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hiwayman33

Permanent Ice Shack Opinion

13 posts in this topic

My dad and I are starting to look at getting a permanent wheel house. The two we have been looking at are the ice castles and the lodge fish house made in brookings sd. My dad claims the lodge fish houses have foamed in insulation which makes them more rigid and durable. Any thoughts on these two? Also, where can a guy rent them. I know Highbanks rents the lodges, anywhere else? How about the castles?

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I would save yourself the money and go with the Ice Castle, If you really want Quality look at a Dream Shack, a custom house from Berkon Industries out of Holdingford, MN or also Soderblooms. I would not own another Lodge, but there are personal reasons behind that.

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If you are going to spend alot of days on the ice, and fish for many years, go with the Lodge. These houses are tanks. Very well put together and tight. We fished in 50 mph winds last year and could barely even hear the wind outside. They don't skimp on any materials, that is why they are more expensive. Just depends on over-all use. If you plan on buying a "Permanent" house and want to keep it for years, go with the Lodge.

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I would take a look at berkon fish house and go with 8 wide and Hyd lift pulls like a dream down the road.Nice clean looking HSOList.MY 2cents

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Somethingfishy - Could you expand more on why you would NOT go with a lodge again? Right now I have an Ice Castle Eliminator. It is my first house, and I like it. But my goal was always to use this one a few years, then sell it and upgrade to a lodge. They look really really nice.

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luv2fish, if you have a number I could contact you at I would be willing to share my experience, I just don't feel FM is the place for me to share my experience and reasoning behind my decision.

I hope you understand.

Thanks, SF

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I bought a Ice Castle last year and could not be happier. The Lodge in the same size and options was over twice as much. I'm sure they are nice houses, but worth double??? Not in my expirence. I had it on Red all year and the floor dried out quick, it was nice and toasty and had no issues. If you buy an Ice Castle, make sure to upgrade to the tube frame, some of the smaller houses come with angle iron unless you upgrade.

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I have to put in a vote for Soderblooms. Mine is pretty decked out, has logged thousands of miles and is standing the test of time - plus it does it all weighing in under 2500 lbs. Give Jay a call, you can't go wrong.

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The Ice Castle is the most mass produced fish house sold here in Minnesota but personaly I think there are better ones out there. Recall posts over the past couple years with owners who had issues with swing arms.

My wifes step dad paid $10,800 for one three year ago and when he got it he showed it to me and we couldn't believe all the inperfections on the shanty, both inside and out. For that kind of money we both thought it would be gosh darn perfect. He ended up selling the shanty with a dent in the rear side for $5,000 over the Summer. The fish house was v-nose and very hard to pull even with the diesels. With how long it was it should have had two axles under it. It was a very easy to operate as far as up and down is concerned.

If you could find a good used one you will be a lot better off than paying full retail right now.

On my old PC had a link to about 15 fish house companies here in MN but I couldn't post that link anyways. A google search would work too. As a matter of fact just found a web site that only sells fish houses.

A couple known quality houses are,

Ultra Shack and King Crow

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Another thing you could do is wait for the ice and show and look at a bunch in person.

A couple more thing I thought of,

Try to get one that has an Empire furnace that doesn't require batteries to operate. On long trips charging batteries is tough. The one thing I didn't like when fishing in the Ice Castle was having to be the grunt and haul both batteries around. I put a similiar Suburban furnace in a camper a few years back and when the battery got so low it would only blow cold air. Several nights we woke up very cold! The warm blowing heat is nice though.

My custom made wheel house as 12 volt lights as a back up relying on two propane lights and a 15K btu Empire direct vent furnace. With a full 100 pounder it's self containted for up to a week. Most manufactured fish houses try to stay away from installing propane lights as they could blow the place up. Something about opening and closing the door causing an explosion. I lived in mine for a few Winters and never had that problem though.

IMO, the best wheeled fish house would be one with as much aluminum as possible and as little wood as possible.

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