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Rookie Mistakes With First Icehouse

photo: Ken Hayes

This was the first year me and my ice fishing friends built an ice house to put permanently on a lake during the ice fishing season.  We’ve ran into a few problems and things that we will do better next year… the first time around.

My cousin is a carpenter and did a very nice job building the shack with our help.  It’s a pretty nice structure.  That’s not really the problem.  The total cost of the project was under $600.  Not bad!  The problem is when we brought it out.

We didn’t have the funds to build an ice house on a trailer frame, so the plan was to lift it up onto a snowmobile trailer and then slide it off of the trailer once we got it into the spot.  Starting with lifting it up, we found out that the trailer we were going to use was a little too small.  And the icehouse was pretty heavy.  It’s about as light as it could be, but still a challenge to get the structure onto a trailer.

It came of the trailer pretty easy.  We picked a spot blindly and drilled our holes.  Within the first couple of minutes we had already caught our first fish.  A small perch.  This was promising and we were excited.  We had to pack up and didn’t have much time to fish.

The next several days we caught two northerns, 1 crappie, and about 30 tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny perch.  (All were released).  It wasn’t a great spot.  Next time, we are going to scout out a better place before we get out there, because now we have to drag it to another location.

That brings up the next problem.  We didn’t put it on blocks right away.  For a number of reasons including forgetting the right kind of tools, not having enough manpower, and a desire to not work and just fish, the ice house sat right on the ice.  Now a normal MN winter with constant cold temps wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but this winter it’s gotten warm enough that the ice would that and refreeze again.  Now the house is somewhat frozen to the lake.

I’ve been losing sleep about this.  How am I going to free it?  Today is the day where we are going to fix the problem.  I’m armed with ice chisels, a giant wrecking bar, tow straps and chains, and several plans on how to move this without breaking it.

My hope is we will actually get it moved today, blocked up, and start catching some nice size fish.  In reality, I’ll be happy if we just get the thing blocked up.  Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

If you’ve got an icehouse that you are proud of and want to win our ice crib contest, be sure to enter it!

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