Ice fishing is a wonderful way to spend a blistering cold morning, evening or afternoon in the dreary winter months with your children, friends or by yourself. However, in order to avoid the bitter cold, blustery winds and icicled mustaches that winter ice fishing pictures always portray, ice fishing can be done within the confines of an ice fishing hut.
Ice fishing huts can be portable or permanent, the difference being that the portable hut can be moved to different locations, as they are either easily transportable or readily taken down and set up again.
The Benefits Of Portable Ice Fishing Huts
Permanent ice fishing huts may offer many more conveniences over their portable counterparts, from televisions and stereos to stoves, comfy chairs and couches to pellet stoves for heat and cooking, but portable huts can easily and quickly be moved to where the fish are biting. Fridges aren't required in an ice fishing hut since a pile of snow outside of the hut's door works great as a cooler or fridge.
However, you will want a heat source, so you should have the hut relatively well insulated to keep the warmth in and the biting cold out.
Knowing how to build a portable ice fishing hut will save you the cost of buying a manufactured one, which can easily run into the thousands of dollars with minimal luxuries. Where a minimally enhanced portable ice fishing hut can be built for under a couple of hundred dollars and a few trips to the local thrift store, store-bought portable huts can run into the thousands of dollars, depending upon the quality and the included amenities.
Room can be allocated to provide the luxuries that you want to have with you while waiting for those picky fish to take your baited hook, like your comfy couch, recliner chairs, television and antenna to watch the big game on, or to play the big game on with your Xbox or PlayStation gaming system. With a small generator outside of your ice fishing hut, the electronic upgrades inside are limited only by your desires.
How To Build A Portable Ice Fishing Hut
The first thing for you to do is to design your portable ice fishing hut; the size, amenities and expenses being the biggest design inhibitors. The size of a portable ice fishing hut shouldn't be more than six square feet, and can be made with plastic tubes for the corners of your walls, door frame and ice fishing hole access door, and a heavy, rubberized tarpaulin for the walls, floor, door, window frames and ceiling (if not made as a tee-pee - which is a great starting point design for portable ice fishing huts).
Or, you can use 2 inch by 4 inch ("2 by 4) treated wood for the frame and thin plywood for the walls, with a Polystyrene insulation attached to the interior of the walls, floor and door of the hut. The latter design option would be about ten times the weight of the plastic-sheeted design, and could only be used on at least four inches (4") thick.
With a thick tarpaulin and thick plastic sheeting covering connected plywood boards that make up your floor, a small barbecue or pot-bellied wood stove, a smoker. Or even a fireplace can keep you toasty-warm and the envy of all the frozen mustachioed ice fishermen huddled over open holes on the water, cuddled up in a blanket against the biting cold gales of wintry winds.
The overall weight of a portable ice fishing hut should be well under 150 pounds per square meter (about the same per square yard), in order to lessen the stress on the ice, especially with the ice fishing hole bored inside the hut - which weakens the surrounding ice.
The frame of portable ice fishing hut should be made with as light of a material as possible, like plastic piping or a light-weight wood. The walls and/or flooring should be made with plywood, pressed particle board or a heavy canvass, and an access door to the ice fishing hole should be made with wood and hinges, attached to your wooden floor, not canvas, to make it more steady and durable.
A more creative design may incorporate a window, made of plastic so that the sun can heat the inside of the hut to add to body heat and the heat from a portable gas or propane fueled heater, or a small wood or pellet-fueled stove. Concrete or stone slabs should be used as a base for any fire-related heating sources.
Start with the base of the portable ice fishing hut. It should be made of a more durable wood, at least a 2 by 4, and connected to each other and the plywood with steel "L" braces. Screw the plywood sheets onto the floor frame, and attach board to board with flat brackets and flat head screws. Make a hole in the center of the hut, in order to auger the hole in the ice that you will be fishing through, by making a two square foot door on the floor with hinges.
This allows access to the fishing hole to be closed in order to keep the chills out, for sleeping or when moving the hut. Connect the wall braces with the same connectors, using strong steel screws as opposed to nails as they make for a sturdier purchase.
The height of the portable ice fishing hut should be about 2 to 4 inches higher than however tall you are so that you can stand and stretch while fishing to avoid cramping up while sitting beside the hole in the ice all day long. The ceiling should be made of a strong canvas that is weatherproofed, to keep the winds and overbearing cold weather outside where they belong, and to keep the warmth inside. If you do not want to use a lightweight wood for the walls, a strong weatherproofed canvas makes splendid walls for portable ice fishing huts.
Attach a pair of old wooden skis to the bottom of the hut, or make a pair of skis out of 2 by 4, or 2 by 6 inch wood, with curved ends made of plastic so that you can easily move the hut along the ice surface to better locations when the fish aren't biting where you have it located. You can also use the 2 by 4's and add some old wooden cross-country skis to their bottoms to make the shed more readily transportable over ice-covered surfaces. This is also done so that you can pull the hut with a ski-do or ATV on the ice to where the fish are biting, or just to scout different locations easily.
If installing a wood stove or other heating and cooking elements, you will need to install a chimney, Relax, it's not brick and mortar. But you may want to ask for some help at your local hardware store with making a proper vented ceiling. The staff will be glad to sell you want you will need, all the while explaining to you how to construct it.
The problem with permanent ice fishing huts is that you are relegated to fishing the same spot all of the time; but with a portable ice fishing hut that has a set of skis on the bottom, you can easily and quickly move it to where people are catching fish regularly, to another spot that you've been lucky at before.
Or if you're using a fish finder, you can slowly traverse the ice on an ATV or small pickup truck while looking for a great spot to set up your portable ice fishing hut and get on with the fishing.
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