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Bass Thumb

Ice fishing atv - Polaris Sportsman - Yay/nay/alternative?

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I'm looking to be a little more mobile next season to get after those bluegills and walleyes. I'm going to go with an ATV, an enclosed 12-14' trailer to haul to the landing (not behind the ATV), and an Otter XT Pro Lodge.

I would love a $20,000 quad but I need to pay off my student loans first. I'm looking to stay in the $5,000-8,000 range, but I'm willing to be flexible for fishing!

I almost always fish with my dad. We are both tall and a little heavy. Our combined weight is 500 pounds. We have been using Clam Kenai Thermal sleds.

We fish around St. Cloud and Mille Lacs, and I prefer large bodies of water away from prying eyes.

The question: is the Polaris Sportsman an ideal fit for this? Would the 450 or 570 ($1500 extra) be better? What should I look for in an ice fishing 4-wheeler? What should I stay away from? Is power steering worth the extra money?

Thanks again, guys. Any and all advice is welcome.

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I hate to bash but a Polaris would be my last choice unless you don't mind repairs. I have had quite a few buddies that owned them and won't go back. I'm a Honda guy but wouldn't be afraid of Yamaha either. Been hearing of issues off and on with some Can Ams. Have power steering now and would never be without it again. Front diff lock can come in pretty handy too. V bar tire chains for the rear are valuable at times. More power is always good but I used a 350 Honda Rancher for 10 years and 5900 miles with no problem. Have a Rubicon now which is actually like 475cc and fantastic on gas.

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I agree with Pro-V.

I have owned kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda ATV's as well as 3 Polaris ATV's. The Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki all ran hard and none ever saw the dealer repair shop while every Polaris had multiple issues and had multiple turns at the shop and they were not just cheap fixes either.

 

You just can't beat the smooth ride of a polaris and I appreciate that they are a Minnesota company so I gave them more than enough chances but between the ones I have owned as well as my Brothers and friends there is a well documented history of poor quality and they have gotten my last dollar. 

 

 

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No issues here. My dad has a 2012 sportsmen 500 HO. It’s been solid has 2000 ish miles and has NEVER been to a dealer for repairs since new. He doesn’t do any maintenance on his things but it’s still running great. It starts no matter how cold and more than enough power for anything a guy would need to do. I have a 05 330 magnum has 850 miles I’ve had it for 2 years and been to dealer once for maintaince. No issues and been solid thing goes through crazy amounts of snow never even use 4x4. Yes it’s a 330 but more power than you really need. I’ve pulled a loaded 2 man flip over and two guys riding for miles across lakes and she’s golden. You can’t go wrong with a 450 EFI is the cats meow for sure. As far as winter run good fuel, a good synthetic oil land that’s it. More Atvs stock do just fine I have found the sportsmen’s do tend to lack in the snow so a upgrade on tires (and rims if you feel) are a thing to consider. Hope this helps.

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its not about which wheeler, but how you can pull it. tires for snow is a must. I have a Polaris and a Yamaha, my Polaris has stock tires, and deeper snow limits your travel, and I am not talking deep snow. my Yamaha has 27 inch deep lug tires that get me through about anything on the lake, if you can deal with the snow balls thrown about when its above freezing.:lol:

 

its not what you spend on a wheeler, its how much more you need to put into it to make it a true winter ride. the tires and rims I bought for that Yamaha cost 700 over 10 years ago, I would think they are more now.

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I forgot to say. If it were my choice I’d invest in a nice fan cooled sled. I know not a year round investment but for ice fishing a sled is way better than a wheeler. Figured I’d throw it out there.

 

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I have a 2016 sportsman 570 and i love it for ice fishing, the only kicker is ive had it almost not start when it was below zero out on the lake, ever since then I have been a little leary of taking it when it's that cold out, but I think that is due to polaris dump batterys

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I agree with knoppers on the tires. I got 27" Maxxis Zillas on mine and they are a great tire in the snow. A little over $400 online.

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14 hours ago, AlwaysFishing23 said:

I forgot to say. If it were my choice I’d invest in a nice fan cooled sled. I know not a year round investment but for ice fishing a sled is way better than a wheeler. Figured I’d throw it out there.

 

Go with a Skandic, they will outlast the U S piece of junks!

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2 hours ago, Bass Thumb said:

Thanks for the tips. I'm hearing Yamaha may be a good option.

