5 Best Fish House RVs for Ice Fishing

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Fish house RVs for ice fishing have come a long way from their humble beginnings. In the last few years, the features and amenities in fish house RVs have stepped up to the highest levels never seen before. It’s only in the Modern Era (2008-Present) that these regionally well-known RVs have gained national attention.

We’ll show you some great examples of fish house RVs for ice fishing in today’s market. You’ll learn why they’re now a sub-class of the travel trailer category, their differences, and their full capabilities.

So get ready to open your mind to a whole new RV lifestyle that may have you consider a fantastic off-season RV adventure (psst, you can rent them too).

The 5 Best Fish House RVs for Ice Fishing

1. Forest River Grey Wolf 17 MP

Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Forest River Cherokee Grey Wolf 17MP Exterior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Forest River Cherokee Grey Wolf 17MP Interior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Forest River Cherokee Grey Wolf 17MP Interior
  • Length: 25.10 ft.   
  • UVW: 4,471 lbs.
  • GVWR: 5,794 lbs.
  • Fishing Holes: 8
  • Sleep: 2-3
  • Tanks: F- 15g/ G- 12g/ B- 4.5g

The majority of fish house RVs for ice fishing come from independent manufacturers. Yet, Forest River’s Cherokee brand dropped its line in the water with six models from the Grey Wolf Series. The 17MP is a fish house travel trailer under 6,000 pounds, that’s great for full-size SUVs and half-ton pickups.

The rear dinette has access to half of the eight fishing holes and the midship jack knife sofa can reach the other half comfortably. The long narrow cabinets on each sidewall give owners fishing rod storage and space for their tackle box.

The lids act as countertop space to unpack your ice fishing gear. This gives you the surface space you need without exposing your kitchen or dining table to the messy part of the sport.

Each fishing hole comes with LED blue lights that are beyond the visual spectrum of fish. Some holes are also prewired for underwater fish cameras. The multimedia system and sidewalls also come wired up for mountable TVs and satellite sourcing. You can stow your parka and boots while you’re inside because the 35,000 BTU furnace will keep everyone toasty warm.

2. Glacier Ice House 17EXP

Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Glacier 17EXP Exterior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Glacier 17EXP Interior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Glacier 17EXP Floorplan
  • Length: 17 ft.   
  • UVW: 4,790 lbs.
  • GVWR: 5,500 lbs.
  • Fishing Holes: 6
  • Sleep: 5
  • Tanks: F- 20g/ G- 22g/ B- 12g

Glacier Ice House builds fish house RVs for ice fishing in their Explorer (EXP) series. When you compare them to their other models, you’ll find that the EXPs offer a complete RV living experience. The 17EXP is the smallest of the Explorer Series, but it’s far from basic. 

The all-wood paneling for the interior walls and ceiling is a standard feature among independent brands. Besides giving users a backwoods cabin aesthetic, real wood panels act as a natural temperature insulator.

When you’re essentially winter camping with freezing temperatures outside, you want materials like wood interior walls, fiberglass batt insulation, reflective radiant sheeting, and other countermeasures preventing any temperature leaching from occurring.

Many brands place the black tank directly under the toilet and the grey tank under the shower. It’s an efficient way of keeping the tanks from freezing using the RV’s interior heat. Dual bottle propane tanks work the kitchen range, 30,000 to 35,000 BTU furnace, and RV water heater.

3. Yetti Outdoors T614-DK

Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Yetti Outdoors Traxx T614-DK Exterior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Yetti Outdoors Traxx T614-DK Interior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Yetti Outdoors Traxx T614-DK Floorplan
  • Length: 14 ft.   
  • UVW: 2,825 lbs.
  • GVWR: 4,300 lbs.
  • Sleep: 2-3
  • Fishing Holes: 6
  • Ramp Door: 64 inches (5.34 ft.) W x 76 inches (6.34 ft) H

For those multi-generational ice fishers balancing the realities of city life with ice fishing culture, Yetti Outdoors has the perfect fish house RV for ice fishing you can tow with a mid-size SUV. The Traxx Edition T614-DK has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) under 3,000 lbs. Your 6-cylinder Honda Ridgeline will make the towing experience enjoyable.

