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The best snowmobile for ice fishing.

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The best snowmobile for ice fishing.
I have been doing some research on which snowmobile would be the best for use during an ice fishing trip. I would like to have some input from those of you who know about this stuff. It seems like these are the characteristics that one would want in a ice fishing snowmobile. A lot of these criterion are as much based on my own needs (I often go fishing alone).

1) Light - Can be unstuck from slush and drifts easily without the use of another snowmobile. Furthermore, the less weight on the early ice the better. Primarily this leads to the use of a two cycle engine.

2) Reliability - It would be really nice (and perhaps not realistic) to have a snowmobile that is as reliable as a car. Getting stuck in winter weather is really bad in a car. On a snowmobile miles from anyone else is much worse.

3) Strong - it would be best to have the option of towing other snowmobiles and equipment on and off the ice without providing strain beyond which the snowmobile is designed.

4) Suitable track - I have heard that there are trade offs between the smoothness of the ride and the ability to the snowmobile to traverse drifts and slush. I could use some input on this subject.

5) Temperature versatility - I have heard that some snowmobiles do better than others depending on what the temperature is.

6) Longer track - A longer track would distribute weight better as well as allow for a longer seat for an additional passenger.

So, does anyone know if there is such a snowmobile? Or if there are any other criterion upon which this choice could be based? I have actually seen a variety of different vehicles (4 wheelers as well as fan boats ect.) on the ice. Can anyone tell me why one would choose such vehicles?

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
I just put a sled on KSL for sale 25 min that matches up with most of your entire list...

http://www.ksl.com/...amp;cat=146&lpid=

Unfortunately, 22 minutes ago a guy called to say hes on his way to come get it (my new personal KSL timed sale record if it comes through... 3 minutes!). Call me later if this is something you might be interested in.

You also never mentioned price... I might recommend something different if you have a bit more money to spend. If you arent planning on doing alot of deep powder riding when you arent fishing, an electric start can be worth its weight in gold when trying to fire up a cold sled at -0 degrees.


-DallanC

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
I don't own a snowmobile but for three years I have owned a six wheel amphibous vehicle called a Max. It does really well in up to 10 inches of snow and also floats, I use it year round in snow,mud or water. it has seating for four people, of if your alone it has plenty room for fishing gear or hunting gear. it has been very reliable. you can also buy tracks for deeper snow if you want to spend that much money, my not work for you but I likie.

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Re: [drpepper] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
drpepper wrote:
I don't own a snowmobile but for three years I have owned a six wheel amphibous vehicle called a Max. It does really well in up to 10 inches of snow and also floats, I use it year round in snow,mud or water. it has seating for four people, of if your alone it has plenty room for fishing gear or hunting gear. it has been very reliable. you can also buy tracks for deeper snow if you want to spend that much money, my not work for you but I likie.

I always wanted to ask a max / argo owner... how are they on rocky dirt trails? I heard they beat the ever living crap out of you bouncing around off everything.


-DallanC

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
I've been using sleds on the ice for quite sometime so here's my two cents worth. You never have too much power or too much track. In Utah, you'll encounter slushy conditions that can be a real problem. Big tracks can dig you out of those condition but it takes lots of power to push those big tracks thru slush.

I ride Polaris RMK 700's with 2" tracks and they'll go anywhere. I've never been stuck with them even in the worse Strawberry conditions. They have ample power to pop other machines out or tow them back in. There are plenty of good sleds out there that do great on the ice.

I would avoid tracks less than 1-1/2" deep or less than 500 cc's of power.

Unfortunately, bigger sleds are not light. An RMK 700 weighs approximately 400 lbs but that really is not an issue if you don't get stuck.

Outfitting your sled is as important as having the right sled.Ice scratchers are nice in icy or packed conditions. A good hitch is a must to hitch up your ice shelter. A good nylon 50 ft tow rope is a must for popping other sleds out. Extra plugs and a decent tool kit be a lifesaver.

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Re: [RDRRM8E] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
Thank you all for your posts. I am learning a lot. I do have a couple of questions though.

What is an ice scratcher?

I have been looking at other vehicles like gators with tracks on them. Does anyone know about those?

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
Ice scratchers are spring steel "outriggers" that dig in and throw small chips of ice or hard packed snow on the track when there is not enough loose snow to cool your machine or lube your track.

Most liquid cooled machines have a heat exchanger located under the tunnel that function as a radiator. Snow from the track is thrown the heat exchanger and cools the engine coolant that cools the engine.

Also your track runs along pieces of plastic that need to have water on it to keep them cool. If they do not get enough snow or water on them, the can get hot, wear excessively or even melt.

Here's some pics of ice scratchers:







That brings up another talking point about sleds on the ice. Fan cooled machines have a definite advantage on the ice. A fan under the hood, cools the heads not requiring liquid cooling or heat exchangers. There usually found on trail machines. You still need lubrication to the track hyfax but the engine does not require snow on a heat exchanger to cool it.

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
i agree with rdmrfp on the sleds you cant have to much power or track,especialy at the berry when 2 feet of snow is on the ice it is going to get slusy under neith and your going to need the poweri used to ride older artic cats and would get swaollowed by the slush monster but since trading to polaris 800 with 159 inch tracks it dont even have to be froze,unless you want tostop.Sly

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
Its not the machine you are describing. I too am looking for a new source of transport on the ice (one that will combat deep snow slush and pull a 400lb + ice shanty. Check out a Hagglund 206v!
Seriously though I am leaning toward the Artic Cat Bearcat. 22in wide track! Lots of pulling power.

I have heard several first hand testimonies on them from guys in Alaska, Canada, and the UP in Michigan as well as NY that also deal with deep snow and slush. They say they get great traction and pull great (over 1000lbs) but when stuck a real beast to get out.

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Re: [RDRRM8E] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
This thread reminds me of this cool video showing what is possible if you put fantastic engineering up against nature's challenges.




"Fishing isn't a matter of life or death.
It's much more important than that."


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Re: [Old_Coot] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
Yup, that's a cool video. I'll skip open water but that's a little excessive for this kid! LOL!

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Re: [Old_Coot] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
Old_Coot wrote:
This thread reminds me of this cool video showing what is possible if you put fantastic engineering up against nature's challenges.

Better vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqsZ2FR_z6w


-DallanC

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Re: [davefishman] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
I used to guide and work on sleds and RDRRM8E is right when he said to bring tools. Reliability can be an issue on even new sleds (not to say all but most). Take plugs, and tools plus belts. You never know when one will decide to give out. Also, learn how to make the necessary repairs before you need too. Sledding alone can lead to problems so it is always safer to be around others. Good luck!

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Re: [DallanC] The best snowmobile for ice fishing. In reply to
DallenC
About the Max, you are right about being rough on dirt trails, they are also more work to drive than a 4 wheeler, but in places like mud and water or on ice they work great which is where I usually go, It helps to keep the tire presure quite low and that really improves the ride.