Author Topic: Best method of ice fishing transportation  (Read 1743 times)

Offline Slabseek3r

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Best method of ice fishing transportation
« on: Apr 16, 2019, 09:56 AM »
Im Looking to get a vehicle to use on the ice next year, and was wondering the pros and cons of stuff like atvs, tracksleds, 3 wheelers, snowmobiles, etc. On the ice. Iowa ice is either bare or has lots of slush, so it has to be able to go through slush.
Formerly Just a random ice fisherman-didnt care for that name anyway
"I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine"
-Johnny Cash


Offline Slabseek3r

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #1 on: Apr 16, 2019, 10:36 AM »
I can get a really good deal on a liquid cooled snowmobile here, if they do very well in slush. Also, could you put tires on the front for summer or bare ice?
Formerly Just a random ice fisherman-didnt care for that name anyway
"I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine"
-Johnny Cash


Offline doctorgee

  • Iceshanty Militia
  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • *
  • Posts: 3,194
  • "I knew it was wrong, I did it anyway" -Gonzo
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #2 on: Apr 16, 2019, 12:24 PM »
This is an age old question and often has no right or wrong answer. I will tell you my opinion... if I had to choose one vehicle for ice fishing it would be a sled no doubt. The only time a sled isn't practical is when there is zero snow on the ice, and in that condition it's very easy to walk and pull whatever you want. But there are many times where a wheeler is not practical due to too much snow. Bad slush can be a problem for any vehicle including a sled, but for me, an experienced snowmobile rider, I would rather have a sled on slush than a wheeler.

Sleds unfortunately are a big problem in glare ice conditions because the track rides on metal clips that ride on hard plastic runners called hyfax. If there is no snow to lubricate the hyfax then the track clips can heat up due to friction and melt to the hyfax.

Liquid cooled sleds also require the snow to cool the intercooler that is normally affixed to under the seat within the tunnel. So a liquid cooled sled is really not feasible on glare ice conditions. Air cooled is somewhat better but also not ideal due to the track lubrication issue.

Very old sleds use bogie wheel suspensions that do not have hyfax. The track rides on rubber coated wheels. They also usually are free air/air cooled motors, so they can be run on glare ice or dirt, pavement or whatever.

You can get wheel kits for any sled, but again, it's only very old vintage sleds that could take advantage of them on glare ice or dirt. Air cooled sleds also suffer from overheating issues on really warm days.
Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline muskyon46

  • IceShanty Mod Team
  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • *
  • Posts: 4,642
  • Wishin I was Fishin><{}:>
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #3 on: Apr 16, 2019, 12:48 PM »
X2 on dostorgee's post. Very good info to help you make a choice. I will offer up what I decided to do as the machines presented themselves at the right time for the right price. I 1st went with a 97' polaris grand touring 500 trail sled as we do get a good amount of snow here so it was a no brainer. I have since installed scratchers to keep my hyfax cool and provide some ice chunks to the cooler when the snow is very hard packed. There are a few places I fish mainly in Wyoming that do not get much snow, so The next purchase was a 96' polaris 250 trail boss. Its only 2 wheel drive, but I have v-bar chains I put on all 4 tires for the winter. The front chains only purpose is to give me better steering on the glare ice and I get questioned about them all the time when people see its only 2 wheel drive. That thing can handle up to about 6-8in of snow and them its time for the sled. Together I'm only into them just under $2000. I do get alot of use out of the wheeler in the summer also, so its duel purpose for me with that one. I feel it was a good decision for both for my fishing situations. Here's some pics of them



         

Offline dogfish

  • Team IceShanty Addict
  • *
  • Posts: 858
  • Walk softly and carry a big gaff
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #4 on: Apr 17, 2019, 02:31 PM »
My comment here is to Muskyon 46
Just a safety thing.  No 4 wheeler mfg out there including Polaris will tell you it is ok to put chains on any 4 wheeler front tires.  If a tire tosses a chain it will either go forward and down or back and up, so if you have a front tire toss a chain you have a 50% chance of eating that chain.  And that is going to hurt!
When the going gets weird the weird turn pro.

Offline muskyon46

  • IceShanty Mod Team
  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • *
  • Posts: 4,642
  • Wishin I was Fishin><{}:>
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #5 on: Apr 17, 2019, 06:04 PM »
Appreciate you bringing this up dogfish. I have heard of this happening and I do secure mine very good. After I get the locks on them tightened up I secure all loose links and the locks with zip ties to give them just a little bit more added safety. I also started using the spring loaded tighteners on the outside since the rubber bungees weather so fast and deteriorate. Going on 4 years now and all has felt safe enough for me. I keep the speeds down quite a bit to on the hard deck also, it isn't the dunes.
         

