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Eric Wetteland

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It seems like a lot of you are doing mods to your portable ice houses. I don't know about you but I have a bad back and I don't like to bring everything. Lets talk about ways cut the Lbs so we can get the sled in and out of the car and out to the hole fast.

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Requirements for me are as follows.

Auger (Jiffy chisel if really early)

Vexilar

MarCum Rod Pac

I can get by with that if I need to as I picked up my arctic armor a couple weeks ago. My Rod Pac has a couple small compartments on it that will hold the essential jigs and plastics along with four rods. Oops, forgot, I might need a bucket to carry the fish home in.

I have a trap guide and am designing my mod right now. It is an older model, so I have a bit of work to do to get it just right. Looking forward to fishing out of it after the mod though. Having all the other stuff will make it more enjoyable maybe, but you don't need to pull 500 lbs of gear with you, most of which you won't use on a trip anyway.

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Thank you. I was drooling over everyone's mods, but still haven't decided what to do with my Yukon yet. I thought about flooring in only half of it, but was worried about the weight and moreover removing the metal bar and existing seats. Plus, my carpentry skills are so-so.

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I did a portable mod using an old bent up aluminum ladder for the frame , it worked great and no carpentry skills needed.

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That's why I have two open sleds. Take the stuff off of one and put it into the other one. Kind of slow, but no broken back. Plus if someone else comes along, I can split the equiptment in two, half the weight.

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I used the Blue styrofoam insulation for the bottom of my Voyeageur. Covered it in blue marine carpet after I cut out spots for all my gear. Is nice and light, keeps things from bouncing around. Also made a box to keep my support poles in. Like all the mods but was worried about too much weight. Even though I have a wheeler to pull it.

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Whatever you do, follow the credo of light-weight backpackers:

Worry about the ounces, and the pounds will follow.

How much excess weight in lead do we carry in our tackle? I bring a few small boxes, not my whole tackle box. A 2 horse, 8" auger.

When I unpack my kids school bag at the end of the day, and take out the hard cover edition of the "Guiness Book Of World Records", it occurs to me that minimizing might be something that just becomes aquired with age..... grinlaugh

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I agree with wanting my mod to be lightweight.

For mine, I used a plastic rain gutter to make a shelf or tray that runs along the inside of 2 sides of the sled. Very handy for holding lots of items and makes it easy to find them.

For dividers I used a thin piece of plywood that runs the length of the sled, with a few pieces that run across the width of the sled to form compartments for my gear and to hold my bucket in place. The horizontal pieces also hold the divider system in place. The divider system sits in my sled and is solid, but can be lifted out with just a thumb and forefinger for when I want to clean or dry out the sled.

In one of my compartments I have a soft cooler bag which has several side pockets. I leave the top open and tuck it in between the cooler bag and the side of the sled. Very handy for holding stuff and weighs next to nothing.

For seats I use the Otter swivel seats and bracket that runs across the sled. Also very lightweight and easy to remove, also helps to hold the divider system in place.

My mod is a lot less elaborate than a lot of guys have, and I don't have a carpeted deck with hatches, but I find it very light, very sturdy, easy to remove, and very functional.

Hope this helps and that I described it clearly.

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I keep a 5 gal pail, and wont bring anything extra that I cant fit in there. Keeps it safe, keeps me light.

I bring my lazer hand auger, my Lowrance Ice machine, my pail with tackle gloves etc, and my heater when its cold, and my soft sided rod case, and a minnow bucket..

It fills my otter den up pretty nicely, but its not too heavy.

The biggest way to stay light is to have a small portable in the first place and use tricks like the bucket trick mentioned above.

