The best ice fishing buckets are multi-purpose. It should be able to carry your tackle, serve as a comfortable seat, and be able to hold all the fish you catch after a day on the ice.
Top Fishing Buckets and Accessories
Here are our top picks for the best fishing buckets for your ice fishing trip.
- Yeti 5-Gallon Loadout Bucket
- HT Hi-Tech Polar Tip-Up Bucket Kit
- Frabill Sit-N-Fish Bucket
- Clam Bait Bucket with Insulated Carrying Case
- Frabill Insulated Bait Bucket with Built-in Aerator
- Catch Cover Slush Bucket
- Berkley Rope Handle 5 Gallon Bucket
1. Yeti 5-Gallon Loadout Bucket
If you are looking for a quality gallon bucket, the Yeti 5-Gallon Loadout Bucket will not disappoint. It can store your bait, and catch, or serve as a seat while you are fishing. The non-slip material will not slide on the ice, and it is resistant to damage.
However, as far as gallon buckets go, this one is a bit overpriced, and you have the buy the lid separately. On the other hand, we loved how sturdy the handle is.
2. HT Hi-Tech Polar Tip-Up Bucket Kit
This is the ultimate ice fishing gift for people who know how to fish and love doing it on the ice. The HT Hi-Tech is a value-gallon bucket that has everything they could ever need. The 6-gallon pail features a foam seat, a built-in gearbox, two spools of braided line, and other essential accessories.
This is the best ice fishing bucket organizer you can get for fishing enthusiasts who prefer to keep their kit organized. You will have to supply the fishing rod yourself, though, as it doesn’t come with one.
3. Frabill Sit-N-Fish Bucket
This gallon bucket works while fishing and lets you sit comfortably. The Sit-N-Fish features an insulated foam inner liner to store cold or hot items if necessary. The padded foam snap-on seat makes this a popular choice for pier, offshore, and onshore ice-fishing.
We fell in love with the beverage storage option in the container, and there is also room at the bottom for extras such as your ice fishing gear. But the top is quite difficult to pry open, especially with fingers that are numb from the cold.
4. Clam Bait Bucket with Insulated Carrying Case
Say goodbye to spilled minnows in the back seat of your car as you head to your ice-fishing hole. Considered to be the best minnow bucket for ice fishing, the Clam Bait Bucket comes with an insulated carry case that will keep your bait and minnows at the perfect temperature. It includes an adjustable shoulder strap for easy transport.
What we loved about this fishing bucket is the screw-top gasket, which creates an entirely tight seal, so you don’t have to worry about spills. However, the zipper tabs on the insulated cover could be stronger, in our opinion.
5. Frabill Insulated Bait Bucket with Built-in Aerator
Best Ice Fishing Bait Bucket
If you want to keep your bait fresh for hours while you are fishing, then the Frabill Insulated Bait container will not disappoint. It’s designed as the ultimate bait-friendly tote.
This gallon bucket/seat can keep your line submerged for longer and will keep the water just the right temperature for live baitfish. This is also why it’s considered to be the best ice-fishing bait bucket by most professional anglers.
We were won over by the in-built aerator that is housed in the lid, but we had difficulty placing the batteries in, and they drain fast too.
6. Catch Cover Slush Bucket
Cleaning ice holes can be a chore, but not if you have the Catch Cover Slush Bucket as part of your kit. It’s quite simple to use. After removing the ice cover, set the container in the ring before covering and augering it.
It will catch all of the ice shavings, so you don’t have to clean up afterward, and the floor remains dry while you fish.
We would have loved an in-built drainage system, though. Once the container is full, you have to up-end it to empty it. It doesn’t come with any accessories, but as a slush container, it doesn’t need anything else to ensure your fishing trip goes well.
7. Berkley Rope Handle 5 Gallon Bucket
If you want to ensure your fishing trip goes well, you need the Berkley Gallon Bucket. Considered to be the best bait bucket for ice-fishing, it is perfect for transporting multiple gear/bait and comes with a UV and corrosion-resistant rope handle that offers a slip-free grip.
Keep one hand free for your rod and other equipment easily with this gallon container.
This container is quite versatile. We know because we used ours for saltwater, dock, and pier fishing. However, the rope handle has a habit of disconnecting at times, especially if you grab it too quickly.