The Traxx Series focuses on those sportswomen and sportsmen who enjoy the outdoors year-round. They’re excellent fish house RVs for ice fishing in winter and serve as a hunting or photo hunting blind in the warmer months. Each model has a rear garage door so you can bring your ATV or snowmobile with you wherever your destination may be.

The lightweight T614-DK Traxx RV fish house comes with a roll-over sofa, top fold-down bunk, a microwave, stove/oven combo, an LED TV pre-wire mounting, and front cabinetry.

In addition, there’s an optional 200-watt solar package that comes with or without a 1,000-watt inverter from the manufacturer. Yetti also offers other optional a la carte features that enhance the RV off-grid living, entertainment, and ice fishing experience. 

4. Core Ice 8026 ATX

The correct model code is the 8026 ATX
  • Length: 26 ft.   
  • UVW: 4,490 lbs.
  • GVWR: 7,000 lbs.
  • Sleep: 6
  • Fishing Holes: 10
  • Tanks:
    • Floorplan 1: F- 15 g/ Combo- 33 g 
    • Floorplan 2: F- 40 g/ G- 40 g/ B- 33 g
    • Floorplan 3: F- 40 g/ G- 40 g/ B- 33 g
  • Garage: 86 inches (6.23 ft) W x 85.5 inches (16.4 ft.) L

Core Ice released a fish house RV for ice fishing that was “New for 22” in the spring of that year. If you get a chance to walk through one of the three Core Ice 8026 ATX floorplans, you’ll see they did everything right. The unit feels like an all-season travel trailer you can ice fish with during the winter.

The cabinetry has top-grade soft close hardware, a large kitchen, and has Bluetooth connectivity for the electronics. In addition, the company installed a 10 cu. ft. refrigerator as a standard feature. 

Instead of a usual tank water heater and separate furnace, Core Ice installed the propane/electric Truma Hydronic System. It uses less fuel, works like a tankless water heater, and heats the interior quietly. 

The three floorplan options let you choose the best mid-coach seating space, kitchen layout, and bathroom setup for your needs.

  • Half Bath: Weekenders will enjoy the additional walking space. Since this floorplan doesn’t have a shower, Core Ice installs a 15 gallon freshwater tank and 33-gallon combined wastewater holding tank. Yet, the 68 inch wall-mounted jackknife sofa will make growing teenagers and adults comfortable as a sleeping space.
  • Long Sofa: The 74 inch upgraded sofa adds midship seating and give 6-foot adults a full body sleeping space. The floorplan makes this fish house RV with ice fishing features a full bathroom model that has all three holding tanks. Those looking for long trips on the ice will enjoy this version.
  • Captain Chairs: The third layout options switches out the upgraded sofa for movable pedestal captain chairs. If one of the fishing holes is jinxed with bad luck, simply lift the chair up, place it into the empty slot, and try your luck in one of the other 9 floor fishing holes.

5. Ice Castle Fish House Eagle Ext

Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Ice Castle Fish House Eagle EXT Exterior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Ice Castle Fish House Eagle EXT Interior
Fish House RV for Ice Fishing Ice Castle Fish House Eagle EXT Floorplan
  • Length: 32 ft.    
  • UVW: 9,080 lbs.
  • GVWR: 11,000
  • Sleep: 5-7
  • Fishing Holes: 9
  • Tanks: F- 15 g/ G- 30 g/ B- 30 g

The ice fishing season starts in December and closes down in early March. So why would someone spend around $65,000 for a luxury RV fish house, only to use it for less than four months?