When you buy one just make sure some young guy didn't beat the hell out of it. Check for anything bent or leaking oil.

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I have a Polaris 570 with power steering.

Two problems with this atv you will have but its a simple fix. One the relay's are not sealed and have issue sub zero degrees. Pop in these relays and your issue will be solved. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077V2TBM9/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The second issue is the battery capacity (the location is also dump) buy a larger capacity battery (Polaris sells a kit for this).

 

As for power steering its nice but not needed and if your trying to stay on the cheap you can always add it later.

For the 450vs 570 The 450 is a really capable machine and has the same long block as the 570. There's guys out there that can reflash the computer to make them put out what the 570's do for $430.

http://shop.rvsperformance.com/Sportsman-450-ECU-Tuning-2016-ECU-PSPTS-450.htm

Lastly if get a Polaris or any CVT atv get in the habit of checking the moisture drain on a regular basis. Snow powder tends to get in there with no where to go. My tracks don't help the matter :)

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I've got 27" Maxxis Zillas on a 01 Honda 450 Foreman ES.    Great tire and a huge improvement over the stock 25" tires.   Gave the Honda more clearance plus deep lugs to grip its way through snow and mud.  The Honda is a workhorse and used 7 days a week through winter.  Starts in -30 and has never let me down.

 

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Some would call me a Honda fanboy, which is probably true, but they are a true workhorse for ice fishing.  We have 5 or 6 of them (300, 400, and 450s) in the family, and I have yet to ever hear of a single problem with any of them.  The solid axle means you can tow dang near anything, and you don't have to mess with worn out belts like some of the others.  Good tires are obviously important, but chains on all 4 are more important.  

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I think all makes are models have come a long way in recent years and all are reliable. In regards to size, motor etc you will run out of traction well before run out of power. So tires and even a set of chains will make a big difference on the ice.

 

I happen to like Polaris just because of how the 4wd system works.  The 4wd  actually works and actually spins all 4 wheels unlike the 3 wheel wonders the other brands have. No locker or extra levers and buttons to hold down, no slowing down to engage just flip the switch on the handlebar regardless of how fast you are going and your set. It also drives in 2wd until the rear tires slip so you don't have to fight locked front end when you don't need it.

 

In regards to the 570, you can get the 570 in the old 500 platform with struts etc. But if it were me I would try to find an 570xp model with dual a-arm suspension instead of the struts it will ride and handle much better. The 570 motor is also rotated 90 degrees from the old 500 so the machine is a little narrower and ergonomics is much more comfortable. Another option would be a 550xp but they are no longer making them but used would be in your price range. I think the best power to rate ratio is the 570 that motor is no slouch.

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41 minutes ago, rundrave said:

Another option would be a 550xp

My buddy has one. 550 not sure what year but said its good. Cold starting is pretty good but below zero can be difficult somtimes without a good battery. It’s a very good riding machine, handling and power is way better compared the 500 ho. Does good in the deep snow to with stock tires.

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7 hours ago, vtx1029 said:

I have a Polaris 570 with power steering.

Two problems with this atv you will have but its a simple fix. One the relay's are not sealed and have issue sub zero degrees. Pop in these relays and your issue will be solved. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077V2TBM9/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The second issue is the battery capacity (the location is also dump) buy a larger capacity battery (Polaris sells a kit for this).

 

As for power steering its nice but not needed and if your trying to stay on the cheap you can always add it later.

For the 450vs 570 The 450 is a really capable machine and has the same long block as the 570. There's guys out there that can reflash the computer to make them put out what the 570's do for $430.

http://shop.rvsperformance.com/Sportsman-450-ECU-Tuning-2016-ECU-PSPTS-450.htm

Lastly if get a Polaris or any CVT atv get in the habit of checking the moisture drain on a regular basis. Snow powder tends to get in there with no where to go. My tracks don't help the matter :)

Where are the relays located at on the wheeler? I have a non power steering model if it were to make any difference either, thanks 

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On 2/12/2018 at 2:48 PM, Billy G said:

Where are the relays located at on the wheeler? I have a non power steering model if it were to make any difference either, thanks 

open the front cover and remove the panel in the center that extends under the headlight. The fuse/relay box is under there. There's three relays you want to replace, Its the fuel pump, EFI and chassis relays.

Edited by vtx1029

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