Best Fishing Bucket Accessories
- Wild River by CLC Tackle Tek Rigger Lighted Bucket Organizer
- YETI LoadOut Bucket Caddy Accessory
- Bucket Boss The Bucketeer Bucket Tool Organizer
- Big Bear Silent Spin Bucket Seat
- Frabill Strato Bucket Seat
1. Wild River by CLC Tackle Tek Rigger Lighted Bucket Organizer
If you want to make your fishing trip truly memorable, take this bucket organizer with you. Ideal for storing and organizing soft bait, Wild River also comes with an LED light system that illuminates the interior so you can find what you are looking for even in the dark.
It comes with a container, a retractable lanyard, a plier holder, a removable light, and a bucket seat, which makes it a keeper.
We loved the additional pockets and used them to store extra reels and lines. However, the light was not as powerful as we would’ve liked. You would be better off taking a flashlight with you if you are fishing in the dark.
2. YETI LoadOut Bucket Caddy Accessory
The YETI LoadOut Bucket Caddy is one of the optimal gallon buckets you can get for its price point. It features three compartments that can be used to separate bait and gear. The material is resistant to cracks so that it won’t get damaged bouncing around on the deck. The large grip handle is also retractable for secure storage.
We like that the caddy is constructed well, which means the people at YETI know their target customers. But we didn’t like the fact that we had to buy the lid separately.
3. Bucket Boss The Bucketeer Bucket Tool Organizer
The Bucket Boss can fit any 5-gallon bucket and comes with an impressive 30 pockets which can adjust all of your gear, tools, and accessories. This includes three interior tools that can fit hammers and pry bars and which don’t reduce the amount of storage.
Made from rip-resistant 600-denier poly ripstop fabric, the Bucket Boss will make your fishing trip without stress.
We weren’t sure how sturdy the pockets were, but not after we gave the product a try. But it will naturally grow quite heavy if you use all of them to store items. Make smart choices for the gear you need. An overstuffed bucket will mess up your trip.
4. Big Bear Silent Spin Bucket Seat
Sitting on a hard rock or standing for hours trying to catch fish can take a toll on you. Take a load off with the Big Bear Silent Spin Bucket Seat for a well-deserved rest. Designed to fit a range of gallon buckets, the seat moves silently, so it doesn’t spook the fish.
Plus, it has a convenient opening so you can reach down into the bucket and get what you need without getting up.
This is quite a versatile, great storage/seat option, and super comfortable to boot. However, it cannot fit all types of buckets.
5. Frabill Strato Bucket Seat
The optimal way to make a gallon bucket comfortable is by adding a seat such as the Frabill Strato Bucket Seat. It also features an opening that allows anglers to reach into the bucket to get the items they need.
The foam is comfortable, and it is designed to withstand a lot of weight.
We like the way it easily snaps on the seat and can be removed easily as well. But it wasn’t as comfortable as advertised, so don’t expect hours of comfy sitting if you get this.
Why Do You Need One of the Best Ice Fishing Buckets?
Ice-fishing buckets are gallon buckets that are used to keep bait, gear, and fishing additions within easy reach. These are especially useful if you use live bait that needs to be kept fresh. These buckets can also be used as makeshift seats if you get the proper one.
Insulated vs. Non-Insulated
An insulated gallon bucket will keep fish and live bait fresh/alive longer for days compared to the non-insulated variety.
Live Bait Storage
Live bait can die and go bad quickly if the bucket you use does not have an aerator or is not insulated from the elements correctly.
Ice Bucket Seats
5-gallon bucket seats are sold separately, and they can be snapped on quickly on the rim, so you don’t have to take a chair with you.
Ice-Fishing Gear Organizer
A gear organizer is a 5-gallon bucket jacket that is designed with multiple pockets that can accommodate all of your fishing knickknacks and accessories.
Frequently Asked Questions
A well-rested ice fisherman is a good fisherman, so a top cushion should be part of their 5-gallon bucket setup.
A tip-up is a mechanism that is used to suspend the bait at a set depth through a hole in the ice. When the fish bites, it brings the device up, notifying the angler that they have a fish on.
Proper winter wear, buckets, an ice auger, ice-fishing rods, a line, a fish finder, your fishing license, safety gear, ice fishing shelter, and a gas heater. If you like, you can also bring a sled, especially if you have to trek through the snow to get to your fishing spot.