Ice fishing is the practice of catching fish from small openings in the ice with the help of any kind of fishing tools and equipment.
It has been a recreational activity for many and an important source of food for the people living in very harsh environments.
Ice fishing can be performed in the open or in heated enclosures. Small fishing trips can be easy and do not require lots of equipment but large fishing trips can require a lot of heavy equipment and structures which increase the load of many folds.
So, finding the right snowmobile for traveling with the load becomes very important.
Snowmobile Requirements for Ice Fishing
There are a few criteria to be considered while looking for the perfect snowmobile for ice fishing and the most important ones are mentioned below.
As ice fishing requires a lot of equipment to be pulled, the major factor that will decide the snowmobile is the pulling capacity.
For increased load-bearing capacity, it is better to choose a snowmobile with a powerful engine.
For extended trips, the weight of the tent and other gear essential to keep the hole open in the ice as add up to the initial weight of the rig. So, a powerful vehicle with the ability to run in powdered snow and ice sheets will be necessary. The best fit will be to choose a utility snowmobile.
It should have enough load-bearing capacity to easily carry ice fishing racks and run smoothly.
A low rider with high power will not be sufficient if it does not have enough space to carry all the necessary gear. So, it is important that the snowmobile has provisions for attaching sleds or other trailers for carrying the gear for fishing and also the fish while returning from the trip.
Type of Snowmobile
In general, it is possible to use any snowmobile for ice fishing but, comfort becomes a very important factor.
Touring snowmobiles can be used at large for ice fishing trips as they are designed for low-speed rides on trails. The long tracks they feature will be good for ice fishing trips.
Utility models are more suitable for ice fishing as they have enormous power which can haul loads with ease. They also have long and wide tracks which are geared really low for better grip in extreme conditions.
It is important to have an air-cooled vehicle for ice fishing as running for long hours with heavy loads is a prerequisite.
In general, liquid cooling systems are not preferred because they get jammed up during long rides even with good snow while air-cooled systems do not require snow but work better with it.
The use of scratchers also enhances their performance. Air-cooled systems also require lesser maintenance when compared to ones with liquid cooling systems.
Track Length and Width
It is very important for an ice fishing snowmobile to have high track length and width. Although it reduces the maneuverability of the vehicle, the ride is more comfortable. It also increases the grip required to use the full power of the engine if required.
For long rides at low speeds, it is important to have a good fuel capacity for the vehicle, especially in the snow. This is very important as refueling in the middle of the ride is difficult and also not possible in some situations. So, it is important to choose a vehicle with a high powered engine and good fuel capacity during ice fishing trips.
The best snowmobile for ice fishing depends on the requirements as so does its cost. For a snowmobile with high power and good fuel capacity in addition to the provisions for attaching trailers, the cost will be high. The cost also varies based on the model and make of the snowmobile. So, it is important to have a clear set of requirements to get a fix on the budget.
Best Snowmobile for Ice Fishing
Arctic Cat Pantera 7000
With the Cat Pantera 7000, it is very easy to handle the vehicle in depths. This vehicle can easily float over the pristine snow and also retain the handling when you are on groomed trail condition.
The vehicle, in this case, is broad and is very comfortable for the rider to sit and take long rides. This model has good fuel capacity and is also not very expensive. Most people consider buying this due to the ease of use and low maintenance costs.
It has a 4 stroke engine and is highly useful to carry the required equipment to have a good time ice fishing.
As you are snowmobiling, it is better if you are able to check the vital information regarding your vehicle at all times. The LCD screen gauge allows you to do the same comfortably.
It has 14 different readings including a speedometer, engine hours, battery voltage, intake air temperature and so on. With comfort being very important, the backrest is very easy to adjust according to the driver’s preference. The model also comes with a 12-month warranty.
- The driver’s seat is heated and hence the person driving can keep himself warm.
- Adjustable backrest.
- It has a large detachable storage space. You can take it off when you don’t need and fix it back when you need it. It can also be locked for security.
- The start is electric and is very reliable. You simply have to turn it on with a button and turn the key to turn it off.
- It has a digital gauge to help you have a close watch on your vehicle condition and performance.
- Less durable in the long run even though the quality is very good.’
Yamaha VK 540
This is yet another very good snowmobile that can be used for ice fishing. It has a lot of unique features.
As Yamaha is a very famous brand, people get attracted to it easily. It comes in 3 different colors which are black, white and orange. This model has a 2 stroke engine and has a wide and tall windshield and it delivers very good protection for the riders. It has a dual shock suspension feature and is very effective.
It has an LED taillight that is not too bright but works well even in low visibility conditions. This is designed to offer the riders the maximum possible comfort.
When you travel off-trail, the wide ski on this snowmobile delivers good floatation. This has an under-seat storage space that is secure and big enough. You can carry your toolkit and also your first aid kit inside this storage space.
- It has mirrors with a very wide viewing area and helps you to have a vision and avoid accidents. The mirrors are placed inside the windshield.
- It is very easy to maintain this model.
- The design is very good and makes sure the rider is safe.
- There is a tunnel design that includes evacuating large amounts of snow through the holes on the running board.
- Has a very high pulling capacity and is hence recommended for ice fishing.
- Quite expensive.
Ski-Doo Tundra Sport 550
This is one of the latest snowmobiles which can be used for ice fishing. It has the capacity to enable the user to enjoy exceptional deep snow floatation.
It is narrow and has a REV platform to facilitate its users to influence the sled to move freely. Though it is narrow and thin, it is very safe and provides good handling. This makes it a very good choice. It is not very heavy and has an extended seat which is perfect for 2 riders. It has a speedometer, which is analog and a digital LCD information screen.
It comes in white color and it looks very stylish. The engine gives the vehicle enough power and has a fan-cooled engine making it suitable for fishing trips. It is very easy to control the Ski-Doo Tundra in deep snow.
The design is versatile and makes the product very long-lasting. It has a very good cargo attachment system and hence you can easily carry cargo bags, snowboard and even skis in them.
- Very comfortable and safe to drive.
- The speedometer and the LED display is very accurate and this can keep your speed and other factors under control.
- It is very easy to control and use.
- Huge storage attachment.
- It does not help if you want to go at very high speeds or ride on trails.
There are many criteria to choose the best snowmobile for ice fishing and the most important of them are the comfort and requirement for the vehicle. So, choose a vehicle that satisfies the minimum requirements and also provides a comfortable and fun experience at the right cost.