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I think we are on the right track. I am thinking of drilling holes cutting things of and not bringing things I know I wont need . I think for me going this year of ice fishing is going to be about moving fast and lite and having fun. I also would like to hear more was to cut the Lbs.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D8B7xbrAGw   Ice fishing in Wisconsin can be a challenge at times. Catching walleyes is not always an easy task either. We had some crazy weather leading up to this weekend, it was -20 degrees for a solid week and a half, followed by 2-3 days of mid 30s and pushing 40 plus some rain, then we went right back down to -20 degrees. This made for a challenge fishing tip ups this morning. I’ve got some new hole covers for my Finicky Foolers, which do work great as I’ve used them before, but unfortunately with no snow cover I made the mistake of not setting them right away and forming slush to the cover. Lesson learned. I did get a bit lucky catching that walleye as I thought it would have dropped the minnow with the line being froze. The first fish I caught was definitely a surprise, a species I have never caught through the ice before, although I have heard they are fairly common to catch out on this lake. Still was hoping it was a giant walleye, but fun nonetheless! With the cold we weren’t really planning on moving much. We would mark fish every 10 minutes or so but many of them were tight lipped. We did manage a couple more fish jigging, which were some good sized crappie and perch! Overall I did end up accomplishing the goal of catching a slot walleye out here, so can’t complain. I will be out on Petenwell Lake more times this winter!
    • Drilled the holes first then set the sleeves down seemed to work a lot better...just have to make sure you mark your holes lol
    • A nice bite continues with anglers catching all sizes of walleyes and saugers.  Most of the action on the south shore is in 24-30' of water.  Daytime bite continues thanks to stained waters of LOW.  There has been a good morning evening bite in 15-17' as well.  Resorts and outfitters keeping ice roads in good shape. One two punch of jigging line and dead stick (hook/jig with live minnow under bobber) effective as is the use of electronics to mark fish. Jigging spoons in gold, glow, glow red and pink uv.  Small rippin raps also good. If not fishing in a resort fish house, auger extension could be necessary in spots where ice is layered.  Snowmobilers stay on marked trail, big ice chunks off of trail.   Rainy River pushing out some nice walleyes with an occasional sturgeon through the ice.  Fish houses along the snowmobile trail from Wheeler's Point to Baudette Bay.  Morning, evening bite most effective.     The NW Angle also has good ice conditions where resorts have ice roads / trails and fishing has remained great. Ice road goes to Flag and Oak Island from Young's Bay. Good walleyes in 22-28' with saugers and perch in water deeper than 26'. Combo of jigging spoons and dead sticks with a jig and minnow effective.  Resorts are guiding anglers to slab crappies on the Ontario side of lake. Preserve the resource, catch your crappies, move on to walleyes or another species as mortality rate is high for released crappies in 25' or deeper.  Snowmobile trails on and around the lake are marked and groomed.  
    • I believe I picked that one up at Red Rock Wilderness Store.  It’s located east of Ely on the Fernberg.   Good thing is he does have an on line store too. 
    • How about using a AGM battery. They are sealed so no need to vent. I use one in my Yetti for the last 3 years. I also use a big volt and run a forced air furnace. I made an extra storage area in front of my rear jack knife sofa for the battery. I remove the lid to access it to hook up the big volt. After drilling the hose I reconnect the house power back to the battery. I used old jumper cable ends from my power source to the house. That way I just pull off the cables when I leave the house. No drain on battery when I’m gone. Easy access. I had it under rear sofa that was a pain. Best change I made to the house. I got the old cables off a dead jumper unit at the landfill. 
    • The Marcus Willimans that plays for the saints is not from Minnesota. The Marcus Williams that you are referring to plays for Houston.     Going to be 52 degrees there????? 
    • Did you ask @Wanderer since it was a picture you took from his post?    
    • Good job Ryan and dad!  Great photo too!  
    • The 30 is a log to have to carry constantly but sure is nice to have to keep the bait lively!  I went last night and purchased another pump in order to plug into the wall...$13 and all I have to do is move the tube from one pump and connect to the other.  I am seeing if I can easily keep minnows alive from one weekend to the next.
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