Hole Patterns That Make A Difference On The Ice


Watch an experienced ice angler work with an auger and odds are good that the holes they drill will follow a pattern. Single lines, zigzags and grids are commonly used and can help prevent drilling unnecessary holes, which means more time for fishing. Being precise with hole placement also helps cover water efficiently and fish spots thoroughly. Here are examples of when to drill straight lines, zigzags and grids on the ice, plus a look at how StrikeMaster’s Lithium Drills boost angler proficiency.


Single Holes And Lines (Sometimes)

A line of holes is often used to find the location of a drop-off. Whether relying on digital lake maps or fishing an unmapped lake, a single line of holes checked with a portable sonar is a reliable way to quickly identify bottom changes. As the depth begins to change, space holes closer together to find fish-holding spots, such as the top and bottom pivot points along a drop-off.



Now, we’re not talking perfectly straight lines here. There’s nothing wrong with adding some irregularity to the “line” when needed. Just keep the pattern in mind to avoid drilling more than necessary(keeping auger fuel/battery efficiency in mind).


Single holes and short lines are also great for hitting key GPS waypoints without drawing unwanted attention to your secret fishing spots. More holes draw more interest, both when you’re fishing and also after you leave.


Tip: Get an extra auger battery to ensure you have enough energy to get through the day. Keep the extra battery in a warm place so you get the most out of it.



This is a popular pattern. Generally, longer zigs and zags are used when searching for fish. The pattern gets tighter when concentrations of fish are found.



Zigzagging along a drop-off lets anglers jig a variety of depths on a prime piece of structure. Mid lake humps, points, flats and secondary breaks are all excellent areas to use this hole pattern.


Weed beds are another prime candidate for zigzagging. Hole spacing can be adjusted to hit just inside the vegetation, close to the edge and some of the adjacent open water. These are three key zones to jig or position set-lines for walleye, northern pike and panfish.



A grid, for example, could be three rows of three holes for a total of nine holes in an area. Anglers typically reserve this pattern for fishing proven fishing spots.



Take a small lake containing rainbow, brook or brown trout. Drilling a grid across a shoreline point lets several anglers be positioned to intercept roaming fish with both jigging rods and set-lines.


Likewise, a grid is an excellent pattern when targeting suspending crappie on deep flats. While they’ll wander around, crappie frequently push towards isolated reefs, points and inside bends on drop-offs leading into the flat. A grid of holes gives anglers ample direction options for hole hopping in order to follow a roaming school.


Peppering a mid-lake hump with a grid also serves walleye and lake trout anglers well for a similar reason. More holes gives flexibility for tracking predator fish movements as they chase bait onto a structure or adjust their depth based on activity level.


Tip: Don’t get boxed in. If drilling a triangle or another shape is better for a particular scenario, go for it! There are no hard, fast rules here.


#KickYourGas And Ice Fish Efficiently

The scenarios above illustrate how drilling holes in patterns increases on-ice efficiency. Why make more holes than necessary to find and catch fish, right?


Here’s another important question. Does your ice drill minimize drilling effort and maximize fishing time? If not, you may want to consider upgrading to a StrikeMaster Lithium Ice Drill. Lithium drills are powerful, reliable, quiet, light and virtually maintenance free.



The creme of the crop is the new Pro Lithium 40v Lite 8” Auger, which drills 120 holes through 16” ice on a single charge thanks to its powerful, 6-amp battery. Equally impressive is this unit only weighs 21-pounds, making the Lite-Flight Lazer Drill less fatiguing to use than heavier gas models, which gives anglers more energy to focus on fishing.


With StrikeMaster’s Lithium Ice Drills, there’s no risk of engine issues and other gas-related auger headaches that can eat into fish-catching time. Simply press a button and start shredding ice.


Did we mention StrikeMaster Lithium Ice Drills are whisper quiet? No need to shout back and forth with a buddy wielding the portable sonar and checking depth as is common when using a noisy gas auger.



Tip: Anglers seeking a more affordable route to get an electric auger should look at the ultra-light, compact drill option that combines a 6” or 8” Lite-Flite Lazer Drill Unit with a professional quality 18v (or higher) brushless hand-held cordless driver (with side handle).


When you set your auger’s blades to ice this season, take a moment to think about the best pattern to drill holes. Lines, zigzags and grids are three popular options, but they’re really just a starting point. There’s nothing wrong with free-styling holes to best match the day’s scenario. Just aim to only drill what’s needed to ensure there’s plenty of time for fishing. And, for those in the market for a new dependable, powerful, high-performance auger, you can’t go wrong with a StrikeMaster Lithium Ice Drill.