Jim Baird’s Arctic Adventure: How to Drill Through 7 Feet of Ice

Seven feet of ice sounds like a lot, but it feels like twice that when you’re trying to auger through … Continued

Seven feet of ice sounds like a lot, but it feels like twice that when you’re trying to auger through it. I brought a top-of-the-line auger on the trip with enough extensions to get through ice 9 feet thick. We soon learned that getting the auger out after the hole is pierced can be harder than drilling it. Still, there are a couple things you can do to get through the ice faster and reduce the amount of snow in your hole.

Step 1: As you drill, and your auger gets in past 2-1/2 feet, pull up abruptly every few seconds. Keep the blade spinning while you pull up but don’t let the blade come out of the hole. Then let the auger back down quickly and keep drilling. This is more physically demanding but it throws a lot of the snow out of your hole as you drill.

Step 2: Try to keep you auger as straight as possible as you drill. The deeper the ice hole gets, the more likely it is for the hole to become crooked. This can make it a lot tougher to get your bit out.

Step 3: Bring a flighted extension. It would not have been easy to lug one around, and the flights can cut into the ropes on your sled–but it sure would have made it a lot easier to drill holes through 7 feet of ice.

Step 4: It is very hard to dig the snow out of a vertical hole even if you put an extension on your shovel handle. A very large ladle tied to the end of a pole would work.

Step 5: While you drill, keep your downward pressure on the auger consistent. Keep the throttle consistent, too. If the blade is spinning fast, it throws more snow out of the hole.
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Step 6**: Take turns. It can be a lot of work to drill through 7 feet of ice. Take a break and let your buddy drill so you don’t work up a sweat which can come back to bite you as soon as you start fishing.