince you, you should not be wasting any more time. 

Product Specs


Clearcoat wood finish & Aluminum tube bearings

Flag Height:


Spool Capacity:

150 ft

Runner-up:Frabill Arctic Fire

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  • Spool shaft is removable
  • Has a dual trip mechanism 
  • Features a tapered rail design
  • Very functional and easy to use 
  • Boasts an easy to spot yellow color 


  • Lacks a freeze-proof lubrication 

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers who have recently purchased and used this tip up are quite satisfied with its performance. They really like the all-plastic body with a rust-proof brass spool. They say that it works great and has a durable and stylish build. The tapered body is also an attractive feature. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This fishing tip-up features an all-plastic body that is very durable. Coming in a yellow color, it is hard to miss out once installed. It has a tapered rail design that is very functional for sizing your catch. It is very easy to set up because of its light weight. The metal spool has a lot of space for plenty of line. All in all, it is a satisfying model with all the necessary bells and whistles. 

Who Will Use This Most

This is a must-have product for beginners and professionals alike. The tapered body is perfect for having a friendly competition. Its easy to install design makes it a favored choice among most novice ice fishers. It is just the right material for a father to teach his offspring tip-up fishing. 

Bottom Line

If you are a person who prefers comfort and quality, then this is the right tool for you. It has a functional and lightweight design that is produced in a hard-to-miss yellow hue. Although it lacks freeze proofing, it is suitable for most weather conditions, making it a strong candidate for you to consider for yourself. 

Product Specs


All-plastic body with a rust-proof brass spool

Flag Height:


Spool Capacity:

150 ft

Best Ice Fishing Frabill Tip Up:Frabill Blackhawk Assault

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  • Convenient and easy to use 
  • Available in a variety of colors 
  • Sub-zero, low-temperature lubricant
  • Features a sturdy and durable design 
  • Equipped with a dual trigger for increased stability


  • Not corrosion-resistant 
  • Lacks customizability options 

What Recent Buyers Report

Ice fishers who have recently bought this tip up, like it for the versatility it presents. They like the pleasing color options it comes in. Those who have used it once swear by its performance. Some even went as far as to claim that it will replace all their wooden tip-ups because of the easy usage and functionality. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The dual trigger system that provides it better stability is what catches our eye. It is especially useful in windy situations when the chances of false flags are higher. The base is designed to balance out the entire tool so that it stays in one place. Coming at an affordable price tag, this is one convenient and efficient fishing tool you will like adding to your gear. 

Who Will Use This Most 

Since it combines convenience and functionality, it is a very useful product for most ice fishers. Anglers who are willing to set up more than one fishing tip-up will like it for the ease of use. People who have only just stepped into the world of tip-up ice fishing will also benefit from using this model. 

Bottom Line

A fisher looking for an effective and easy to set up will find this the best. It features a tapered lightweight design that is easy to carry around and setup. Its ruler makes it easy to measure your catch. The different color choices enable you to let your personal touch shine through. If you decide to buy it, it is bound to blow you away with its efficiency. 

Product Specs


Plastic and metal

Flag Height:


Spool Capacity:

300 ft

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Honorable Mention: Frabill 1664 Classic Tip-Up Wooden

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  • Has a dual trigger mechanism 
  • Works brilliantly in harsh conditions 
  • Features a high-quality wooden base
  • Equipped with a removable spool shaft 
  • Coated with a sub-zero low-temperature lubricant


  • Spool spins too freely
  • Does not come with a line 

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers who have recently bought this fishing tip-up have reported it as a satisfying device. They have had no problems with its functionality. They also like its solid construction based on high-quality parts. Being very easy to use, it is a well-liked model among its users who have been quite successful with it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is an ice fishing tip-up that features a traditional wooden design. It features a dual trigger system, a removable spool shift, and an ultra-glide spool shaft that ensures smooth and frictionless spooling performance. The sturdy model is ready to use out of the box. It works very well without breaking or showing a wear and tear effect. 

Who Will Use This Most

We find that this offers all the right features for a beginner to start practicing on. It is also great for people who want to level up their skill of tip up fishing. Being sturdy, it is also useful for people who are rough handlers and can’t hold on to a single object for a long time. Professional fishers will also like using it for the easy functionality it poses. 