Offline dunnhuntin

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #6 on: Apr 17, 2019, 06:33 PM »
If its a good deal I wouldn't be afraid of the liquid cooled sled. Mine is liquid cooled. With a studded track and scratchers I kick up enough ice to both cool my sled and lubricate my hyfax. I've never overheated mine and I do some long runs pulling a sleigh, often on bare ice at the start and end of the season. Just get a pair of scratchers and stud the track. A studded track makes a huge difference in added traction as well. If you're worried about slush, a snowmobile is your best option.

Offline tjacob

  • Team IceShanty Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #7 on: Apr 17, 2019, 07:40 PM »
This past winter in Minnesota was particularly brutal with lots of snow and slush. Nearly every form of vehicle had a lot of problems with the slush when off plowed roads. Seems the vehicle with the least problems were ATV/UTV's with tracks. Not to say they were problem free, but overall the better choice.

Offline bouncin_toads

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #8 on: Apr 17, 2019, 11:26 PM »
YOUR FEET!!!

Offline Royalwapiti

  • Team IceShanty Addict
  • *
  • Posts: 522
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #9 on: Apr 18, 2019, 06:52 AM »
I was from central Iowa and now moved to the Iowa line up in the NW corner.  This past winter was the only one in the past 5 winters where the snow was too deep to get a ATV on the ice.  And this winter the deep snow only affected the last 4-6 weeks of the season.  I could still walk on the snow covered lakes, on bigger busier lakes somebody always drives a vehicle on and creates a packed path, so your atv or walking is still good.  You will get much more use from an ATV than a snowmobile, in my opinion in Iowa.
You can't get the fruit if you don't go out on the limb.

Offline doctorgee

  • Iceshanty Militia
  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • *
  • Posts: 3,194
  • "I knew it was wrong, I did it anyway" -Gonzo
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #10 on: Apr 18, 2019, 11:03 AM »
If its a good deal I wouldn't be afraid of the liquid cooled sled. Mine is liquid cooled. With a studded track and scratchers I kick up enough ice to both cool my sled and lubricate my hyfax. I've never overheated mine and I do some long runs pulling a sleigh, often on bare ice at the start and end of the season. Just get a pair of scratchers and stud the track. A studded track makes a huge difference in added traction as well. If you're worried about slush, a snowmobile is your best option.

That's true, I often take my 190hp liquid cooled turbo charged beast on glare ice for as long as she'll let me before complaining.

Notice the lack of snow:
Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline dunnhuntin

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #11 on: Apr 18, 2019, 09:56 PM »
I was from central Iowa and now moved to the Iowa line up in the NW corner.  This past winter was the only one in the past 5 winters where the snow was too deep to get a ATV on the ice.  And this winter the deep snow only affected the last 4-6 weeks of the season.  I could still walk on the snow covered lakes, on bigger busier lakes somebody always drives a vehicle on and creates a packed path, so your atv or walking is still good.  You will get much more use from an ATV than a snowmobile, in my opinion in Iowa.


An ATV may be usable year round for some people, but if the sole use is for ice fishing (assumed from OP) it can't do as much as a snowmobile. As a toy to use all year, a quad has a longer season but a snowmobile is a better machine  with more capability for ice fishing. A quad is a good jack of all trades but a snowmobile is better at doing snowmobile things on snow, ice and slush

Offline Woodsman

  • Team IceShanty Addict
  • *
  • Posts: 893
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #12 on: Apr 19, 2019, 07:13 PM »
Well said dunnhunting.

Living proof that "beer builds better bellies"

Offline Light liner

  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • **
  • Posts: 1,461
  • Rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6.
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #13 on: Apr 19, 2019, 07:38 PM »
Atv or utv with tracks
Champlain
Memphremagog

Offline JonPerry

  • Team IceShanty Addict
  • *
  • Posts: 558
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #14 on: Apr 19, 2019, 09:22 PM »
ATV with chains. Best thing to do is deflate the tire/pull the tire valve, chain it up as tight as you can get it, inflate to 5 lbs, cut off or wire up the excess links so they don't slap anything. There's no way my chains would come off. If there isn't enough space on the front set between the rim & front end, buy 1" spacers. I had chains on all 4 & it churned thru the snow like nobodies business until it hi centered. I had to remove 2 lines of cross links order to get the front chain set to mount tight. I wish I would've done it years ago. Mine is a 2000 Polaris H.O.

