Don't Get Stuck in the Ice: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Ice Fishing Pick

Discover the importance of having ice fishing picks in your gear. Learn how they can help you get back on the ice in case of a fall, and find the best options for your next ice fishing trip. Stay safe and prepared with our comprehensive guide.

You know it’s ice fishing season when you see anglers adjusting their lines, packing a thermos full of hot coffee, and meticulously picking out the right combination of rods and lures for every fish they want to catch that day.

But for serious ice fishermen, these chilly months bring along with them a completely different set of necessities: the perfect ice fishing pick!

No matter whether you're an experienced angler or just starting out with ice fishing, it's essential to have the right ice pick when you are on the frozen lakes for your safety.

Check out our guide to ice picks to save your time, energy, and some frustration by understanding how to find exactly what will help make your icy adventure as successful as possible.

So, grab your parka and rowdy doodles (whatever those are), because it's time to take a tour of must-have picks for a winter fishing adventure!

Features to Consider when Choosing Ice Fishing Picks

Ice safety picks are essential equipment for any ice fisherman, and it is important to choose the right ones to ensure your safety on ice in case of any mishap. Here are some key features to consider when purchasing an ice fishing pick:


The material used to make an ice safety pick is critical for its performance. An ice pick requires strength and durability due to its heavy-duty application in cold temperatures but it should also have a light weight so that it doesn't become uncomfortable to operate.


Make sure you get an ice fishing pick with a handle that fits comfortably in your hand so it can be held for longer periods of time without fatigue or discomfort. You should also look for models with good grips which are designed to reduce slipping and provide extra control when using the pick.


The blade length and width should match the job being done and it should have sharp tips so that it can pierce the ice with ease and provide grip on slippery surfaces if needed.


Retractable sheaths can provide added protection and safety, as they help prevent the spikes from snagging on clothing or your hands. But avoid any picks with fixed covers, instead, choose ice safety picks with retractable covers which open up when pressure is applied and keep the spikes covered when not in use.

Cord Quality and Length

The attachment cord provided should be strong and durable, and the length should be appropriate for how you plan to wear the pick. Choose a cord that is made from coiled plastic or a corded material and select a length that works for you.

Floatation capabilities

Ice safety picks with floating handles can be a lifesaver if they ever slip from your person. Consider whether it is important to you that the pick floats and choose one that meets your needs.


Brightly colored ice safety picks are easier to see, especially in low-light conditions. Choose a pick with a bright, bold color to make it easier to find in the dark or in a panic.

Cost Efficiency

An ice pick is available at a range of prices, but it’s important to remember that price isn’t always the best indicator of quality. Consider your budget when selecting an ice safety pick and look for one with the features you need at a reasonable price.

By taking into account each one of these factors before choosing this ice safety gear, you can guarantee optimal results during your next winter adventures out on the lake or riverbank!

We know you want the best, so we work hard to provide it. Our team of experts is constantly selecting products for our site that meet high standards and offer great value too! Our opinions are based on independent trials and tests but as an Amazon Associate, we may earn from some qualifying purchases. This helps us to keep the site running without costing anything extra for you.

The Top 5 Ice Fishing Picks On The Market

To save you time and ensure that you have the best ice fishing picks available, we've pre-selected them through a stringent process of evaluation based on our thorough criteria.

Frabill Deluxe Retractible Ice Pick

Best Overall

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If you need the best ice fishing pick, that offers the perfect combination of convenience and reliability the Frabill's Deluxe Retractable Ice Picks is for you. The stainless steel spikes are durable and will stay sharp in even the coldest temperatures.

Designed to be worn around your neck, its pick cord stretches for 72 inches and they will stay there when you are walking or drilling through ice, without being uncomfortable. Made from super sturdy materials, these picks will last for years.

These ice-fishing safety picks come in a bright yellow color that floats and makes it easy to locate in case you break and fall through thin ice. The best part is that their spikes are kept free and clear inside a retractable sheath that activates with downward pressure, making them super sturdy and functional.

With their trusted brand name and innovative design, you can trust these picks for all your ice fishing needs!