Bottom Line

If you are an ice fisher who is treading around the waters of tip-up fishing, then you should seriously consider this model for yourself. It offers easy functionality and sturdiness that will help you learn the craft and become a better ice fisher in the long run. 

Product Specs


Wooden with metal spools

Flag Height:


Spool Capacity:

120 ft

Best Ice Fishing Polar Tip Up:HT Polar Therm Extreme Tip-Up

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  • Offers an excellent warranty that ensures long-term usage
  • Smooth-spool technology ensures the fish stick to the line for the longest time
  • Provides a very smooth operation that comes with good stealth and durability
  • Features a freeze and fog-proof material that comes in handy in many situations
  • Steel tube is made with a seamless design and is filled with a freeze-proof lubricant


  • Difficult to set up

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers couldn’t be happier with the results of this excellent fishing tip-up. The model is not only consistent but also offers excellent durability. Buyers love the smooth construction that includes a steel tube filled with freeze-proof lubrication. This ensures a very safe operation throughout. Moreover, users have praised the aluminum bearings that further enhance performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product is undoubtedly one of the most popular models in the market and for a good reason. It has been around for the last 50 years, and it has consistently delivered the best quality products to fishermen all over. Its exterior is fully windproof and foolproof, which means that it doesn’t let any water molecules or droplets penetrate the body.

It is also designed to cater to any type of weather. It features an anti-wind slot that comes in handy during breezy days. There is a steel tube that offers a seamless design to ensure a very smooth operation. Moreover, it is designed to suit the needs of both amateur and professional fishermen. 

Bottom Line

If we had to use one phrase to address this product, we would call it an absolute stunner. The praise won’t feel exaggerated once you use this fishing tip-up for yourself. It is durable without being too heavy, and it offers a smooth and safe operation. On top of that, you will absolutely fall in love with the clear coat wood finish that comes with a bright and appealing red flag.

Product Specs


Plastic and metal

Flag Height:


Spool Capacity:

200 ft

Editor’s Pick:HT Enterprise Husky Deluxe

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  • Longer spool moves freely underwater
  • Has an easy-lock line guide that ensures easy setup
  • Suitable to be used by both amateur and professional anglers
  • Made with a premium wooden frame that adds to the durability
  • Offers a 200’ capacity of easy flow metal spool for greater diversity


  • Slightly expensive than plastic models

What Recent Buyers Report

Of all the features buyers praised, what they loved the most was certainly the easy lock design. Buyers said that the design made setting the tip-up very easy, and this saved both their time and energy. They also found it to have excellent endurance that made it suitable for every weather condition possible. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking to depend and rely completely on a tip-up for your fishing extravaganzas, then this one is the ideal option. The best thing about this model is that it is well-suited for the needs of all anglers. The working is neither too complex to understand nor too difficult to execute. This ensures that amateurs, as well as professional anglers, can use it easily.

It also features a 200’ capacity easy flow metal spool that makes it suitable for catching both large and small fish. This, coupled with a premium wooden frame, makes the model extremely durable and resilient. This further ensures better accuracy and precision when it comes to the actual job.

Bottom Line

All in all, if you don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on experiments, you should definitely buy this tried and tested model. Its construction uses wood instead of plastic, which gives it more strength. The use of a polyurethane coat also provides greater protection against cold weather. In addition, the spool spins freely in the water and ensures the fish catches the bait almost every time. 

Product Specs


Wooden frame with metal spools

Spool Capacity:

200 ft

7. SF Ice Fishing Black Assault

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  • Easy and safe to use 
  • Both freeze-proof and windproof 
  • Equipped with a large capacity spool 
  • Parts and components are rust-proof 
  • Features a sturdy and reliable construction 


  • Quite big and bulky 
  • Not very easy to store 

What Recent Buyers Report

People who have recently purchased and put this tip up to the test say that it is a decent trap. They like it for a number of things, the price being the biggest plus point. They say that it is quite sturdy and well made with quality components. The freeze-proofing is its best feature that made people embrace it with open arms despite being a bigger model. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This ice fishing tip-up has a lot to offer. It has a high-quality plastic base with flexible metal parts and a bright red flag, which is very hard to miss. The base is marked with a 16-inch ruler, making it easier for the user to measure his prey. It is also equipped with a counterbalance and crank knobs, making it the easiest and safest device to use for ice fishing. 

