DIY Ice Fishing Shelter

DIY Ice Fishing Shelter
When you head out to catch fish during the icy cold of winter, you need a way to fend off the elements and retain heat. Ice shelters and shanties serve this purpose. These portable shelters go up quickly and provide a base level of insulation from snow, wind and cold. You can construct one of your own ice shelters with some materials available at hardware and lumber shops. The shelter making process takes a day.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 4 sheets 1/2-inch plywood
  • 1 sheet 3/4-inch plywood
  • 8 feet lengths of 2x2, 4 each
  • 1 sheet Styrofoam, 1 inch
  • 2 blue tarps
  • Utility knife
  • Staple gun
  • Power saw
  • Power drill with wood screws
Step 1
Set the 3/4-inch sheet of plywood on the shop floor. Set four of the 2 by 2 timbers, one at each corner of the plywood, going up from the floor. Screw these to the side of the plywood using two wood screws at each corner. Leave the screws in a position you can access with a portable power screwdriver or drill.
Step 2
Set one of the 1/2-inch sheets of plywood next to two of the timbers, forming a wall. Screw the bottom, middle and top of the plywood to the 2 by 2 timber. Do the same with the other 1/2-inch sheet of plywood directly across from the first sheet. This makes a two-walled structure with a wood floor.
Step 3
Turn the structure upside down so the floor plywood becomes a ceiling and the timbers support the two walls and ceiling. For transport, you can unscrew the 2 by 2s from the 3/4-inch plywood and stack the walls and timbers together.
Step 4
Place the Styrofoam sheet onto the floor and move the shelter on top of the Styrofoam. Cut the Styrofoam into two pieces in the middle of the shelter's floor. The Styrofoam will be used as the shelter's floor when on the ice. Styrofoam insulates against cold. By having it in two pieces, you can adjust the floor to where you drill ice holes in the shelter.
Step 5
Drape the blue tarp over the shelter so the two empty sides are covered with the blue tarp. These act as the other walls for the shelter and provide air circulation through the shelter if you use a propane or kerosene heater. Use a staple gun to staple the blue tarp into position on the shelter, preventing it from flying away in stiff wind.
Step 6
Remove the staples from the blue tarp and wood using a flathead screwdriver. Lay the blue tarp onto the ground and stack up the walls and ceiling pieces after they are unscrewed so you can transport it in a flat position. Once on the ice, screw the ceiling back into position and staple the tarps over the shelter.

Tips & Warnings

Always make sure there is adequate ventilation in the shelter if you are using propane or kerosene heaters. These remove oxygen from enclosed spaces and can lead to 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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