Fishing Forum
Skip to Content


Fishing Forum > Utah Fishing Forum : Fishing Gear, Gadgets, Techinques, Tactics &Tips >

Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice...

fishing
(Page 1 of 4)
> >
Report Post | Register to Reply
Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing?
The older I get, the harder it is walking to my ice-fishing-honey holes. I am considering either a snowmobile or an ATV with tracks. I have had the misfortune of getting stuck twice, in the slush, on a snowmobile (considering I have only fished from a snowmobile maybe 1/2 dozen dozens, twice is a pretty high percentage) and I want to do everything reasonable to avoid that experience again. In your opinion, does an ATV, with tracks, or the right snowmobile handle slush better? If you prefer a snowmobile, please tell me what I should look for (an actual brand and model is even better) that will handle me and a passenger? I don't want to buy new, but I don't want to compromise my safety either.

Also, I own a trailer that is 5 X10' and I would prefer to not have to get a different trailer.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
(This post was edited by kentofnsl on Feb 12, 2019, 7:29 AM)
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
I've wondered the same. Next time I'm at Strawberry, I want to stop in the marina store and ask them about their rentals. I believe they have UTVs with tracks in their fleet. I would bet they have info about what machine handles the slush conditions the best. They don't want to rescue paying customers if they give them a machine that can't handle the slush or deep snow. I suspect that each will have their own set of advantages. I'll be following this thread as well
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Kent, you need to look at weight as well as ability to go... The wheelers with tracks are very heavy. Got a friend that has one and he needs 8" or more ice to dare go on with it. They will be similar in weight to a side by side... So I'd say snowmobile, but you have to know your limitations and stay off the slushy days or go around the slush areas.. I prefer not to fish in the wet of slush, it usually only lasts a day or two, so I avoid the bad days, they aren't fun to fish anyway... For snowmobiles, it's really hard to select one for someone else because each person has different abilities. For me I like a mountain type sled with big track and paddles so I can use the horse power to get out of bad situations, but if you haven't rode enough to be experienced, then you can get in trouble with that type sled and might be better off with the trail model... Also age can be a factor on what will work best too. As we get older, the electric start and wide tracks and skis are probably better options because they start better and have enough flotation to stay on top of the soup... Hopefully Packfan will pipe in and tell you about his sled, or perhaps Dubob will as well... For me I still like the Ski Doo Summit, but I've rode sleds forever and so I'm used to more difficult sleds to ride, but it can be a miserable sled to get going... Anyway if weight isn't a factor, those tracked wheelers are tanks and go pretty well... Later J
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Look at FatBikers recent post
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Kent,
Not sure if I am of any use - I know next to nothing about machines, but own two wheelers and one sled.
I bought my wheeler (no tracks) after a day of ice fishing at Strawberry and seeing others have far better range than me on foot. This was in 1995 and 4wd options were scarce.
My biggest thought was why buy a sled when I could only use it a few months out of the year. Wheeler I could use year round.
Took the wheeler out a few times...then never again. I spent more time getting it unstuck.

Several years later I bought a snowmobile (again, knowing nothing about them) that was a 2 person trail sled. To me, a sled was a sled. I had it for 2 years and then sold it because it was horrible for powder and slush. Weighed a ton and it was a a burden.
A few years after that I bought another sled. This time it was smaller, lighter. and easier to handle. The track on it though was smaller, likely made for trails, and again....I spent time digging it out of slush and deeper snow on the lake. Sold it and said I would not buy another.
The only reason I've ever had a sled was for ice fishing.....not really a recreational rider.

4 years ago I had a friend selling his sled. It was more for the recreational rider in deep powder, etc. The track was very aggressive (3+inch paddles....do you call them paddles?). And I thought - okay, that thing should be able to do what I want it to. So I bought it.
It is a 2003 Polaris RMK 800 Vertical Edge and it is awesome. Have taken it out many times and never once been stuck. Fast, light, and easy for one guy to load and handle (since I usually fish alone). Love it.

I also have a friend who has a side-by-side and a wheeler that he has put the tracks on. When we have fished together...me on my sled, him with his tracked vehicle....I have had to help him get un-stuck a few times.....not real bad.

For me - I'll keep my wheelers out of the powder and slush and stick with a sled. Its worth storing and maintaining for the summer to have the confidence of knowing that it will do what I want it to and the chances of me getting into trouble are less.
Oh - and I use the same trailer for all machines. Fits two wheelers or one sled and has a ramp.