Who Will Use This Most 

According to us, this is the right choice for fishers who want a sturdy and reliable tip up to lure their prey. Beginner and professionals alike are bound to find this useful because of the attractive design and the safety features it offers. Occasional fishers will be more successful in their endeavors once they start using this device. 

Bottom Line 

Investing in a fishing tip-up requires careful consideration. You want what you pay for. In this case, it holds true. This tip-up is a combination of functionality and ease. It has solid construction based on quality parts, making it one of the best fishing gear in the current market. 

Product Specs


Metal Iron parts with plastic spool

Flag Height:


Spool Capacity:

225 ft

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Pros and Cons of Ice Fishing Tip Ups

Before going ahead and making an investment, it is important to remember some of the top pros and cons associated with ice fishing tip-ups. These will not only give you a clearer picture of the models in question but will also help you make an informed decision. 


When it comes to fishing tip-ups, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Here are some of the top pros you can enjoy by investing in a tip-up. 

Cover More Ground 

The biggest pro of ice fishing tip ups is that you can insert a number of tip ups at the same time on different locations. They also let you cover far more ground than usual and ensure that you can dig multiple holes at different spots. The most obvious advantage of that is that you don’t know where the most fish are, and this diversity comes in handy for that purpose.  

Beaver Dam The Original


For starters, using fishing tip-ups is actually a lot safer than using any other gear, and you get to have a more relaxing time. If you are interested in having a good time whilst also catching some fish, then using tip ups is your best choice. You can simply trap your spot and then sit back and relax and wait for the flags to be released. 

A Larger Number of Fish

A tip up may take relatively longer to catch fish; however, if you place a couple of them at the same time, you will definitely catch a great number of fish. You may see a lot of flags going up at the same time. You can pull the lines up simultaneously. Catching a greater number of fish like this is not only enjoyable but also worth your while.


Using fishing tip ups also come with its fair share of cons. Here are some of the most noticeable ones. 

Passive Approach

When it comes to attracting fish, jigging actually does a better job than tip-ups. The latter only has one way of attracting fish. However, many people still prefer them for their ease of usage.


Tip ups also take longer to set up because you need to be very precise and accurate with the hole digging. You may also have to extend the line of the spool to reach the required depth. 


Types of Ice Fishing Tip-ups

Some people may think that buying a tip-up is a very straightforward purchase. That is not true. Different tip-ups feature varying characteristics that contribute towards its effectiveness. Depending on these characteristics, there are certain types of fishing tip-ups. 

In this section, we have discussed some of the more popular types. Read on to find out more about them so you can make an informed decision about which one to buy. 

Hardwood Tip-Ups

These are the originals. Traditionally, planks of hardwood were used to craft fishing tip-ups. They feature a simple design with a wooden base, a flag, and a crank to pull up and reel in your prey. 

Cross Style Tip-Ups

Cross style tip-ups feature a cross-shaped base. These are made from either wood or plastic. They are suitable for anyone who wants an affordable option. Being lightweight, they are easy to carry around. 

Auto Set Rail Tip-Ups

These tip-ups take the hands-free approach one step further. They have a spring-loaded rig that triggers and latches onto the fish, so it is waiting nice and tight for you to pull up. This system prevents your prey from escaping. These are very useful when you have a number of tip-up setups. You are saved from the hassle of scrambling from one spot to another. 

Pop-up Tip-Ups

These are the only tip-ups that don’t rely on a trigger system to indicate a catch. Instead, they utilize a magnet system. One magnet connects to the other magnet installed on the spool. When the bait is taken, and the spool turns, the magnets detach to trigger the system. 


Windlass Tip-Ups

These tip-ups are used to entice fish towards your bait. These allow the bait or move naturally underwater without you moving the pole. It functions like a kite, using air to move the bait around naturally. This natural movement is a huge source of attraction for many fish. It increases the frequency of successful catches without any extra effort on your part. 

Pro Thermal Tip Ups

These tip ups are devices of insulation. This device is plugged inside the hole in the ice and completely fills it with thick insulation material. It helps the bait blend better as no sunlight peeks through. So fish are more likely to take the bait. These are highly useful in harsh weather conditions as they prevent the hole from refreezing. 

