The winter sport of ice fishing has quickly grown in popularity thanks to the rapid advance of fishing gear technology, access to lakes and ease of mobility once you are there. If you own, or are in the market for a snowmobile, here are some tips to help get all your ice fishing essentials to the hot bite with ease.
Choose the Right Snowmobile
There is no right or wrong answer here. Nearly every adult-sized snowmobile on the market can be used to transport you and your ice fishing gear, but there are some models in the utility segment that work best for the task, and here is why.
- Engine cooling – Most late-model snowmobile engines are liquid-cooled, but there are air-cooled engine options within the utility segment that are sought out by ice fishing enthusiasts. Air-cooled engines are cooled by fan-driven ambient air, which makes them more tolerant of being used in low-snow or hard-packed conditions where overheating can be a problem for liquid-cooled engines towing loads at slow speeds. These air-cooled models are also attractive because of their lower price point, minimal maintenance requirements and simpler designs.
- Models equipped to work – Utility snowmobile models are engineered to haul heavier loads and are equipped with tow hitches as standard equipment, stiffer suspensions and even overload springs. Wide-track models make a bigger footprint on the snow for better traction, flotation and stability when carrying extra gear or a fishing buddy on a two-up passenger seat. Rear tunnel mounted racks work great as a starting point to securely attach a variety of ice fishing accessories.
Several decades ago, hauling your ice fishing gear onto the lake didn’t amount to much more than securing your ice auger and a few items to a plastic sled and pulling it to a location. That setup still works for short distances, but hardcore enthusiasts are seeking better mobility via a snowmobile to access fishing points across the entire lake more quickly. Here are three things to consider when setting up your snowmobile:
- GPS – Navigating digital lake maps and tracking your previous fishing waypoints via GPS can get you on the fish far quicker than randomly drilling holes and hoping. Most tech-savvy ice anglers mount GPS screens on the dashboard of their snowmobile for easy viewing.
- Auger mounts – Several companies make mounts to fasten an ice auger securely in various locations on a snowmobile. Most professional ice anglers prefer a horizontal mount spanning the front of the snowmobile to keep their auger free from ice, slush and other elements kicked up by the snowmobile’s track, especially if it’s mounted in the rear.
- Gear storage – The rear tunnel and bumper of a snowmobile are a perfect blank canvas for mounting properly supported storage bins, boxes, containers and soft-sided bags to shield your most expensive gear from the elements or prying eyes when left unattended.
Creating a personalized ice fishing storage plan for your snowmobile is worth the time and effort, especially if it means catching more fish, more efficiently.
Whether or not you use your snowmobile for ice fishing, Quicksilver offers many products to help maintain your sled in top operating condition all season long, including oil, filters, and other supplies.