When most people think about ice fishing, the first thing that comes to mind is a person sitting in a small wooden shack on a frozen lake, with a fishing rod in hand. What many people don’t know, however, is that ice fishing can be just as exciting as traditional fishing – you just need to use the right bait bucket!
Best Ice Fishing Bait Bucket Review
Our team has put together a list of the best bait buckets on the market, based on customer feedback and product quality. From insulated options to budget-friendly picks, we’ve got you covered. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our top-rated baiting buckets below!
1# Frabill Universal Bait Station
The Frabill Universal Bait Station is the perfect way to keep your bait fresh and accessible. The battery-powered aerator ensures that your bait stays properly oxygenated, while the insulated design keeps it fresh and cool. The durable moulded base with nonslip pads prevents tipping, and the soft-sided body makes it easy to transport. The quick-access bait door adds convenience, and the mesh side pocket provides extra storage. The bait station holds up to 8 Qts. of water, ice, or soil and is compatible with up to 4 sizes 3600 boxes.
2# Frabill Dual Bait Bucket with Aerator
Looking for an advanced live bait storage solution that will keep your minnows healthy and frisky? Check out the Frabill Dual Bait Bucket with Aerator. This innovative bucket features a lid-mounted battery-powered aerator for oxygenating the water, as well as an insulated liner to help maintain water temperature. The unique lid design provides security and easy access, and there’s even a built-in clip-on aerator bracket and hose hole in the lid for aerator tubing. With a 1.3-gallon capacity, this bucket is perfect for storing your bait, and its durable molded construction and sturdy carry handle make it easy to transport.
3# Frabill 8-Quart Floating Wade Bucket
When you’re looking to get your bait in the water, you need a reliable floating bucket. The Frabill 8-Quart Floating Wade Bucket is constructed from tough galvanized steel and has an easy-to-open lid with multiple aeration holes. Thanks to its interior buoyancy collar, the large bucket always floats the door up for easy retrieval.
4# StrikeMaster Bait Bucket
The StrikeMaster Bait Bucket is the perfect choice for long-term bait storage. This watertight, insulated bucket features a rubber gasket in the lid to provide a splashproof and airtight seal. The removable handle makes it easy to transport your bait wherever you need to go.
5# Clam Bait Bucket with Insulated Carry Case
Looking for an insulated bait bucket that will prevent your minnows from spilling everywhere? Look no further than the Clam Bait Bucket with Insulated Carry Case! This versatile bait bucket is perfect for use all year round, and features a spill-proof bait keeper with an adjustable shoulder strap and carry handle for easy transport. The screw-top lid has a gasket forming a watertight seal, making it perfect for taking on the go. Plus, the included insulated carry bag provides all-season temperature protection for your minnows. Don’t let spilled bait ruin your next fishing trip – trust the Clam Bait Bucket to keep your bait fresh and protected.
6# Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Station
The Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Station is an effective way to aerate your bait, whether you’re fishing from a boat or on land. The micro bubble diffuser provides whisper-quiet operation, while the removable insulated liner keeps your bait fresh. The watertight design ensures that your bait stays hydrated, and the 6-gallon bucket with 10-quart liner provides plenty of space for all your needs. The power options include 2 D-cell batteries, 12V power adapter for boat or truck use, or by 120V use at home (120V adapter not included).
7# Frabill Aqua Life Bait Box with Aerator
The Aqua Life Bait Box with Aerator is the perfect way to keep your bait fresh and aerated while you’re on the go. The durable insulation keeps bait cool, while the included Frabill model 14331 aerator ensures that your bait remains healthy and active.
8# Frabill Magnum Shrimp Flow-Troll Bait Bucket
Looking for a bait bucket that is not only saltwater safe but also aerates your shrimp as you pull it through the water? Look no further than the Magnum Shrimp Flow-Troll Bait Bucket from Frabill. This bucket is designed with a shrimp insert and a convenient carry handle, making it easy to transport live bait from one spot to another. The hydrodynamic shape ensures that the bucket floats with the door up, keeping your bait healthy and lively.
9# Frabill Drainer Dual Bait Bucket
The Frabill Drainer Dual Bait Bucket is the perfect tool for serious anglers. This bucket features tough molded construction, a full lift-out interior minnow trap, and a built-in lid compartment for bait or tackle. It’s also pre-equipped for adding a portable aerator (sold separately), with a clip-on bracket and air hose hole in the lid. Keep your bait fresh and your hands dry while you’re fishing with the Frabill Drainer Dual Bait Bucket.
10# Frabill Bait Bucket
The Frabill bait bucket is a top-of-the-line live bait storage container that helps you keep your minnows healthy and frisky. The advanced lid design allows for easy access, and the sturdy carry handle makes transport a breeze. The built-in clip-on bracket also lets you easily attach a battery-powered aerator.
11# Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Bucket with Aerator
The Frabill Aqua-Life Bait Bucket with Aerator is a durable, insulated bait bucket that’s perfect for keeping your bait fresh. The accessory lid has molded slots to hold a bait net or aerator, while the included Frabill 14331 Aerator helps to keep your bait healthy and lively.