Comparison Overview 

The best way to make an informed decision is to access the different number of products in the market. This section will compare the most popular types of tools used for fishing. It also includes the most noticeable features associated with each type so you can decide the most accurate tool for your needs.

Tip Ups vs Jigging 

Out of all the ways, two extremely popular ones are tip ups and jigging. The former provides more of a passive approach. However, the latter includes an active approach that ensures you are always on the lookout. It involves the use of a pole that will move the bait or lure around so that it attracts the greatest number of fish. This compels the angler to pay close attention to the movements, so they don’t miss out on any big fish.

On the other hand, the most popular type of tip-ups is stick tip-ups that allow anglers to sit back and have a relaxing time with their friends while they wait for the flags to go up. 

Round vs Rail Tip Ups

Another major debate among anglers is regarding the use of round or rail tip ups. These are two popular choices that fishermen choose because of their own personal preferences. Round tip ups are more suited for circular holes that need to be cut in the water. The insulating design on the top helps cover more ground. This is roughly ten inches in diameter, and round tip ups also prevent freeze-up down to a whopping 25°F.


On the other hand, the rail design comes with a horizontal support frame. It further features a cylinder or a shaft that crosses the support to form a small t-shape. At the very end of the shaft, there is a spool that offers a free-spinning mechanism. On the other end, there is a notched spindle bar. It is relatively easier to handle rail tip-up.

Ice Fishing Poles vs Tip-ups

The most obvious advantage of using tip ups is that you get to increase your chances of success. It is better to submerge a lot of tip ups in the ice and hence cover more ground rather than having just one fishing pole. 

You not only increase your chances of catching fish, but you also get to have a more productive day out in the sea. This is because using tip ups allows you to dig more holes in different spots so that you will catch at least a few regardless of where the fish are. 

Moreover, fishing tip-ups are easier to carry and store and hence further enhances your comfort. They are very durable, without being very heavy. They are also relatively safer than using poles. 

A major advantage of using poles, however, is that you can catch large fish. This is why poles are often considered better for professional anglers. 

Must-Have Tip Up Accessories 

Using tip-ups will increase your chances of catching fish under the ice. However, for maximum results, you need to take a couple of accessories along with you. These are absolutely necessary for a smoother operation in the sea.

Ice Fishing Tip Up Lights

Many people, especially the ones who go fishing in the dark, prefer using these lights with the flags. These LED lights are durable and can resist even the toughest of temperatures. This ensures they can last for a relatively long time. 

Many people also use LED lights because they enhance visibility and ensure the angler gets the signal accurately each time. There are many kinds of lights that you can choose from.

Tip Up Flags

These are the most important accessories to go with tip-ups. This is because whenever the fish takes the bait, the flag will either tip up or tip down to send the signal to the angler. This ensures that the fisherman doesn’t always have to remain very close to the line. He can sit at a distance and still manage to catch the fish. 

Moreover, using a flag ensures better visibility as it is easier to see when it has been released from its original position.


Tip Up Holder

As the name suggests, tip-up holders are used for accurate and easy fishing techniques. You will simply need to lift the rod out of the holder whenever you see the flag being released. Some of the most diverse options allow for a 2-in-1 design that offers multiple functions. 

Holders also allow for greater adjustability so you can enjoy additional perks at the same cost. Most common holders don’t come with any jigging motion or automatic hook-set mechanism, thus making them legal everywhere in the states.

Tip Up Carrier

Some of the most popular tip up carriers offer excellent durability and ensure long-term usage. They incorporate heavy-duty construction and come with a rail style that will hold up to six standard units. 

Some models also come with a pocket that will hold any other accessories that you need to use with tip ups. Some of them also offer a zippered design to ensure ease of usage and more comfort. 

Tip Up Reels

A fishing reel is a device that is attached to the stowing line. Tip up reels are actually multi-purpose in both their function and design. They are also diverse and can be used underwater as well as with wind tip-ups. Modern reels also add to the accuracy of the task and hence ensure you maximize the results.

Ice Fishing Tip Up Techniques

You can use the best tools in the market, but if you aren’t careful enough, you won’t be able to maximize your results. Following a few simple tip up techniques will not only help you make the most out of your fishing experience but will also make your task simpler and full of fun. Here are some ways to help you out:

Modern Technology

Many anglers fail to realize that modern technology has advanced so much that now it definitely gives an edge to people who utilize it. There are some amazing fish finders available that help anglers catch a greater number of large fish.