Fish house travel trailers and fifth wheels make excellent all-season camping trailers. Mid and high-end versions come with air conditioners, awnings, exterior lighting, and other non-winter amenities ideal for a summer vacation. Additionally, with their high insulation R-value, you can find a handful of used RV fish houses in the Arizona desert and other hot climates. 

Ice Castle Fish House’s Eagle EXT is their most popular top-end RV model. Many customers customize their units with optional features. You’ll find that the axle lifts, drop-down master bed, and many other features activate with the push of a button. Also, this is an RV for tall people because the ceiling measures 7.5 feet high. The recessed canned lighting alleviates any fears of bumping your head.

Another rarity is the slideout. Fish house RVs for ice fishing have to withstand temperatures below 0° Fahrenheit. Slideouts are one of the biggest culprits for interior temperature leaks, yet Ice Castle Fish House does a great job keeping the edges sealed. 

When you walk through the Eagle EXT, you’ll immediately know you’re in a luxury RV fish house. The wood laminate flooring is an upgrade from non-slip rubber tiles. In addition, the Cove trim and walnut-stained cabinets give the decor a more developed contemporary look than an entire cedar wood-paneled interior. 

Those using the front twin bunks won’t feel left out since a TV mounting position is available on the wall shared with the full bathroom. The extremely long granite counters on both sides of the unit have all the space you need for meal prep, tackle boxes, or anything else you need for your ice fishing trip.

The Evolution of Fish House RVs For Ice Fishing

Evolution of Fish House RV for Ice Fishing

Native American history tells us that ice fishing dates back centuries. The People would set up tents on the ice to protect themselves from the weather as they fished for food. Later, those of European Ancestry who settled in Canada and the northern United States would build wooden shanty structures each year. 

Eventually, people added long ski-like structures, called skids, to the bottom of insulated structures allowing ice fishing huts to become more than a shack. The removable skid house allowed furniture, vented stoves, and other creature comforts.

Some amenities were possible with the original shanty, but weight restrictions kept them limited since horsepower relied on how many animals you had in your stable. The final evolution came when innovation replaced the skids with trailer axles.

Modern Fish House RVs for Ice Fishing and Ice Shantytown Culture

Today’s fish house mobile structures have drawn so much from the RV industry, they’ve become a subcategory of the travel trailer category. You may have seen old-style skid houses in the movies and TV shows, but the RV fish houses in today’s market will amaze you.

Those that use fish house RVs for ice fishing, skid houses, or DIY fish shanties generally prefer to park near each other. As a result, you’ll find that they create ice shantytowns on the lake. As evil spirits wards, people hang everything from their structure as good luck totems. The most common charm (I kid you not) is a toilet or toilet seat. 

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper Where Are Fish House RVs For Sale

Fish house RVs for ice fishing can be used as campers during the regular season in a number of ways. Due to their construction and other factors, some RV lifestyle adaptions will be required if you’re used to a traditional travel trailer. Yet, you’ll find that the benefits will make fish house RVs worth the money.

1. Where Are Fish House RVs For Sale?

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper Where Are Fish House RVs For Sale

We all know that Elkhart, Indiana is the RV Capital of the World. However, you’ll find all of the independent manufacturers scattered around the State of Minnesota for the fish house RV sector. The “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is geographically central for the many American states that enjoy ice fishing. Interstate 29 makes Winnipeg an excellent distribution hub for Canadian RV dealers.

You can buy the independent brands at many of the RV manufacturer locations or dealers in the midwest northern states. Most likely, you’ll find the best selection of new models in Minnesota and Winnipeg. The best used fish house RVs with a lot of life left in them can be found around popular ice fishing locations that allow them on the lake.

2. How Difficult is it to tow an RV Fish House? 

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper How Difficult is it to Tow an RV Fish House

Towing fish house RVs for ice fishing have a few differences, but overall, they tow like their traditional counterparts. The majority of fish house RVs use either the conventional stick-and-tin building method or the hybrid method, which replaces the aluminum sheeting with laminated fiberglass panels.

