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Huey

Regret getting a wheel house?

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Anyone regret buying their first wheel house?

I'd love to get one, but I wonder about the downside of owning a wheelhouse - towing a big trailer long distances, storage, maintenance, effort to set-up, etc, plus the cost $ to buy one.

Anyone go back to fishing out of a portable and occasionally renting a motel room or permenant house, like I do now?

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It happens. Why do you think there are so many for sale? They all aren't upgrading to nicer rigs. They have their place but they aren't for everyone. There are other "downsides" beyond what you mentioned.

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I don't regret getting mine, but I'm an outside mobile fisherman..love to hole hop and not just sit and wait for the fish. It is comfy sitting in the big house and i have done well in it, but sometimes it gets to be a lot of work. I just posted mine for sale on Another site if you're interested! A really nice 6.5 x14. Take a look. Got a deal for someone if they want a Honda generator and an Ion to go with it!

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If I could afford one I'd consider the purchase, but I'm also more of a mobile fishermen, and I'm a little hesitant about being essentially limited to plowed ice roads. Would serve as a nice base camp though.

If I were to ever take the plunge and buy one I'd definitely go with a model that could double as a summer camper as well. AC, barn door for sleds, ATV's, etc. The buy in is awfully steep though, and I think a person can get a very, very nice summer camper, with way, way more room and luxury then any wheel house might offer.

I can build a really beefy, comfortable skid house for a fraction of the price of a wheel house, and the maintenance and overhead would be virtually nil.

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I don't have one. Went to Red two weeks ago and it was $45 a guy per night to stay in a house just like your talking about. Didn't have to screw around, pull it up there, etc. I realize benefits to owning your own and the fun but for the hassle factor $45 is the way to go for me to supplement the portable fishing I already do.

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For the last 20 years I have thought about it but I could not justify the expense. I like to fish out of my portable as I always move and ice more fish. Well, I had the chance to but a 16ft Ice Castle for a reasonable price. Best thing I have purchased in years. Easy to operate and set up, tow's very good. Now I go with it way more than I thought I ever would, grand kids love going along instead of the portable. I always take my portable with so I can change locations during the day. I typically set up for a low light bite and then use my portable if I am after numerous species. I really enjoy letting the rattle reels down, turning on the tv and relaxing in the evening. I would not sell it as I enjoy it that much. I can use it if I go bird hunting or anything, my 4 wheeler will fit inside in the back. I could use this for ice fishing, camping, hunting there could be some maint issues down the road but what does not have a few issues now and then. Only downside for me, I should have got one years ago

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My wife has wanted a camper for about 3 years now. I just bought an Ice Castle Spirit for a heck of a price. Now we have the best of both worlds!

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I am in wheelhouse number 3. I started with 6.5x14 for one year(not wide enough). My second was a 8x16, which was nice, but with kids and grands not big enough. My current house is 8x20 which I have had for 3 years. It works great, but again I find I need more room.

I am looking at an 8.5x24 hydraulic RV model for next year. I have a V-plow so most of the time I can get to where I want to fish within reason.

I also have ATVs and snowmobiles for when I want to be mobile. I love relaxing in the wheelhouse, with all the conviences. Great way to spend the night on the lake. I don't have a bathroom in my wheelhouse and used to set up a popup for that purpose. The ladies and little ones didn't like that idea, so I built a 8x8 insulated heated bathroom skid. Planning - especially around the weather and for the little ones is key for fun.

It takes me 2 trips or 2 trucks to haul my gear, but I don't mind. I fish Leech, Winni, URL, and LOTW most several times a winter.

My wheelhouse is my year round camper.

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I'm in my 3rd season with my first wheelhouse; without a doubt I've logged more hours ice fishing in the last 3 years than the 10 before that.

I bought a smaller 6.5 x 14), less expensive unit that's a snap to move...I can switch spots faster that I ever could with any portable I've owned. My mobility has actually been better than ever...until this year.

This year is exposing the one major downside to a wheelhouse...with all the early heavy snow this season, I've been severely limited in where I can go, and I've caught WAY less fish. Having to stay on-road is kinda the pits. Probably I've gotten spoiled/lazy...I should be venturing offroad more and using my portable, but truth be told, if it was a previous winter (before owning the wheelhouse), I'd be doing the same thing as I'm doing this winter...basically throwing in the towel and waiting for spring:) No wheeler/sled has always hindered me, so this year would be no different.

which I'm ok with...still love the wheelhouse and it's advantages (most years:) And it still makes a dandy cargo trailer and bunkhouse at the cabin.