Angel Guard Pick-of-Life Ice Awls

Best Not-So-Cheap Pick

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The Pick-of-Life Ice Awl is more than just a tool - it's a lifesaver. Among all the ice picks that I've tried, I can confidently say that the Pick-of-Life Ice Awl is the best piece of safety equipment you can have when venturing onto the ice. From rescue professionals to ice fishermen and snowmobilers, everyone relies on this to stay safe.

The Pick-Of-Life features solid handholds and retractable covers that ensure maximum protection from the pick. Both picks feature spikes with retractable plastic covers making them unsinkable and incredibly sturdy – no matter how extreme the environment!

The Pick-of-Life Ice awl may come with a pricier tag but its design makes it worth every penny. Make sure you have this critical safety tool ready to go before venturing out into icy conditions.

Rapala Ice Safety Spikes

Best Non-Floatable Pick

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If floatation is not very important to you, then pick Rapala's Ice Safety Spikes to get the job done safely and with ease. These safety picks have a very basic design, they even lack an emergency retractable guard, however, their hardened steel spikes can penetrate even the toughest of ice where most other ice fishing safety picks can fail.

These picks are designed with non-slip rubberized contoured finger grip handles that provide a secure and comfortable grip. The 22-inch extendable cord allows you to wear these on the outside of your clothing, while the spikes can be stowed conveniently inside the handles for safety when not in use.

You can trust Rapala's Ice Safety Spikes for all your ice fishing safety needs!

Eagle Claw Ice Safety Picks

Best Value Pick

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If you need to battle the cold and self-rescue yourself out of freezing water onto snowy ground in case of a mishap, equip yourself with Eagle Claw Safety Ice Picks!

These retractable ice picks are designed as a safety tool to be quickly accessed if you fall through the ice. It comes with two retractable, hand-held spikes connected by a stretchable cord that is only activated with downward pressure when needed.

The sharp stainless steel spikes and polymer handles ensure a firm grip and its bright red color makes it easy to locate in an emergency situation. With Eagle Claw Safety Ice Picks, you'll have peace of mind while out on the lake.

Celsius Two Steel Spikes ILP-1 

Best of Rest

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The Celsius Ice Escape Life Preserver is an essential accessory for any ice angler. The handles are made with molded and ribbed plastic to provide a secure grip, while the two steel spikes make it easy to penetrate the icy surface.

The best part? They can be connected with a coil cord and stored easily in your jacket or vest. Plus, they’re designed to help you escape from broken ice should you find yourself in a difficult situation!

This highly versatile product is perfect for any ice fisherman looking for extra leverage when hauling themselves out of the water from an ice-break. It makes extracting yourself from tricky conditions easy and safe.

Also, check out our article on Best Ferro Rods

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you ready for a successful day of ice fishing?

Knowing the ins and outs of ice fishing safety picks can help you have the best experience out on the frozen lake.

We've put together the most important information about using these devices in our list of FAQs. Get ahead of the game and stay safe on ice by brushing up on all you need to know about ice safety picks - from how to use them correctly, to choosing the right size for your needs.

Do ice picks work?

Yes, an ice pick does work as safety gear in ice fishing, and we strongly recommend carrying them with you on your winter fishing trips. When worn properly, they can provide a valuable tool to help you get out of a situation where you've fallen through the ice.

Don't confuse them with an ice pick used in the kitchen to break through slabs of frozen ice, which are sharp and have long blades but are not very durable. Instead, these are similar to the concept of ice picks (or ice axe) used by climbers, where they pull their body weight by gripping onto the icy climbing surfaces. Similarly, by digging the spikes into the ice, you can pull yourself back up and onto the solid ground if you fall through the ice while fishing.

However, it's important to remember that an ice pick should only be used as a last resort, and practicing proper ice safety measures is the best way to avoid such dangerous situations. Make sure to check the thickness and quality of the ice, before you bring your fishing sled and set up your shanty. Be extra cautious around cracks, pressure ridges, and slushy areas or if you notice any are with floating ice nearby.

What are ice fishing picks?

