How to Build an Ice Fishing House

How to Build an Ice Fishing House
Ice fishing shelters provide more than just protection from the wind and elements. Ice shelters allow for the removal of snow off the ice so you can see below the surface into the water, giving an edge in shallow water where fish are present, so you can see where to drop a line. Ice fishing shanties and shelters come in many styles, some permanent and some foldable. Making and having a semi-foldable ice shelter with a solid wood floor allows the moving of the shelter when needed.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Set Up Plywood

Things You’ll Need:
  • Shovel and snow removal tools
  • 6-by-6 foot piece of plywood
  • 4 metal telescoping poles or wooden posts, cut to your desired height
  • 1 pole or wooden pole 12 inches longer than the corner poles
  • L fasteners and screws
  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Blue tarp
  • Utility knife
  • Power saw
  • Power drill
  • 8 fastener screws
  • Duct tape
Step 1
Locate the area of the ice where you want to place the shelter. Shovel the snow and detritus off the section of ice. Place the plywood on the cleared section. Pile snow from the shoveled section around the edges of the plywood and build at least an eight- to12-inch snowbank around the edges of the plywood.
Step 2
Feed L fasteners over the poles so the rest flush with the plywood. Plant the poles or wooden poles into the snow at the corners of the plywood. Secure the poles with screws by drilling them into the plywood. Let the poles stand upright, but not taught. Open a blue tarp and spread it out to the side of the poles and base.
Step 3
Measure a 2-by-2 foot square in the center of the tarp and cut it out with the utility knife. Pull the tarp up and over the poles so the tarp is evenly distributed over the poles and hanging down on all sides as walls. Look for the metal circles on the corner edges of the blue tarp and going in a circle around the tarp, unscrew one corner L screw and place the metal circle of the tarp over the holes so they align and then drill in the screws to the corners so the tarp and L fastener attach to the plywood.
Step 4
Place the longest pole off center of the cut square underneath the tarp having it act as the center pole of the ceiling (it will be just off center due to the cut hole. Let the tarp get taut as you raise the center pole.
Step 5
Tape the seams at the bottom of the tarp with the duct tape so wind does not get through the bottom. Cut a single slit into one side of the tarp. This is the door to enter the shelter now that that tarp is taut.
Step 6
Measure a 2-by-2 foot hole in the bottom of the plywood and cut the hole out with the saw. This is where you will fish from. The hole in the ceiling of the tarp allows for fumes and heat to escape if using a propane or kerosene heater, preventing asphyxiation.

Tips & Warnings

Always keep a hole in the ceiling if using a kerosene or propane heater to prevent asphyxiation.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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