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the only regret i have for buying a wheel house is i would like a 12 ft instead of 10 ft i have a nice light and warm 6 x 10 zack shack. it is been just great for towing staying out over the weekends or longer, used it for hauling just about everything from motorcycles. furniture or what have you. have used it for camping in fall. nothing inside other a couple little shelf's and rod holders. kept it open to utilize it more the just a fish house. alot more useful then a heavy ice castle with all the conveniences of home. i like to be more mobile.

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I have owned 2 wheelhouses, I don't really regret them but they were more of a pain for me then a luxury. They would be sweet if you lived on a lake or kept one up at a resort or something.

Traveling long distance can be a pain and also spendy on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, ect.

I kept mine out on a local lake and they both got busted into and damaged. So from there on out if I went fishing I had to bring it out and bring it back each trip, at that point I would rather be doing that in my portable.

If you have kids or grandkids and live close to some lakes and like to stay the night in comfort yeah they are the cats meow. Just have to decide if you'll really use it as much as you think and weigh in all the factors. I had big visions on using it year round camping and what not but that didn't pan out, sold em both and don't regret it.

Much easier to just bring the porty or kick it at a buddies shack.

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the only regret i have for buying a wheel house is i would like a 12 ft instead of 10 ft i have a nice light and warm 6 x 10 zack shack. it is been just great for towing staying out over the weekends or longer, used it for hauling just about everything from motorcycles. furniture or what have you. have used it for camping in fall. nothing inside other a couple little shelf's and rod holders. kept it open to utilize it more the just a fish house. alot more useful then a heavy ice castle with all the conveniences of home. i like to be more mobile.

sounds just like mine...no bunks, benches, etc... inside. I keep it open for hauling and sleeping with cots or an airbed. Very light unit, easy to move around and set up/down quickly.

One thing; I don't trailer mine long distances, I do agree that would be a bit of a hassle, and the few times I do haul it I see the gas mileage go down quickly. We have a cabin and leave it there year round (mostly), only driving a couple miles on and off the lake daily.

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Taveler, do you have a zack shack too?

I plan on using a wheelhouse like you and Sunnywally. The two houses that I am most interested in are the Zack Shack and Ridgeline. I would like to get a 14'. It would be long enough to fit 2 cots, end to end, along one wall. I also have 14' kayak that I use for duck hunting. I would like to be able to haul the kayak and decoys inside of the fish house.

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the only regret i have for buying a wheel house is i would like a 12 ft instead of 10 ft i have a nice light and warm 6 x 10 zack shack. it is been just great for towing staying out over the weekends or longer, used it for hauling just about everything from motorcycles. furniture or what have you. have used it for camping in fall. nothing inside other a couple little shelf's and rod holders. kept it open to utilize it more the just a fish house. alot more useful then a heavy ice castle with all the conveniences of home. i like to be more mobile.

Sunniewally, have you done any long trips with your zack shack?

I am wondering what it would be like for a 5 hr drive to LOTW or 7+ hrs to central No Dak.

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I have a 6.5 x 12 Yetti that I purchased 3 years ago and finished off myself. Yes I have had issues with the cables, and this year the furnace. Spent some money fixing them, and for the last 2 years I had hoped to take it up to Red Lake and store it at Rogers when not using it. Things (health issues and snow) have kept it off the lake all of last winter and some of this. I have used it in the summer as a camper even though it doesn't have AC and even thought of selling it this year, but just can't seem to let go of it. Maybe because I worked so hard finishing it, but it is going to Red Lake next week. Then it might go to a local lake for the rest of the season. Regret: sometimes, but now that my husband is disabled it is the only way he can go ice fishing anymore.

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This year is exposing the one major downside to a wheelhouse...with all the early heavy snow this season, I've been severely limited in where I can go, and I've caught WAY less fish. Having to stay on-road is kinda the pits.

A few years ago when the popularity of these things skyrocketed, we had had a string of easy winters.

I remember commenting with some friends, yea......they're very nice, but if we ever get some real winters around here again, those things will be very limited in use.

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I haven't pulled it up to url or low but maybe 200- 250 mi one way. i go to big stone quite a bit and walker area. don't really have much problem towing it. if its windy you feel the wind Resistance

but they do tow pretty easy. if its not too much snow i tow it on the early ice with a 2x4 300 Polaris atv. the zack shack or ridgeline would be nice house. i'm not sure if ridgeline spray foam theirs or not but the spray foam is the only way to go. makes for a much more solid house and warmer! the 14 ft would be great. a fried of mine said that the perch patrol on devils lake like them for transporting customers and he said they wanted zs to build a bigger one so maybe the 14 ft was their doing. don't know the whole story on what goes on. zs new back door style sure looks like the way to go rather then the double door.

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Taveler, do you have a zack shack too?

