I bring the shelter and trap almost every time I go out, but rarely use them. I find myself using the ladle to keep the holes free from ice, but I'm either catchig fish or punching another half dozen holes. If the bite isn't on then I'm constantly moving to locate the fish. I use the shelter only if the weather goes to crap. or take a mid-afternoon snooze (damn those budweisers!). Once that sun comes up, the thermometer may read twenty, but to me it feels like fifty eight.. I never seem to feel cold; guess there's something to be said about carrying around an exta 20lbs of body fat..insulation!
Pete there is a higher reason for carrying around a extra 20 plus same as me, the good lord has preped us to with stand the uneviitable ice age thats about 5 years out. All those skinny people will be dropping like flies as we head out in a wife beater. So to all the fat hairy ice men out there good luck on the ice.
There are several products out there keep ice from forming in holes check out this link it has a product used for ice shanties that are like inserts that are used to cover holes and keep them open! Also they have a product to remove all ice from a hole in one pass!
I cut pieces of shower board in 12" squares with a 1" slit cut from the middle of one side to about 2/3 of the way in. I have several of them and use them to cover my tip ups when fishing several at a time in Neb (where it is legal to have five lines per person through the ice). This is cheap and works great.
on days that the ice would form to quickly I punch
another hole , somewhat overlapping the first but only a
few inches down so water flows into it , in that I put a
foldjers coffee can with charcoal or sterno,
keeps the water thawed , quick handwarmer ,doesnt quite hot enough to melt the surrounding hard ice and is
great to cook some brats or dogs .