You can make use of GPS mapping and sonar for help. You can also use a GPS with contoured lake maps to find the best fish. 

Staying on Grid

There aren’t many ways to find out where the most fish are for sure, but staying on the grid can be a good way for anyone who wants to cover the most ground.

You can drill four holes with your auger in a diamond shape. If your state allows it, you can make multiple diamond shape patterns throughout to cover more ground.


Monitor and Maximize Flag Visibility

These are two important things that will ensure success. You need to have a good time, but you also need to be on the lookout for any flags. It is hence important to monitor and check the lines after every few minutes to see the flag. 

Moreover, to increase visibility, you can align the tip ups so that the flags are easily visible to you. Furthermore, you can attach bright LED lights that will glow and hence enhance visibility. 

Using the Right Tip Up

As we have explained before, there are many variations to the product, and for the best results, you will have to find the best option for yourself. For ice fishing, thermal tip ups are usually the most recommended. They insulate the entire hole and help cover more ground and prevent ice overs. They also allow many accessories to be used with them, such as an LED light. 

Downsizing the Treble

Most professional anglers are well aware of this technique. By downsizing treble hooks, you not only get more bites but also end up with larger fish at the end of the day. Normally, a fish will inspect that there is a bait and will not bite on the tip up; however, by downsizing the treble, you can deal with this problem effectively. 

How to Use Fishing Tip-Ups

Ice fishing tip-ups are wrongly assumed to be difficult tools. On the contrary, they are quite fun and easy to use. For your fishing trip to be successful, you need to learn how to use one properly; otherwise, you not only risk an empty-handed return, but a wrong setup may result in your tip-up slipping under the ice. 

Here is a detailed guide on how to make your fishing experience with a tip up successful. 

1. Choose a Suitable Spot  

The most important factor in your success is the location you put your bait in. You can only catch fish where they are. Find a productive spot to set up your gear. Use mapping tools to know about reefs and submerged rocks that attract fish.

2. Drill Holes 

An auger is very important for ice fishing. You need to drill holes through thick ice to reach the water underneath. Every fishing tip up needs to have a separate hole for its installation. The more tip ups you want to set up, the more drilling you have to do. 

3. Set up Your Gear

Once you have the right spot and drilled your holes, spread out your gear. Set up multiple tip ups if you are in a state where it is allowed. More tip ups marginally increase your chance of success. Be sure not to place them close together. Keep a distance of at least 30 feet between two of these.


4. Spool up

Choosing the right line is an important factor in any type of fishing. Tip-up fishing is no different. Select your line and spool it up on your tip up. 

5. Check the Depth

To find out the right depth to suspend your bait, you need to know the exact depth of the bottom. Attach a weight at the end of the line and let it drop to the bottom. Mark the bottom depth and pull. Up your line to the distance you want your bait to be. 

6. Set the Bait

Tip up fishing is more successful with a live or scented bait. Choose your bait according to the fish you want to catch. Secure it with a hook and lower it to the desired depth. 

7. Adjust the Trigger

Once you have set up your bait, you should focus on adjusting the trigger system. It is advised to set it to the minimum required level. Too loose will result in false flags and too tight might alert the fish. 

8. Pay Close Attention

Now the waiting begins. You can indulge in some past-time activity. But be sure to keep an eye out for the flag. 

9. Be Ready to Act When the Flag Goes up

Act fast and sprint towards the tip up as soon as the flag goes up. Just be sure not to run on bare ice. 

10. Make Sure the Fish is There

Before grabbing the line, wait for a few seconds to ensure that the fish is still there. Look for some sign of movement or turning of the spool.

11. Set the Hook

This is important. Start by gently pulling on the line until you notice slight pressure from the fish. Quickly and smoothly lift the line to drive the hook in the fish’s mouth.

12. Pull the Fish up

Now the struggle begins. Use the hand over hand method to pull the fish up and out of the water. It is important to understand when to let go. Use gloves when tackling bigger species like lake trout and monster pike.

This is a very straightforward method of using an ice fishing tip-up. If you are still doubtful, watch the video given below. It will further simplify the process for you. 