Offline Royalwapiti

  • Team IceShanty Addict
  • *
  • Posts: 522
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #15 on: Apr 20, 2019, 05:28 AM »


An ATV may be usable year round for some people, but if the sole use is for ice fishing (assumed from OP) it can't do as much as a snowmobile. As a toy to use all year, a quad has a longer season but a snowmobile is a better machine  with more capability for ice fishing. A quad is a good jack of all trades but a snowmobile is better at doing snowmobile things on snow, ice and slush

i can't remember the last time i saw a snowmobile used for pulling ice gear on a lake in iowa.  just never see them. your comments are valid but it is not happening here. This year I saw it on one lake, one day in the Brookings, SD area only after the deep snow came and that was about 5 fishing trips.   I see snowmobile pleasure riders but very few pulling gear.
You can't get the fruit if you don't go out on the limb.

Offline chaumontriverguy

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 3
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #16 on: Apr 20, 2019, 07:28 AM »
I've got a regular wheeler , tracked wheeler , a six wheeler , a 1989 and 1990 cheetah touring long track (156), a 1986 alpine 503 , and a new polaris titan . they all have a time their best . but all around most useful is a snowmobile ( fan cooled or like my titan has a radiator to cool in low snow ) stud it for bare ice and scratchers if you are really concerned . a long track sled will hang in with a tracked wheeler in slush if it has the power ( a 156 track) . tracked wheelers will do just about everything but they throw a ton of slop on you and they're not great at long runs on ice . if your looking for an ice only transport fan cooled utility snowmobile is hard to beat (best bang for your buck ) my 2cents

Offline Slabseek3r

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #17 on: Apr 21, 2019, 08:10 AM »
Thanks for the replies. It would mostly be for ice fishing and winter transport, as I have a honda trx125 (no VIN) that does everything for the summer, plus a tractor. I've included a pic of the one I'm looking at, but I'm not sure if I'll buy it yet.

Formerly Just a random ice fisherman-didnt care for that name anyway
"I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine"
-Johnny Cash


Offline Light liner

  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • **
  • Posts: 1,461
  • Rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6.
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #18 on: Apr 21, 2019, 03:29 PM »
Those old polaris sleds are great, especially the 488 fan cooled.
Light and dont need snow to keep cool.
Champlain
Memphremagog

Offline Bucket Rump

  • Iceshanty Militia
  • Team IceShanty Regular
  • *
  • Posts: 459
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #19 on: Apr 21, 2019, 05:17 PM »
My main ice fishing transportation is an older 1994 Polaris Indy Trail Deluxe with the 488 fan cooled Fuji motor along with electric start, reverse, and studded track.  I added ice scratchers to help with keeping the slides cool when running on bare ice and use a Johnson's Cargo Rack to haul the majority of my stuff.  I'd also recommend a good set of 8" carbide skegs/runners on the ski's if you stud the track and carry much weight on the cargo rack, and you will likely want to set the rear suspension to the stiffest setting.  This setup has worked well for me - reliable machine.

Offline bart

  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • **
  • Posts: 4,384
  • I love you, Deb
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #20 on: Apr 21, 2019, 07:13 PM »
"Many fish their entire lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."-Henry David Thoreau
  MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Offline Roccus

  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • **
  • Posts: 1,437
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #21 on: Apr 22, 2019, 11:24 AM »


An ATV may be usable year round for some people, but if the sole use is for ice fishing (assumed from OP) it can't do as much as a snowmobile. As a toy to use all year, a quad has a longer season but a snowmobile is a better machine  with more capability for ice fishing. A quad is a good jack of all trades but a snowmobile is better at doing snowmobile things on snow, ice and slush
agree completely, that said, I run a can am 850 with 18mm carbide  studded tires, it's hard to stop and is the most practical for me because of where I fish and my  my storage situation... otherwise , because I only use it ice fishing, I'd run a air cooled sled with the nastiest studs money could buy.
"A mans got to know his limitations"

Offline 52isntbigenough

  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • **
  • Posts: 1,452
  • Red Drum aren't Trout
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #22 on: Apr 22, 2019, 12:00 PM »


An ATV may be usable year round for some people, but if the sole use is for ice fishing (assumed from OP) it can't do as much as a snowmobile. As a toy to use all year, a quad has a longer season but a snowmobile is a better machine  with more capability for ice fishing. A quad is a good jack of all trades but a snowmobile is better at doing snowmobile things on snow, ice and slush

Disagree somewhat, this season we developed so much snow and slush that sleds were useless pulling anything out. Only vehicles that had any luck were ATVs/UTVs with tracks. Sounds like OP won't be running into anything like we had in Northern WI, so to put it in his perspective, he's probably better off with a sled.