12# Frabill Magnum Bait Station
The Magnum Bait Station is a heavy-duty, injection-moulded bait container that’s perfect for keeping your bait healthy in any weather. The commercial-grade foam insulation keeps bait fresh and the padded shoulder strap makes transport easy.
13# Frabill Worm & Leech Lodge
Looking for a reliable way to keep your bait lively and fresh? Check out the Frabill Worm & Leech Lodge! This bait bucket features an easy-to-open, ventilated lid with secure locking points, ensuring that your bait stays lively and fresh. The insulated foam insert keeps your bait cool and comfortable, while the grab-and-go rope handle makes it easy to carry. Made in the USA, this bait bucket is a must-have for any serious angler.
14# Frabill Shrimp Shak with Aerator
The Frabill Shrimp Shak with Aerator is the perfect tool for keeping your bait fresh while you’re out on the water. The durable, insulated liner is removable so you can easily clean it, and the large, self-standing bait door makes it easy to access your bait. Plus, the included Frabill model 14331 aerator runs on 2 D-cell batteries (not included) to keep your bait healthy and lively.
Ice fishing can be a fun and rewarding experience, but only if you have the right gear. In this article, we’ve recommended what we believe to be the best ice fishing bait buckets on the market today. We’ve also included some tips on how to use your new bait bucket so that you can make the most of your next ice fishing trip. Thanks for reading!
I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).
All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.
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Anglers are very inventive and everyone improves his design as he can and as he wants. It’s interesting to see how different people customize their fishing buckets to fit their needs. The velcro strips sound like a great addition to keep everything secure without drilling holes into the bucket.
I have a friend who also uses a fishing bucket for his bait and gear. He has a similar setup with multiple rods and a scooper, but he also uses it to store his live bait. He has velcro strips all around the bucket to fit everything in any place he wants.
I can imagine how seriously some ice fishermen take their sleds, as I’ve seen some impressive setups myself. It would be great to see your dad’s neighbor’s setup if you’re able to snag some pictures. I’m always fascinated by the creative ways people come up with to customize their fishing gear.
I have the larger bucket for ice fishing and I generally find it to be a good option. However, there are a few issues that I have come across. Firstly, the lid has a tendency to freeze shut which can be quite frustrating.
Secondly, the side hole for the aerator hose leaked, so I had to add teflon tape to make it work better. I also lost the aerator the first time I took it out, so it’s important to make sure it’s well-secured. I’ve been trying to figure out a cost-effective way to power aerators, but it’s proving to be a bit of a challenge. I have a Clam lithium but unfortunately lost the charger, and it costs $15 to replace it.
One thing I really like to do is to line a 6-gallon bucket with a styrofoam round pail. This helps to keep minnows fresh for a longer period of time and provides good ventilation. I actually use both the bucket and styrofoam pail so that the minnows aren’t overcrowded. Overall, I think this setup works pretty well, despite a few minor issues.
I have a simple and cheap solution. On short winter fishing trips, I take a plastic bucket with me, in which honey is transported. It’s sturdy enough, you can sit on it, and I bolted two-rod tubes and a small container to the side. Inside the bucket strengthened and gave the thermal insulation of standard self-adhesive material. It turned out well and comfortably.
I have personal experience with all 3 sizes of the Clam insulated buckets and overall, I like them. However, there is one drawback that I have noticed with these buckets. The seal that makes them spill-proof also makes them airtight, which can cause problems for live bait.
Once, I left a scoop of crappie minnows in the small bucket with the cover on, and within a few hours, they were all dead. The bucket was clean, but I believe that they ran out of oxygen in the water. So, I now only screw the cover on when I am transporting them to and from the lake. Since I fish in lakes close enough to my house, this isn’t usually an issue for me.
When I am set up and storing the buckets in my garage between trips, I always take the top off to allow for proper ventilation. One helpful tip I have discovered with these buckets is that if you are in really cold weather and the water starts to freeze in them, you can take a disposable hand warmer and place it between the bucket and the insulated bag. This isn’t an issue when in a heated shack, but it can be helpful when out in the cold.
It sounds like the ENGLE bait coolers are a versatile option for both summer and ice fishing. I recently recommended them to a couple of my friends for summer fishing and they seemed impressed. The coolers are durable and come with a good aerator that can run on batteries or a 12-volt plug, giving you the flexibility to choose.
I’m considering getting one for myself, as there are three sizes available – 13qt, 19qt, and 30qt. The 30qt size would make a great live well to keep fish from freezing, or you could use it and a block of ice if you don’t want to deal with the DNR’s regulations around keeping water in the well during the summer. Overall, the ENGLE bait coolers seem like a reliable option for anglers who need a high-quality, versatile cooler.
As an ice fisherman, I must say that I am very happy with my Frabill Bucket. What I love the most about it is that it has an air pump built right into the lid, which keeps my bait lively and healthy all day long.