Just my two cents
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [rgreenland] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
One word... Snowdog. Love it!!
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [6x7] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
I've been looking into those Snowdogs and they look pretty cool. They seem to be about the same length as a ATV but i think they weight less, would you say that is true? How are they when going across deep slush?


BFT administrator and moderator

Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [wiperhunter2] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
My ATV (Honda Rancher) weighs about 500 lbs. Snowdog weighs 297 lbs. Just like any other ATV/snowmobile, deep slush is an issue. However, moving the Snowdog to reposition in that situation is much easier than a sled. Snowdog is about 1/3 the cost of a sled/ ATV, tansport is easier, no registration required (yet), all season use if you want.

Great machine.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [6x7] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
A Snowdog would be fine if I fished with guys who also owned one or similar. Not practical for getting two or three guys out on the ice if I'm the only one who owns one.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
I was concerned about that too. However, the one I saw at the Gorge was hauling two guys with no issue at all.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Love my 2016 Polaris 550 wide trak, Electric and pull start, has wide skis and a wide track and is a two up rider, it has reverse as well as a high and low range for towing loads or dragging an elk. These were built for trappers in the north country that run trap lines and haul heavy loads. I have went thru some pretty nasty slush in places on Cascade with two people towing two sleds and it seems to handle it great, people that have been riding off to the side of me said they liked the way it jumps on top with the wide skis and wide track when I open it up. It is heavy so I would imagine it could be pretty nasty if I ever got it stuck.


THE 2ND AMENDMENT IS IN PLACE IN CASE THE POLITICIANS IGNORE THE OTHERS.

NRA LIFE MEMBER, WY SFW LIFE MEMBER, DAV LIFE MEMBER, TAN SON NHUT AB VIET NAM VETS LIFE MEMBER
(This post was edited by PACKFAN on Feb 11, 2019, 5:39 PM)
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
2008 or newer ski-DOO WILL do just fine 600 to 800 any size we hull ass acrost open water never had a problem with slush on a sled as long as you have enough power to get out . The slush will bog you down a bit but just honk on it don't slow down. Or you might get stuck 4 wheelers with tracks are a wast of time and money i think how much is a set of tracks 3 or 4 grand .. You can buy heck of a nice sled for 3k I would go snowmobile hands down .. it's kinda like trying to take your house cat hunting it's not a hunting dog and it's not going to work like one well that's my opinion not worth much
L-D-R
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
A 550 wide track 154x20x1.5 is the best machine and heres my reasoning. Proven reliable engine and is fan air cooled. Anything over 550 is liquid cooled meaning it needs snow to pass through tunnel to cool engine. Many of times Ive see folks ice fishing no snow have machines overheat. Wide long track is a must in deep snow and slush. As mentioned wider track and wider skis and throttle is your friend in those situations. Another thing is having reverse as if you do get stuck using reverse can get you out. Ice scratchers for hyfax another must again no snow you can burn up the hyfax. So ice scratchers.

So if I were looking at a machine and I am its going to be a ski-doo Skandic 550F 154x20x1.5. With electric start along with pull start and reverse.

I dont need a machine for racing, climbing 90* inclines or climb a tree.

A 550 is the all around perfect snowmobile for ice fishing as I see it


Location: Lake Katchabigun

Once you know everything about anything its what you learn afterwards that counts.

Skunked, we never get skunked its the fish getting skunked as they just kept missing our lures.
(This post was edited by k2muskie on Feb 11, 2019, 2:19 PM)
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
More sled info if you will potentially be taking others youll want a 2-up machine. Just so you know makes it easier plus gives you extra space to use if not taking a passenger.

Weve had our little Polaris Trail Tour 550 136x15x1 for 10 years in some of the worst snow/deep slush conditions and it has been an awesome little machine. We are going to be upgrading to another machine for next season from all weve learned about machines and conditions. Plus spending kids inheritance while we can both still go out and do what we love.Cool


Location: Lake Katchabigun

Once you know everything about anything its what you learn afterwards that counts.

Skunked, we never get skunked its the fish getting skunked as they just kept missing our lures.
(This post was edited by k2muskie on Feb 11, 2019, 3:01 PM)
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [k2muskie] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Thanks and I definitely want a sled that will handle a passenger. Will your sled fit on a 10' trailer?