Ice fishing is a fantastic hobby. Fishing tip-ups make it more easy and fun. They are an important and functional part of any ice fisher’s gear. Choosing a suitable one is hard. There are a number of factors and types to consider. 

Above, we have listed some of the best ice fishing tip-ups to help you narrow down your options. You can choose any of the described models and rest assured that it will make your next ice fishing experience an exciting and successful one. 

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People Also Ask

Ice fishing tip-ups seem like a daunting device to some novice fishers. Rest assured, they are one of the easiest and most versatile fishing tools that are perfect for combing larger areas. If you are still unsure and would like to clear some doubts and misconceptions, here are some commonly asked questions related to tip-up fishing.

How to Set Up Horizontal Tip Ups For Ice Fishing

The exact process is quite lengthy and requires a deep understanding. However, some of the essential steps include first rigging up your tip system and then lining the spool with 65 pounds of braided tip line. 

You will also have to evenly wrap the line around the spool in a clockwise direction. You can also add a split shot weight on top of the line according to your fishing needs.

How Deep Do You Put Tip Ups When Ice Fishing?

This also depends on your fishing needs and requirements. However, as a rule of thumb, you first set two rows of tip-ups 40 yards apart. The differences can be set up at 5, 10, 15, 20, and so on. You can set the last tip up in 20 feet of water and place it between the two rows. Moreover, if there is an offshore hump, you can set more tip-ups at five and ten feet.

How Did the Name Tip Up For Ice Fishing Originate?

They get their names from the flag that is bent over and attached to this reel. Whenever a fish takes the bait, the reel will turn and release the line. This, in turn, releases the flag too, which is why they are called tip-ups. 


How Long Should a Leader Be On an Ice Fishing Tip Up?

This depends on the kind and number of fish you are thinking of capturing. You will need at least three feet of fluorocarbon leader for fish like bass, trout, perch, crappie, and walleye. This needs to be tied to your barrel swivel using a knot.

Are Ice Fishing Tip Ups Legal in Minnesota?

These may be legal in many other areas; however, in Minnesota, they are illegal. This is because even the most basic tip ups need to be positioned atop holes in the ice to capture fish. The state doesn’t allow these devices to be used by any anglers. 

Where Can I Find Colorado Tip Up Ice Fishing Laws?

It is important to abide by the laws of the state if you plan on fishing there. If you are not clear about Colorado’s laws, you can always check them out on the official website of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

How to Keep Ice Fishing Holes From Freezing

When you use fishing tip ups, you must ensure that warm water circulates around the hole and prevents freezing. But there are other ways to achieve that too. 

You can use a charcoal bucket to warm your hands and ensure ice remains melted. There are also glowing coals that can be used to provide ample light for baiting and unhooking fish in the dark. Water splitters also help keep the holes open. 

How to Put Line on a Tip Up

Putting a line on the tip up is not very hard, especially for people who have previously used fishing gear in ice. You will have to spool the line onto the tip up. This will get your flag working. Additionally, you can tie the knot of the arbor with the line and then move around the reel. 


What Are Tip Ups Made Of?

There are two common materials used to make tip ups; plastic and wood. The former is relatively cheaper and produces a lightweight design. However, plastic designs often offer less durability and are easier to break. 

On the other hand, wooden models are relatively more expensive, but they tend to offer better strength and resistance to harsh weather conditions. The major downside of wood tip ups is that they are relatively harder to set up.

What Are Windless Tip Ups?

Windless tip ups are unique, both in construction and function. A slight breeze results in the model jigging the line. They are made of plastic and are much better than wooden tip ups. Moreover, they feature a v-shaped frame that prevents them from sticking to the ice. 

How Many Tip-Ups For Ice Fishing?

The number allowed varies from state to state. You can check the fishing regulation of the state you are planning to fish in to know about the number allowed. It is legal in most states to use one or more fishing tip-ups other than your active rod. 

However, remember that it is illegal to keep a tip up unattended for an extended time. You should maintain active control over your tip ups. 

How Do You Set Depth on a Tip-Up?

To set the depth on an ice fishing tip up, the first thing you need to do is find out the depth of the bottom of your fishing spot. For that, thread your line through a button and attach it to the swivel and leader. Let your bait fall to the bottom of the lake and move the button to the point where the water touches the line. Decide how far above the bottom you want your bait to suspend and pull up the extra line.

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