Using A Chainsaw For Ice Fishing – How To Do It Properly

Using a chainsaw for ice fishing, is it possible, effective, and safe?

Well, that’s exactly what I’ll be going over in this post so keep reading…

Is a chainsaw powerful enough to cut through ice?

Yes, a chainsaw is powerful enough to cut through ice. It’s able to cut through ice with ease. When you rev your chainsaw and insert the bar into the ice, it’s going to chew straight through the ice. 

At the end of the day, ice is simply frozen water and is no match for a chainsaw.

How do I cut ice with my chainsaw?

You can’t just shove your chainsaw into the ice and hope it goes well, that’s a recipe for disaster. You need to plan your cut. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to cut a circle as we see with classic cartoon ice fishing. Instead, you’re going to be cutting a square or a rectangle.

When you decide where you want to cut, try to enter the cut below the tip of the bar. This is going to give you the most amount of control. If you directly try to enter the cut at the very tip of the bar, you’re not going to have as much control and could experience kickback.

After you’ve cut into it, push it down with an object such as a crowbar to get rid of the ice. 

If the ice is really thick, you may have to make multiple cuts. Cut the ice into a square and then have that square, making a rectangle. You then want to get an item such as a crowbar, ax, or shovel to lift or dig the ice out.

After you’ve lifted the ice out, you’re going to want to use your chainsaw to keep cutting through the next layer of ice. At this point, you would have come to the bottom of the ice and water will start coming up. You can try to push the remaining ice down to get it out of the way or get a bucket and get the water and ice out.

Here’s a video showing you how it’s done:

Preventing the chainsaw from rusting

When your chainsaw is getting dunked into water, it’s going to rust quickly if you’re not taking proper care of it. 

Make sure to dry the entire chainsaw as soon as you can. I would recommend taking it apart and drying it with a rag. 

Take the chain off the bar and get into every space you can with a rag. 

After it’s been dried, you can reoil it with some motor oil so it works smoothly again.

Using a chainsaw indoors
Using a chainsaw on roots
Should I rent or buy a chainsaw?

Can I cut through ice with an electric chainsaw?

It’s not recommended to cut ice with an electric chainsaw since water could get into the chainsaw and damage it beyond repair. It’s best to go with a gas chainsaw since they’re able to take more of a beating than an electric chainsaw.

Is ice cutting legal?

It may vary from location to location because the oil your chainsaw lets out can be poisonous the marine life

So check your local state/council law before going ice fishing.


So that’s exactly how you use a chainsaw for ice fishing.

It’s safe and effective as long as you’re doing it properly.