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ATV for Ice Fishing - Large Fisherman

1/29/19 @ 12:56 PM
ORIGINAL POST
RainbowRunner
RainbowRunner
USER since 5/31/02

Twenty-three more months until retirement.

I have a home in northern Wisconsin that will soon be my year-round residence. I live about one-quarter mile from a lake and maybe one-half mile from where I intend to ice fish. I don't intend to have an ice shanty.

I'm interested in buying an ATV (old or new) for ice fishing. For many, many years I used to walk (pulling a toboggan) but that was 30 years ago and I'm not a young man anymore. Besides, I think I would fish more often if ice fishing wasn't such an ordeal.

I've never operated an ATV (or a snowmobile, for that matter) in my life. I have numerous cars and trucks and can drive a manual transmission no problem so I don't think I'm a total dunce with a motor vehicle. I simply have no idea what kind of ATV to get.

I'm a somewhat LARGE fellow (6'3", 300#) so I'm thinking I need a somewhat POWERFUL ATV. Is this a reasonable assumption? I'm thinking a 4x4 (with rear chains, from what I read) would be preferred for ice fishing.

I've seen numerous "side-by-sides" and that is NOT what I would prefer, since I probably wouldn't fit on one side and have no projected passenger for the other side (maybe a dog). Are there many decent used conventional 4x4 ATVs around these days, replaced by side-by-sides?

Any advice appreciated.

RR

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Displaying 1 to 10 of 46 Posts
2/7/19 @ 10:55 AM
.Long Barrels
.Long Barrels
USER since 12/9/14

I agree 100% that sleds are pricey when it comes to repairs.  I owned a 1980 yamaha exciter that was bullet proof.  I also owned several polaris which were complete garbage and constantly needed repairs.  That said,  if you are truly looking for an ultimate ice fishing ride,  it's a ATV with tracks or a sled.  

The folks that think ATV's are unstoppable and are the ultimate ice fishing machine haven't been in big slush,  light snow with big drifting or over 24 inches of snow.  ATV's go no where in those situations.  Right now i run a ATV but that's because in central WI,  we don't see those types of conditions very often.  About a week ago we were,  there were several lakes you couldn't even access due to 4 foot drifting at launches.  Sleds go right over, trucks,  atv's, UTV's are worthless with that. 

So, if you are a guide or someone that needs to be on the ice no matter what conditions,  a sled is a must.  For a guy in retirement that's going to wait for only good weather and beat down paths,  atv will work in most situations.  They surly are NOT a "go anywhere" type ice fishing mode of transportation tho.

I'll will add though,  sleds in slush, stopping and going is a motha too.  I fished many lakes in those late ice conditions and if you stop in the wrong spot with slush and sit for while,  you will get stuck and track freezes up.  That's not a picnic either.  


Edited on 2/7/19 10:58 AM
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2/6/19 @ 1:26 PM
beanbag
beanbag
USER since 12/17/09

Don't forget to get a good repair manual for your snowmobile so you know how to take it apart when you are trying to remove the mouse nests from sitting for 7 or 8 months.

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2/6/19 @ 11:10 AM
Hunter&Hound
Hunter&Hound
USER since 7/24/01

It will be nice when the 2 strokes are gone and all we have are 4 stroke snowmachines.  I can't stand riding w/ people either.


But, I love my snowmachine for ice fishing and trapping.  I love to ride, but not on the trails with the idiots from S.WI or Ill-annoy.


I also don't have neighbors, but I'll save that for a different thread.

Edited on 2/6/19 11:12 AM
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2/6/19 @ 11:00 AM
RainbowRunner
RainbowRunner
USER since 5/31/02

JC, I could see trail riding a snowmobile BY MYSELF but not in a crowd of other snowmobiles. The NOISE and the STINK of the machines irritate me no end. I can't see how it could be enjoyable riding in a cloud of snowmobile exhaust from one tavern to the next.

Meh.....it should be clear as day by now that I'm a misanthropic old p*ick who is much better off living in the isolation of NE Wisconsin.

But I'll be riding a nice brand spanking new ATV (I think).

RR

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2/6/19 @ 10:55 AM
RainbowRunner
RainbowRunner
USER since 5/31/02

Yeap, I'm seeing 5-6 inches of heavy, wet snow + ice on top of the snow I didn't shovel last weekend. It gets tedious, and tiring, having a home up north and a home down-state. You spend WAY too much time shoveling snow and cutting the grass and raking leaves. Now I get a nasty-gram from the old bag that lives next door down-state about regarding how I have failed to rake my leaves to her satisfaction and the wind has blown dead leaves from my yard into hers. And this is a direct quote "it is negatively affecting her life, BIG TIME".

Perhaps I'll take up practicing the tuba outside her bedroom window at 2:00AM. That I could see "negatively affecting her life, BIG TIME".

Twenty three months gentlemen.

Twenty three more months of hell.

RR

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2/6/19 @ 10:54 AM
JC-Wisconsin
JC-Wisconsin
USER since 4/1/05

Personally I would never by a snowmobile just for ice fishing.  If you plan on trail riding, then definitely a possibility.  Buying an old snowmobile opens up your wallet because historically sleds are not as reliable as an ATV.  If you can repair a sled yourself, then go for it.  I know many guys who are constantly dealing with repairs on their sleds.  

Personally, any mid size ATV with 4x4 is what I would personally go with.  You can use it year round, fit it with a plow if you wish, and generally easier to manuever.  I personally would also stick with Honda or Yamaha purely based on reliability.  

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2/6/19 @ 9:23 AM
Hunter&Hound
Hunter&Hound
USER since 7/24/01
My brother is bringing up his atv for ice fishing this weekend.  It'll be interesting to see if he makes it out pulling a flipover shack... 5" of snow this morning + they're forecasting another 12" by tomorrow.  

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2/6/19 @ 6:38 AM
Farnorthbadger
Farnorthbadger
USER since 12/7/13

Love my atv for plowing and I have an 800 foot driveway. For fishing and you’re close ,a beater sled from Craigslist for 4-500$. Wait until spring and people will be giving them away. A flip over shack can be bought for 1/3 the price in about 2 months. 

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2/5/19 @ 4:10 PM
river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12

If youre going to plow with your atv you need a place to push the snow. Once you push it into place you have less room to push snow each successive snowfall.  Thats why I opt for a 10hp snowblower to pile it up 20-30 feet away and I can keep throwing and piling it there 20-30 feet away all winter long.  Just something to think ahead on. I understand pushing snow with the blade on atv might be more fun.

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2/5/19 @ 4:04 PM
RainbowRunner
RainbowRunner
USER since 5/31/02

With each passing moment I question my brilliant decision to retire to NE Wisconsin. There again, Wisconsin has been my home all of my life and I think I'd feel "weird" living anywhere else. That, and the infernal distances involved moving all of your crap from one place to another.

My plan is to make it as much fun as possible, fishing, hunting, sleeping, drinking, and chasing floozy bimbos around northwoods saloons.

Hopefully I'll catch numerous FISH (using my brand new ATV) and not so many floozy bimbos (nothing but a PITA, at this age).

RR

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Displaying 1 to 10 of 46 Posts