Ice Fishing Shanty
Anyone who has ever gone ice fishing or wants to try it knows how important it is to have a solid shelter or ice tent while out on the ice. Whether you need a temporary or permanent shelter, an ice fishing shanty is a vital part of staying comfortable and safe while fishing. What do you need to know about ice fishing shanties and how do you set them up?
First, it’s important to understand the value of your ice fishing shelter and why they are not only there to keep you warm, but to also improve the fishing. Due to changing ice conditions, wind, and weather conditions on the frozen lake, as an ice fisherman, you need to be alert. If you are distracted by the cold or because you’re in an open space, it’s going to make your experience less successful.
Once you understand why you need an ice fishing shelter, you need to choose which of the various options works best for you. You can get everything from a simple leaning windbreak with an open face that just blocks the wind from hitting you to a full-blown cabin. We’ve found that an ice fishing shanty, which is somewhere between the two extremes is the best options. It offers comfort and warmth without being limiting in terms of where you can located it. It’s also a portable shelter that allows you to move it from one location to another with ease.
Shanties should be large enough to fit comfortably inside, ideally with your equipment and possibly a small heating source. We’ve found that shelters at least 4 feet wide by 6 feet long and about 7 to 8 feet tall are best. This gives you room to stand and move around, but isn’t too large for easy transport. It can also fit two people if needed, though it’s definitely better suited to a single fisherman.
Some shelters come with seats, floors, hooks for your gear and clothing, and maybe even windows. These aren’t necessities, but they are great to have because they keep the area you’re fishing in tidy and make it easier to focus on fishing. It’s also a good idea to find a shanty that is safe for a heater. Most shanty owners use kerosene heaters, which offer more than enough heat to keep you comfortable while you are fishing for several hours
How Do You Set Up an Ice Fishing Shanty?
The specific set-up process varies based on the shanty you have, but in general, you can expect things to go basically as follows:
1. Start with the base first. You’ll be setting the ice shelter directly onto the ice. Most bases come with a hatch that you lift to fish through, so make sure when you are positioning it you do so in the location where you want to drill the hole. It’s also a good idea to measure out from the hatch for the entire width and length of the base. You’ll need solid ice for the entire section, which will be about 4 feet by 6 feet, based on our recommendations. As long as the area where you’re hunkering down can safely accommodate this much space, you should be good to go.
2. Once the base is in place, you’ll want to assemble the walls. If you’ve chosen a fully enclosed shanty, you can expect to set up a door on one of the walls at this time. Make sure you’re careful about the dimensions of the shanty and that you get a good seal when connecting the walls. Just as you would in a house, you’ll want to seal things up as tightly as possible to prevent seepage of heat out of the shanty. The more efficient the structure, the longer you’ll have to fish in comfort and warmth.
If you intend to leave your ice shanty in one place throughout the season, we suggest carpenter’s glue and nails to secure the walls. You can add an additional layer of silicone sealant around the joints and edges to complete the weather-proofing of the structure.
3. You’ll want to pay special attention to the wall on which you intend to situate your heating source. Stove walls are assembled about the same as the other walls of the structure, but you’ll want to make sure it’s absolutely snug and positioned properly. This keeps the weight of the wall from leaning against the stove, which is both a structural and fire hazard. You’ll also need to make sure the positioning of the wall offers easy access from stove to ventilation point. Some people also like to install some shanties come with a layer of aluminum to offer added protection between the heating source and the heater. You’ll be in your shelter while the heat is running and be able to monitor it, but it’s still a good idea to create as many layers of safety as possible.
4. Now that the walls are set up, you’ll need to mount them to the base with hinges. After this is finished, you can get inside to install any of the features that included, such as hooks, armrest, seating, etc. It also gives you a chance to check the structure to make sure it’s sturdy before tightening all of the screws and finalizing your shanty.
5. Some people like to further insulate their shanty with plastic sheeting. We recommend three layers of sheeting installed around the entry-less walls. This is also an option if you don’t intend to keep your structure up permanently during the ice fishing season, but it’s not as warm and protective as the double layer of plastic and silicone insulation stripping.
6. We also recommend installing some reflective stripping on the outside of your shanty. Experienced anglers know that some of the best ice fishing takes place without the sun, so you need to be sure others on the ice recognize your shelter. 7. Once each of these steps is complete, take a few minutes to go over the entire structure. Make sure everything is secure and feels sturdy. Chances are you’ll get a few gusty winds at some point and you want to be sure your ice fishing shanty is ready to stand up to them.
Source of featured image: canva.com