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Ice Fishing with Snowmobiles:
What You Should Know

Posted On: 11/3/2020

The weather is getting cooler, which means the snowmobiling and ice fishing seasons are just around the corner!

While winter does bring extra darkness, some extremely cold days and a whole lot of shoveling and plowing, the consolation is you get to spend time out on the ice with your buddies fishing. And if you’re a snowmobile owner, your ice fishing excursions become even more fun and exciting. What better way to get out to your chosen fishing spot than to zip across the surface on your snowmobile?

Before you can think about filling up your thermos and putting on your coat and boots, it’s important to make sure you’re fully outfitted for a fun and safe snowmobile fishing trip.

Let’s take a look at what you should know before heading out.

Minimum thickness guide for new ice
Make sure you measure any ice before you walk, ride or drive on it!

Ideal snowmobiles for ice fishing

Not every snowmobile is equal when it comes to ice fishing capabilities. Experts generally recommend the use of utility snowmobiles for ice fishing, because they’re much better equipped for hauling cargo. Performance snowmobiles are designed for racing, and thus are designed more with speed and handling in mind than with power output, towing capacity and comfort.

Just about every major snowmobile brand will have a good selection of utility snowmobiles on hand. If you know you’re going to be primarily using your snowmobile for ice fishing or for utility purposes around your own property, this is definitely the option you’re going to want to go with.

Modifying and customizing your snowmobile for ice fishing

We totally get that you’re itching to get out on the ice as soon as possible, and the good news is that with a utility snowmobile you don’t have to perform a whole lot of modifications to get yourself ready for your next ice fishing excursion.

There are, however, a few snowmobile accessories that can make hauling your equipment a bit more convenient.

  • Studded tracks: A studded track provides better grip on the ice, so you don’t have to worry about sliding around on the surface or having to deal with a low-quality ride.
  • GPS: It’s very smart to outfit your snowmobile with a GPS or sonar unit. You can put maps of lakes directly into your GPS so you can easily track where you’re heading on the water, and can help you mark specific hazard points on the water. The sonar feature allows you to drill a hole and check the depth without having to get everything else unpacked.
  • Auger brackets: Every ice fisher needs an auger to carve out a hole in the ice. And if you’re planning on going out on your snowmobile, that means you’re going to need a way to transport it. That’s where the auger bracket comes in. This is a specialized bracket you can mount to your snowmobile to make it easy for you to transport the auger without having to worry about it falling and getting damaged.
  • Sleds: A tow-behind sled to store your gear can make a big difference in your hauling. It’ll help you get all your equipment out in one go, and keep it safe in the process.
  • Hitch kits: If you’ve got a snowmobile with a trailer hitch, a good addition can be a hitch kit for the sled to give you a stronger attachment for towing.
  • Buckets: It’s very useful to have a couple buckets along with you on any ice fishing trip. You can use them to carry tools, as excess storage or as places to toss your fish when you catch them. Strap the buckets on to the sled to prevent them from moving around during transportation.
  • Rod holders: You can attach rod holders to your snowmobile to create a convenient place to hold your rods during transportation.
  • Ice scratchers: Many people who use their snowmobile for ice fishing attach some ice scratchers on the bottom. When riding on glare ice, there’s a chance your sliders can get a bit hot. The ice scratcher creates some shavings to prevent that from occurring.

With the proper customizations, you can gear up your snowmobile for a successful ice fishing trip this winter. Have fun out there, and stay warm!