Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups of 2020 – 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. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Ice Fishing Tip Ups

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Resistant to winds and freezing temperatures
  • Has a red flag attached for improved visibility
  • Made from high quality wood with a beautiful finish
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  • The base is made from poly for durability
  • The flag shaft is 17.5 inches
  • Has tapered rails that improves aesthetic aspects
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  • Best for the Money
  • Base has been molded to last longer
  • Sub zero lubricant is used to make it resistant to freezing conditions
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  • Includes a ruler for measuring the length of your fish
  • Metallic parts are resistant to corrosion
  • Base is developed from durable plastic
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  • Shaft has a special design that lets you grease it again
  • Made using appealing traditional design and hard wood
  • Shaft for flag is 17.5 inches
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What Are Ice Fishing Tip-Ups?

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. 

Build

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.

Base

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. 

Flag

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.

Storage

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. 

Quick Take | Best Ice Fishing Tip-Ups

Just looking for the top three best ice fishing tip-ups? Here they are:

  1. Beaver Dam The Original
  2. Frabill Arctic Fire
  3. Frabill Blackhawk Assault

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. 

PROS

  • 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 

CONS

  • 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. 

PROS

  • 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 

CONS

  • 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. 

Best for the Money:
Frabill Blackhawk Assault

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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. 

PROS

  • 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 

CONS

  • 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. 

PROS

  • 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

CONS

  • 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. 

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. 

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. 

Conclusion

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. 

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 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.