How to Build a Portable Ice Fishing Shelter

How to Build a Portable Ice Fishing Shelter
Bring a portable shelter when you head to the lake to go ice fishing. Shelters provide an excellent place to keep out of the elements, store equipment and set up chairs so you can relax while fishing. Build your own shelter so you can customize it to fit the dimensions and specifications you need while spending time on the ice.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Heavy tarp
  • 3 fence posts 7 feet tall
  • 2 plywood sheets, 6 feet by 4 feet, 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 plywood sheet, 8 feet by 4 feet, 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 boards, 2 inches by 4 inches and 7 feet 10 inches long
  • 4 boards, 2 inches by 2 inches and 4 feet long
  • 4 boards, 2 inches by 2 inches and 6 feet long
  • 2 boards, 2 inches by 4 inches and 4 feet long
  • 4 boards, 2 inches by 6 inches and 2 feet long
  • Nylon rope
  • 3 hinges
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Saw
  • Staple gun
  • Pencil
Step 1
Align two of the 4-foot long, 2-by-2-inch boards and two of the 6-foot long, 2-by-2-inch boards so they form a rectangle. Using the drill and screw, secure the pieces together at the corners. Repeat this step with the other boards of the same measurements.
Step 2
Stand the two rectangle frames so the 6-foot sides are vertical. Set two of the 7-foot, 10-inch long 2-by-4-inch boards on the outside of the rectangle frames on each side at the bottom. Drill screws through the boards to attach them to the frames. Repeat with the other two 2-by-4-inch boards of the same size, except at the top of the two frames. You should now have a three-dimensional rectangular frame.
Step 3
Set the two 2-by-4-inch 4-foot long boards inside the bottom area of the frame so both boards fit snugly between the two 7-foot, 10-inch long boards. Position them so they are both 2 feet away from the 4-foot long edges of the frame. Attach them to the frame to give added support to the floor.
Step 4
Lay the frame on its side. Press the 1/2-inch thick plywood sheet against the outside of the bottom of the frame. Trace an outline of the corner posts from the frame and then cut them out of the sheet.
Step 5
Cut a curved, quarter-circle shape from one end of each of the 2-by-6-inch boards. These will serve as the runners that allow the shelter to move. Screw them into the four corners of the bottom of the frame; make sure all of the curved ends are pointing in the same direction.
Step 6
Stand the frame up again and slide the 1/2-thick plywood sheet down from the top area until it rests on the bottom of the frame. Screw the floor board into place around the perimeter of the frame and into the two 2-by-4-inch 4-foot long boards in the bottom area of the frame. Cut a 10-inch, round hole out of the floor board to fish from.
Step 7
Draw and cut a door shape from one of the 1/4-inch thick plywood sheets. Trim 1/8 of an inch away from the door and re-attach it to the plywood sheet using the hinges. It should be able to swing open since it is slightly smaller than the hole it was cut from.
Step 8
Screw the 1/4-inch plywood sheets onto the outsides of both 4-by-6-foot ends of the frame to form two of the walls.
Step 9
Stand the fence posts upright in a line down the length of the fishing shelter, spaced equal distances apart. Stretch the heavy tarp from the bottom of the outside of the frame on one side, over the fence posts, and to the bottom of the outside of the frame on the other side. Staple the tarp into place along the frame and at the tops of the fence posts. The roof should have a downward slope to force precipitation to run off.
Step 10
Drill a small hole through each of the two front runners underneath the shelter. Thread the rope through the two holes and tie the ends together; use this rope to pull the shelter over snow and ice.

Tips & Warnings

Use a heavy, waterproofed canvas sheet instead of the tarp for increased life on the walls of your shelter.
Use a propane stove inside the shelter to keep warm.
Bring a removable cover to place over the fishing hole when it is not in use.

Article Written By Jacob Hendriks

Jacob Hendriks' work has appeared in "The Western Front," "The Planet Magazine" and He graduated from Western Washington University with a major in international business management and a minor in Community Health. Hendriks' passion for sports nutrition and fitness, combined with experience as a personal trainer, has led him to pursue health-oriented journalism.

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