Offline dunnhuntin

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #23 on: Apr 22, 2019, 02:31 PM »
Disagree somewhat, this season we developed so much snow and slush that sleds were useless pulling anything out. Only vehicles that had any luck were ATVs/UTVs with tracks. Sounds like OP won't be running into anything like we had in Northern WI, so to put it in his perspective, he's probably better off with a sled.

Interesting point! I'm just north of the border near Thunder Bay where we had very similar conditions this year. I've seen a few quads with track kits and they do well in the deep stuff, and float better than short track sleds. They might work well, but for the cost of a quad and track kit you can buy a new skandic, Indy voyageur, bearcat or similar sled with wide ski skins and studded paddle track that will handle the same conditions, go faster, and save some cash for more gear. If going the used route like most do on a budget or for a first ice rig, I could buy my sled 3 times or more for the cost of just a track kit for a wheeler. They are an awesome setup but just too expensive for a lot of people.

Offline Skywagon

  • Team IceShanty Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #24 on: Apr 22, 2019, 07:23 PM »
I am guessing that N/W Iowa does not normally have all that much snow depth on the lakes.  With that assumption I would think a 4-wheel drive 4-wheeler that has good ground clearance, along with aggresive tires, would go in most conditions they would have, maybe even better than a snowmobile most of the time.  I saw one go through some awful deep slush conditions this weekend (N/W Ontario), the aggresive tires made the difference, very impressive.  My first machine of choice for here is a long wide-track snowmobile with lots of HP, not sure that is really necessary for Iowa.

Offline Drifter_016

  • Iceshanty Militia
  • Team IceShantyholic
  • *
  • Posts: 5,244
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #25 on: Apr 22, 2019, 07:49 PM »
If you get a lot of deep slush you really need a long track with plenty of horse power to get up on top of it and stay there.
Even worse if you're pulling a boggan, which will load up with slush and start to dig in.
Buddy's have regaled me with tales of standing waist deep in slush trying to get their smaller 500-600 cc sleds out of the crap.
My one buddy ended up leaving the sled and walking back to his cabin a couple of miles away soaked with icy slush. He had to grab a couple of sheets of ply wood to haul the sled and boggan up onto. They left it there overnight and brought it back to the cabin the next morning after it had firmed up.

First time I got into deep slush I was just out for a ride on my new sled. I felt the back start to sink and it felt mushy. I turned around to see a seep slushy channel behind me. Pinned the throttle on my 1000cc sled and popped right up on top with no problem. 

Offline Slabseek3r

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #26 on: Apr 22, 2019, 09:02 PM »
Central iowa did have pretty bad slush at the end of last season, and most years there is some snow, but not a ton. I was going to build a tracksled, but I can get a trailer and snowmobile for about 500 bucks. The cheapest wheeler that I can find is over 900 bucks for a 125 cc one that's in bad shape. That's why I'm going the snowmobile route. Thanks for all the input guys.
Formerly Just a random ice fisherman-didnt care for that name anyway
"I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine"
-Johnny Cash


Offline eiderz

  • IceShanty Mod Team
  • Team IceShanty Maniac
  • *
  • Posts: 2,566
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #27 on: Apr 23, 2019, 07:01 AM »
Best of luck with your sled Slabseek3r, I bet you'll be very happy with it. If you get in slush just keep the speed up.....just like water skipping. The water skipping adage applies in slush, "If you slow down, you go down", keep her pinned and enjoy the ride!  ;D

Offline Bucket Rump

  • Iceshanty Militia
  • Team IceShanty Regular
  • *
  • Posts: 459
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #28 on: Apr 23, 2019, 07:12 AM »
Another tip for slush or deep snow is to only stop your sled on a previously made track by doing a circle/loop around to the track you just made.

Offline MarkumJerkem

  • IceShanty Rookie
  • **
  • Posts: 2
Re: Best method of ice fishing transportation
« Reply #29 on: Apr 30, 2019, 07:03 PM »
Ditto on the long track. Have never been stuck in slush.

 



Follow Iceshanty at Twitter Iceshanty Facebook Page Iceshanty Youtube Channel
Iceshanty | MyFishFinder | MyHuntingForum
Contact | Disclaimer | Privacypolicy | Sponsor
© 1996- Iceshanty.com
All Rights Reserved.