There are plenty of ways to catch fish. You can use your body to propel your boat and cast your line. Or you can let the wind do the work for you.
But if you’re an ice angler who doesn’t enjoy boat handling, there’s a better way: skill up in ice fishing tip-ups!
Here are the top five best tip ups on the market. The item listed is compared according to their quality, use, and price.
The perfect ice fishing tip up for you has just become more accessible with this guide to help you find your perfect one.
5 Best Ice Fishing Tip-Up
- Best Reliable Tip-Up – Beaver Dam Ice Fishing Rail Tip-Up
- Best Insulated and Fastest Tip-Up – Frabill Pro Thermal Tip-Up
- Best Budget-Friendly Tip-Up – Frabill Arctic Fire Tip-Up
- Best Classic Tip-Up – Frabill 1664 Classic Tip-Up
- Best Tip-Up for Extreme Weather Conditions – HT Enterprise PTE-200 Polar Therm Extreme Tip-Up
1. Beaver Dam Ice Fishing Rail Tip-Up
Best Reliable Tip-Up
- Crafted on a custom-finished board for smooth, trouble-free operation
- Made of Smooth-Spool Technology and Freezeproof Grease
- Made for a fastidious game-fish stay on the line
- The spinner trigger has tapered and straight trips
- Windproof, rod-cradle design for strike-signaling consistency
These Beaver tips are more legendary tip-ups than most tip-ups. Widely considered the most reliable tip-up, these are made of custom-finished board and other quality materials.
It can withhold heavy lines, holding a larger fish. Even though it’s one of the most expensive tip-ups on this list, it is worth every penny with its operation.
2. Frabill Pro Thermal Tip-Up
Best Insulated and Fastest Tip-Up
- An easy-to-carry design fits in a 5-6-gallon bucket
- Pre-lubed with Sub-Zero low-temp lubricant
- Comes with a shaft-in-shaft design for re-greasing
- With multiple settings and a removable spool shaft
- Prevents the hole from freezing up and can cover a 10″ hole
Frabill Pro Thermal is one of the most expensive tip-ups on this list. It is designed to catch fish faster than traditional tip-ups. This tip-up is also highly coated for secured insulation.
However, the depth dropper’s clasp is weak and cannot stay on the hook unless you thread it in.
3. Frabill Arctic Fire Tip-Up
Best Budget-Friendly Tip-Up
- Made of extra-molded durable poly-base with dual trip settings
- Comes with a 17.5-inch flag shaft with a high-visibility flag
- Molded-in 19″ ruler and a large capacity metal spool with counterbalance crank knobs
- Includes tapered rails for easy removal from snow and ice
- Pre-lubricated with sub-zero low-temp lubricant
Frabill Arctic Fire has a bright neon color and weighs 14.9 oz. The base has a poly-molded design to make it last longer in low-level temperatures.
Of all the tip-ups on this list, this is the inexpensive one. However, it has poor flag positioning.
4. Frabill 1664 Classic Tip-Up
Best Classic Tip-Up
- A traditional hardwood designed 17.5″ flag
- Comes with an ultra-glide shaft for a friction-free performance
- Has large capacity metal spools and dual counterbalance crank knobs
- Pre-lubed with sub-zero low-temp lubricant
- Comes with a shaft-in-shaft design that allows re-greasing
- Dual trip settings (light or heavy) for versatile options
- A removable spool shaft
Frabill 1664 is a less expensive alternative to Beaver with good functionality. A traditional hardwood design comes with large-capacity metal spools and dual counter-balance crank knobs to prevent wobbling.
5. Best Insulated and Fastest Tip-Up – Frabill Pro Thermal Tip-Up
Best Tip-Up for Extreme Weather Conditions
- Made of a deluxe wood frame with solid and polyurethane coated for protection
- A 3.2 x 25.2″ with a weight of 1.4 pounds
- Features a smooth flow of 200′ metal spools that spins freely underwater
- Comes with a wind-tip-free wire with dual settings
HT Enterprise Polar Therm is perfect when the cold weather is more extreme than other tip-ups. It prevents your ice hole from freezing up.
It is sturdy, reliable, and made up of durable materials. However, this tip-up is a bit pricey for its quality and purpose when used in harsh conditions.
How to Fish with a Tip-Up
If you are a novice and have just started to get used to tip-up fishing, grab your ice fishing rod, reel, and hook.
Here are some of our recommended ice fishing gear to have:
Here are the steps on how to fish with your tip-up.
Finding the Best Spots and Spread Out
Spending time finding the perfect location will affect how you catch your fish. Most anglers find which spots on the water the fish will strike.
You can also try setting on the same spots you fish before the ice builds up. Once you establish a good place, spread out your tip-ups. The more you set up, the better the odds of catching fish.
Spool Up with Good and Enough Line
Like any fishing, picking an excellent line can also affect your fishing. Many ice anglers are switching to braided ice lines for lower stretch options, perfect for big fish.
You may want to add a line; tie a 6-10 pound fluoro leader for walleye. Lastly, connect a 20-30 pound fluoro leader for monster pike and lake trout.
Check the Depth
Avoid wasting time fishing on the dead parts of the water column by measuring the right depth of the water.
There are various depths, but decide how far off the bottom you want your bait suspended. Pull up just enough lines to get there.
Select Your Bait
Your bait of choice depends on the species you’re after. Live bait is used to get walleye. In addition, dead bait is used for pike and sometimes trout. Hook this to your tip-up for fast fish strikes.
Understanding other bait can guarantee success.
Keep An Eye To The Flag
Now, it is time to sit back and wait. Always watch your flag no matter how you will spend your time waiting.
Frequently Asked Questions
It allows anglers to set multiple baited lines below the ice, where a hole is drilled. It detects strikes without the need to be present for extended periods.
A trigger mechanism flips up the flag, and this indicates that a fish has taken the bait. You can put many rods on your tip-ups, as many as you need.
It is not suggested to have a tip-up for this type of fishing. But if you are one of the anglers who want productive fishing, buying a tip-up is a must.
The tip-up line is different from other lines like braided and monofilament. It is a braided string with a large diameter. Anglers used this for an easy pull-up of their caught fish, bigger or smaller fish.
If you are fishing in different locations or using tip-ups to set up multiple rods, extend them to a considerable distance. The recommended distance is at least 3 feet apart.
Ice Fishing Made Easier with Tip-Ups
Using tip-ups is a road trip. It means getting out of your comfort zone and seeing if you can make it work.
The best tips for you depend on what you are looking to catch and how far away your hole is located from where you fish, so that’s why you have this guide.
Also, understand that different ice anglers have different fishing needs. In the same way, different types of tools can certainly cater to these needs.
Thankfully, with this top 5 selection and comprehensive buying guide, you are sure that you can find the perfect tip-ups for you in no time. Happy fishing!