The added LED light is a nice touch, making it easier to see inside the bucket when I’m out on the ice in the dark. But what really sets this bucket apart is the fact that I have an adapter with clips that I connect to a spare Vexilar Battery. This allows me to run the air pump for up to a week without needing to recharge, which is a game-changer for longer ice-fishing trips.
In fact, our group of ice fishermen now uses two of these buckets for our week-long trips. We start out with plenty of minnows, loading up both buckets to ensure we have plenty of bait to last us through the trip. All in all, I highly recommend the Frabill Bucket to any ice fishing enthusiast looking for a reliable and convenient way to keep their bait alive and kicking on the ice.
In my opinion, Engel bait coolers may seem expensive but they are worth the price due to their sturdiness and metal latches that won’t break easily. On the other hand, the Frabil coolers I have seen are made of plastic and do not seem as durable or capable of sealing as well as Engel coolers.
I am not familiar with the current Frabil models, but I would avoid getting one with an aerator integrated into the lid because if it fails, it would be difficult to find a replacement that fits.
Instead, go for one that has an aerator that can hang on the side, allowing you to use any aerator you want. The battery-powered Engel aerators are not the best, so I would suggest going for their new lithium aerator or considering buying a replacement from another brand.
As an avid angler, I recently purchased the Frabill and have been quite pleased with its ability to seal well. However, I have found that the latches are a bit cheap and not very durable. In fact, I broke one of them when there was a thin layer of ice on the seal and I snapped the latch down, causing it to break immediately. Luckily, the other latch still keeps it watertight.
One feature of the Frabill that I really appreciate is its aerator, which seems to last forever on just one battery. It also has a plug-in adaptor for your truck or can be adapted to plug into a wall with a bit of searching on Amazon.
The only downside is that you have to take it apart to replace the batteries. However, I find that if it’s hanging off the side, something is bound to break it off or the hose might disconnect, so I see pros and cons to both methods.
I’m happy with my Frabill purchase and would recommend it to fellow anglers. Just be mindful of the latches and take care not to damage them when opening or closing the lid.
I have gone through several aerated buckets over the years. In my experience, the best one I have found was a mini 1-gallon drink cooler that I picked up at a rummage sale. I attached a battery-operated aerator to the side of the cooler with some velcro, and it worked like a charm.
However, after a few uses, the aerator eventually gave out and I had to replace it. I found that it was actually cheaper to buy a separate aerator and attach it to the cooler rather than buying a pre-made aerated bucket. Plus, by buying a separate aerator, I also have the option of using it as an aquarium aerator at home.
My advice to fellow anglers would be to check out thrift stores and rummage sales for a cooler that will suit your needs and then invest in a separate aerator to attach to it. This will not only save you money in the long run but also give you more control over the quality and durability of your aerated bucket.
I have had a great experience with my Engle 19 qt. the model that I bought about 2.5 years ago. It has been a reliable cooler for all of my summer trips. However, I did have to replace the aerator once, and it needs to be replaced again.
Interestingly, my brother-in-law has been using his Engle cooler for about 5-6 years now and he is still using the original pump. Right now, I am using a Clam rechargeable aerator on the ice and it has been running smoothly for the past 3 winters.
One of the reasons I like the Engle pump is that it can run on batteries, 12v, or 110v. Although it can be a bit loud, it still works really well. Now, I am thinking of getting two different types of aerators – one that can run on both batteries and 12v, and another one that can be plugged into 110v in the garage.
Overall, I have been quite satisfied with my Engle cooler and would definitely recommend it to others who are looking for a reliable and versatile cooler for their outdoor activities. Just be aware that the aerator may need to be replaced every once in a while.
As an outdoor enthusiast, I own both the 13 and 19 qt Engels and have been using them for various activities. I usually keep them in my boat during big wave days in the summer and in the Otter Box of my ATV for rough ice rides during the winter. I am happy to report that they have held up really well over the years.
I did have to replace the original noisy aerator with a Clam lithium battery-operated aerator which lasted for three years of hard use. Recently, I decided to upgrade to the new Engel lithium aerator and used it for a week on LOTW. I was really impressed with its performance as it worked perfectly and had excellent battery life.
Overall, I highly recommend Engel coolers to anyone who is looking for a durable and reliable option for their outdoor activities. With the added option of the new lithium aerator, it just makes it an even better choice.
I had the opportunity to use an Engel bait cooler throughout last year, and while I found it to be a great product overall, I did experience some issues when the temperature dropped way below freezing. When that happened, the net basket inside the cooler froze to the walls, making it almost impossible to remove it.
As a result, I found myself without a dip net and had to use my hands to grab the bait, which wasn’t very pleasant in such extremely cold weather. While you can try to prevent the lid from freezing by using vaseline, there’s not much you can do about the net basket freezing to the inside of the cooler.
I think this issue may only be relevant to a small percentage of users, but as someone who spends days in the backcountry, it can be a real problem. So, while the Engel bait cooler is slick and works great in most situations, it may not be the best option for extreme cold weather. In those conditions, it may just become an $80 insulated bucket.