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Our sled is approximately 10. Ski stance is like 42-43. Our trailer bed in 12X5. We have a drop down ramp off the back hence reverse is very NICE. So depends on your trailer.

Something else to think about and we experienced is on trailer your sled track can get frozen to it if bare wood. I installed mats and ski guides on trailer.

Trust me Kent us 2 ole gals have been around when it comes to sleds and if it can possibly happen IT WILL reguarding conditions. Lake Cascade has given us et al very valuable big body of water/ice lessons 5-6 miles plus out from where you launched

Ill PM you some photos if you want on our sled and trailer. We are heading out tomorrow locally to ice fish.


Location: Lake Katchabigun

Once you know everything about anything its what you learn afterwards that counts.

Skunked, we never get skunked its the fish getting skunked as they just kept missing our lures.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [L-D-R] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
L-D-R wrote:

...4 wheelers with tracks are a wast of time and money i think how much is a set of tracks 3 or 4 grand .. You can buy heck of a nice sled for 3k I would go snowmobile hands down .. it's kinda like trying to take your house cat hunting it's not a hunting dog and it's not going to work like one well that's my opinion not worth much

I think you might be selling ATVs with tracks a little short, at least in certain conditions. Link


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [6x7] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Lighter than an ATV, that's good, it it about the same length as a Honda Rancher?


BFT administrator and moderator

Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [k2muskie] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
k2muskie wrote:

Ill PM you some photos if you want on our sled and trailer.

Please do, thanks.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [wiperhunter2] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Much smaller. Two models (compact and standard)

Mine (compact) is 50L/24W/30H
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
kentofnsl wrote:
L-D-R wrote:

...4 wheelers with tracks are a wast of time and money i think how much is a set of tracks 3 or 4 grand .. You can buy heck of a nice sled for 3k I would go snowmobile hands down .. it's kinda like trying to take your house cat hunting it's not a hunting dog and it's not going to work like one well that's my opinion not worth much

I think you might be selling ATVs with tracks a little short, at least in certain conditions. Link

Looks like the tracks would be a certain kind of fun, but that video was hardly a fair comparison. Any good sled rider would have killed it in that snow. Clearly they were promoting the ATV with tracks, but maybe that was the point. To ride a snowmobile off the beaten path, you have to be able to muscle it around i.e. shift your body weight to lean into turns. I am often off the seat standing straddling the seat or with both legs on either side to make a turn After a few hours of aggressive sled riding, you definitely get tired.

This is my first year ice fishing with a Snowmobile (1998 Polaris RMK 700) and truthfully it is a night and day difference. No hesitation on my part. Snowmobile all the way. My BIL has a quad and rarely feels like he can take it out on the ice.



Fish are food, not friends!
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Here is my waste of money, and I love it!
Crossing asphalt/mud/rocks/sand where a snowmobile cant go and then going in to deep snow/ice where an atv cant go=priceless.
Dont get stuck in places you shouldn't be in mixed conditions because neither a snowmobile or an atv can rescue you, only another tracked atv can.
Deadly on late season big game hunts.
If you want to come check it out give me a holler.
" It's all fun and games until someone loses an 'eye'".
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
I enjoyed that video particularly since I grew up in the south and have zero experience with either type of snow capable machine.

I have a snow capable machine of a different sort, but it will need thicker ice in another state to be useful on a frozen lake:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmD-Qp2WLP8

Ronald :)

Let's go fishing! I prefer to fish with others. I'm well equipped with plenty to share and have a vehicle with amazing off road capabilities to get us to even hard to reach fishing destinations. Let's team up! Private Message me to suggest I come to where you're fishing or plan a trip with me!

Who here is a surf fisherman? That's my next big vacation. I've already purchased top equipment for surf fishing. I'm looking to hire a guide or go with someone experienced.

Date proposal to single young BFT fisherladies with courage enough to put a worm on a hook. Let's pick a movie, Luxury seats Tuesday, July 23 at the Jordan Commons in Sandy. I can pick you up or meet you there.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [6x7] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Have you ran your snowdog on dry or muddy ground?
If you have how well do they climb? I have been looking at them and been wondering about using as game retrieval etc.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kentofnsl] Snowmobile vs ATV with tracks for ice fishing? In reply to
Looks like the snow dog can haul three people:
https://snowdog.com/
See slide show


BFT administrator and moderator

> >