Ice fishing picks are cost-effective, pocket-sized devices that serve a paramount purpose in the safety of any ice fisher. They feature one handle and two or more spikes for digging into solid ice if suddenly you find yourself plummeting through its surface. With these tiny but invaluable tools, you can climb back up onto firm ground with ease - making them an essential component of every ice angler's gear kit!

How do you use ice fishing picks?

Using an ice pick is a fundamental ice safety exercise that every ice angler should know. If you manage to fall through the ice, then:

· Wait for the first few seconds to adjust the shock. If you try to use the picks right then, you won't be able to get a good grip.

· When you are stable, get your picks and grab both your picks firmly with your hand.

· Stretch your hands and dig the spikes into the ice to help pull yourself back up.

· Make sure to use a firm grip on the handle and alternate between spikes for maximum stability.

· Try to get onto your stomach and spread out your weight as much as possible to minimize further breakage.

· Keep wiggling and kicking your feet in water to give some additional push if required.

· To maximize safety, try to move on your stomach while pulling yourself out of the ice using your picks as much as you can.

· Then roll several meters further than the area where you initially fell. Refrain from standing up immediately since there is a possibility that the ice may be unstable in that particular spot.

As you can see using this fishing equipment is simple and straightforward, but you need some practice and most importantly stay calm during the whole process of self-rescue. If possible, try to practice using an ice pick on solid ice and pull yourself on your stomach.

Also, check out this helpful video on self-rescue using ice picks:

Do Frabill ice picks float?

Frabill is a well-known manufacturer of ice fishing gear and offers floating ice safety picks. Picks their standard Retractable Ice Picks if you need a floating pick.

How do you wear Frabill ice picks?

Here's how you can wear Frabill ice picks:

  1. Attach the ice pick to the lanyard: Take the Frabill picks and attach them to the lanyard using the loop on the end of each pick.
  2. Put the lanyard around your neck: Slip the lanyard over your head and let it hang around your neck. This will make it easy for you to access them when you need them.
  3. Adjust the length of the lanyard: If needed, adjust the length of the lanyard so that the picks are at a comfortable height for you to use.

Some people use a wrist lanyard allowing the picks to hang by their side and attach the lanyard to the outside of their fishing jacket. But these are not the best places to access your picks, in case of any mishap, especially if your picks can't float.

Common Ice Fishing Safety Mistakes to Avoid When Using Ice Picks

Here are some common mistakes people make when using ice fishing picks and how you can avoid them:

  1. Not wearing the ice picks correctly: Wearing the ice picks incorrectly can be dangerous as they may not be easily accessible in case you need them. Make sure to wear the ice picks around your neck using the lanyard so that they are always within reach.
  2. Using the ice picks to break through the ice: The ice picks are meant for stability, not for breaking through the ice like traditional kitchen ice picks. Using them to break through the ice can damage the picks and also pose a safety risk. Always use an ice auger or other designated tools to make holes in the ice.
  3. Not having the right size and weight of the ice picks: The size and weight of the ice picks can impact their effectiveness and comfort. Make sure to choose ice picks that are the right size and weight for you, based on your body type and the type of fishing you will be doing.
  4. Not practicing with the ice picks: Before going out on the ice, it's a good idea to practice using the ice picks to become familiar with their weight and how to hold them. This will give you more confidence and make you less likely to make mistakes.
  5. Not checking the picks for damage: Before venturing out for ice fishing, make sure to inspect them for any signs of damage or wear. If the pick is bent or damaged in any way, it may not provide adequate support when you need it.

Final Thoughts on the Best Ice Fishing Picks

Ice fishing picks are a great addition to any prepared angler's gear. They provide you with the assurance of safety and security in case of an emergency. When selecting your picks, be sure to take into account their materials, grip, retractable spikes, cord quality, length, floating capabilities, and color.

It is also important that you wear them correctly and keep them close at hand for easy access in the event of an emergency.

By taking these simple precautions, you can enjoy your time on the ice with confidence knowing that you are well-equipped to handle whatever comes your way!

A man using ice picks to get out of water
A man using ice picks to get out of the water