I plan on using a wheelhouse like you and Sunnywally. The two houses that I am most interested in are the Zack Shack and Ridgeline. I would like to get a 14'. It would be long enough to fit 2 cots, end to end, along one wall. I also have 14' kayak that I use for duck hunting. I would like to be able to haul the kayak and decoys inside of the fish house.

mine is an Alumalite manufactured by Soderblooms in Cromwell, MN. I believe he's either quit making them, or is making very few, as he's switched over to making skid houses, which also look very nice, btw. Mine is spray foamed entirely in the interior, as well as the floor, and heats super easily.

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I bought my wheel house about 15 years ago from Franks RV. My only regret is that at the time they were about the only game in town and I spent about double what they cost now. Mine is a 6.5’ x 12’. I have 3 fold down bunks and of course the stove and front counter and just about everything else that I decided I needed. I have the double doors in the back for the times I take the four wheeler along. It is about perfect for me in that it does tow extremely well and getting around the lake is painless. I normally fish alone so I have plenty of room.

I am not sure what I would get if I sold it. I am sure I would replace it with another, just not sure which one. I wish mine would get used more, but work has a way of interfering. One thing for sure there is a certain amount of up keep needed whether they are used or not. In my opinion it’s just a part of doing business.

WS

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Definitely no regrets with the wheel house. In fact, I haven't taken my portable out of the garage since 2009.

With the hydraulic frame and electric auger I hole hop quicker than a portable, and my setup and take down are inside the warm house. Even with cranks, it wouldn't be that much different. What does take more time than a portable is all the other junk I end up bringing with like the generator, garbage can, entry step, outboxes, etc. When moving around I just leave that stuff in the truck. Hole sleeves make it somewhat unnecessary to bank the house, but I still do 90% of the time once I know we'll be staying put for awhile.

This year is the first time I've been stuck with my truck & house. Gull Lake had a pretty nasty crusty snow and I was trying to turn, so the house was out of my truck tracks. Usually if I make it with the truck, I can make it with the house. A good shovel and tow strap are two of the more important pieces of equipment.

By far my favorite part of having the wheel house is all the extra fish I've caught because of being able to sleep on the ice to take advantage of some great night bites.

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By far my favorite part of having the wheel house is all the extra fish I've caught because of being able to sleep on the ice to take advantage of some great night bites.

This is definitely true for me. Second favorite part is spending time on the ice with friends that wouldn't normally ice fish. I have always felt like portable fishing is the way to go if you're trying to catch every possible fish you can during the day, but you have to be pretty die hard to sleep in one of those to capitalize on the night bite.

Another one pretty high up there is not worrying about getting a last minute motel reservation for a quick 2-3 day trip. And that means you don't have to leave a bunch of your valuable fishing gear out in the parking lot while you sleep at night.

I still rent a room in motels occasionally when I go to a lake like LOTW where there isn't much night action, but I have never gone without bringing the wheelhouse up there, since you're basically limited to the roads unless you have a snowmobile anyways. I feel like I'm just as mobile as a portable (maybe more so) when the house is setup for just day fishing. The heater can stay setup and running all day, and very few things have to be "put away" before you can pack up like a portable.

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The heater can stay setup and running all day, and very few things have to be "put away" before you can pack up like a portable.

I like the idea of having the heater on all day. I had some medical issues last fall, now I get cold easily. The "polar vortex" probably hasn't helped that.

Thanks everyone for the information.

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I bought my wheel house about 15 years ago from Franks RV. My only regret is that at the time they were about the only game in town and I spent about double what they cost now. Mine is a 6.5’ x 12’. I have 3 fold down bunks and of course the stove and front counter and just about everything else that I decided I needed. I have the double doors in the back for the times I take the four wheeler along. It is about perfect for me in that it does tow extremely well and getting around the lake is painless. I normally fish alone so I have plenty of room.

I am not sure what I would get if I sold it. I am sure I would replace it with another, just not sure which one. I wish mine would get used more, but work has a way of interfering. One thing for sure there is a certain amount of up keep needed whether they are used or not. In my opinion it’s just a part of doing business.

WS

Any chance you could post some pictures of the interior of your house? We have a 6-1/2 x 12 that we built ourselves and now we need to renovate the interior. Sounds like you have a lot of amenities for a house that size and I would like to see how it is laid out.

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I don't think that owning a wheel house is something to regret. Some of my greatest ice fishing memories have came out of my wheel houses. I started with a 6x10 about six years ago, then a 7x14, and now own a 6.5x17 If you get the house set up the way that YOU want it, and do a lot of the work yourself, it can be very rewarding to hear compliments from your friends and family. A guy can always sit back when the fishing is slow and think of ways you could tweak this or that. There's just something about breaking out the cards and anticipating the "ding" from a rattle reel! Sure, I still love venturing out in the portable from time to time, but there is something to be said about fishing and relaxing in comfort also. Not to mention the parties you can have in them too! grin

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