Too Large For A 10-Inch Hole: Ice Fishing Hole Size

Too Large For A 10-Inch Hole: Ice Fishing Hole Size
Illustrated by Larry Tople

Ice Fishing

Illustrated by Larry Tople

Some of the most memorable fish are those that barely make it through a big hole. Three of mine come to mind, a lake trout and two pike each of which barely squeezed through 9-inch holes. The lake trout I estimated at just over 30 pounds. One of the pike measured 44 inches and weighed 28 pounds. The other pike hit the ice last season and was one of the biggest ever for television, a fish that was 48 inches and we estimated at over 30 pounds.

I have never had to enlarge a hole to get a fish out, but other staff members have — 50-plus inches of muskie does not fit through an 8-inch hole. Nor does a 40-pound flathead catfish.

The math on hole size is Circumference = 3.14 X Diameter; so a hole with a 6-inch diameter has a circumference of about 19 inches, while a 10-inch hole expands to 31.4 inches. We can get just about anything most of us might normally catch through an 8-inch hole. We can get just about anything most of us might abnormally catch through a 10-inch hole. Still, when I fish for lake sturgeon I cut three 10-inch holes side by side and trim them with a spud bar.

Fish like bluegills and crappies are taller than they are wide. The diameter of the hole is more important than circumference. A 15-inch black crappie is about 8 inches tall. I've not measured the height of any huge bluegills, but like a 15-inch crappie they're a handful, so probably about 8 inches tall.

There's an ice fishing hole size for every situation and it's best to error slightly on the large size — just in case. May the fish you catch this season be too large for a 10-inch hole.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


Blackened Fish Recipe

Tommy Thompson

Blackened fish ready to serve with a side of okra and cucumber-red onion salad. This recipe is...

Pike & Muskie

Best Drive-To Pike Waters

Gord Pyzer

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance.


10 Best Bass Fishing States In America

Matt Straw - November 01, 2017

Which of the ten is the best? You decide.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Minus System Crankbaits for Largemouths

In-Fisherman Editor-In-Chief, Doug Stange demonstrates the use of DT Fat Minus crankbaits for largemouth bass.

Awesome Spoon Bluegill System

Check out this deadly spoon system for big bluegills introduced by one of In-Fisherman's readers.

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...


Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...


Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

See More Stories

More Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing

Important Factors for Trophy Perch

Dan Johnson - April 02, 2018

Several factors affect a fishery's ability to produce generous numbers of giant perch.

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing Methods for Trophy Walleyes

Tom Gruenwald with Dennis Foster and Jeff Matity - February 05, 2015

"Big fish survive because they learn to feed when the odds are in their favor".

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing River Walleyes

Dan Johnson - January 01, 2016

Dan Johnson and Capt. Charlie Nelson, of Duluth, on the river for a glimpse at how current...

See More Ice Fishing

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.