The nose comes to a triangular point, instead of the rounded front cap found on traditional travel trailers. The roof is a separate piece, the windows are dual paned, and the exterior walls have at least 6-inches of diamond plating protecting all sides. The suspension has a good rating and can handle some off-road conditions, but it’s not made for long drives.

Fish house RVs like short trips to the lake or wilderness location. Once they’re parked, they like to stay in one place. the diamond plating and retractable axles keep all of the bad things (moisture, mold, pests, etc.) from creating problems. If you prefer moving around a lot, a traditional travel trailer will give you a smoother ride and are generally lighter weight than similar length fish house RVs.

3. Fish House RV Fishing Holes

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper Fish House RV Fishing Holes

For most RVers, a hole in the floor is one of the worst things that can happen to their coach. Ice fishers want holes. When you unscrew the black rubberized covers, they’re big enough to use an ice auger to drill through the ice. 

Fish house RVs for ice fishing have special blue LED lighting in the holes. The light is in a spectrum fish can’t detect, but allows you to see what’s just below the water’s surface. It’s such a popular feature, that if it doesn’t come standard, RV dealers will order the lighting with the feature directly from the RV manufacturer.

Another popular feature is an underwater camera or sonar prewiring. Fish house RVs come with 4-10 fishing holes. Using these devices in one or two of the fishing holes can give you an edge on which end of the trailer could be your best catch zone.

4. Fish House RVs Have Lower CCC for Gear

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper Fish House RV Have Lower CCC for Gear

When you look at many of the fish house RVs for ice fishing, you’ll notice that their Cargo Carrying Capacities (CCC) are lower than regular travel trailers of equal size. If the fish house RV is heavier, but it can’t hold as much as a lighter RV, the natural question is, where is all that weight being used?

The extra weight that reduces the CCC comes from the heavier structural materials. The average temperature rating for a travel trailer is 32°F. All-season RVs can maintain a comfortable inside temperature at 0°F. Officially, fish house RVs have the same rating, but in the coldest times of the year, these towables must protect the people inside when the thermometer is well into the negative readings.

On the other hand, many models come as toy haulers. The designers make use of the RV’s axle weight capacity, making ATV, UTV, and snowmobile storage possible. Yet, when it comes to cabinet and closet storage throughout the interior, that’s where fish house RVs fall short.

5. Putting Down the Legs Versus A Belly Flop

5 Ways You Can Use a Fish House RV as a Camper Putting Down the Legs versus a Belly Flop

When you set up the traditional non-slide-out travel trailer, the four scissor stabilizer jacks act like legs that prevent the RV from rocking. If you’re on slightly uneven ground, you can tweak them accordingly.

Fish house RVs have adjustable axles. When you find your spot on the lake, you either crank or push the power button to lift the axles into the RV’s underbelly. This process lowers the entire coach, creating a seal with the ice. You don’t want cold air blowing up into your fish house when ice fishing.

This “belly flop” method is great on the ice, but on land, it can be annoying. Finding a close-to-level piece of land when you’re off-grid or even at a campground with unpaved campsites can be a headache. The good news is, fish house RV manufacturers are now starting to use 12v DC refrigerators instead of the older absorption technology, so leveling for the fridge is becoming a non-issue.

When is the Ice Safe?

Fish House RV for Ice Fishing When is the Ice Safe
Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

The most prominent question people have about using a fish house RV for ice fishing for the first time is how thick the lake ice must be before pulling onto the ice? The simple answer is, to contact the National Park Service, State, or county authorities that regulate ice fishing. They usually post on their websites whether the ice is safe or not. 

For a better idea, here are some measurements to give you a general idea:

  • 4-inches: The average person can walk on and ice fish in the open air
  • 5-6 inches: People can ride an ATV, snowmobile,  or UTV over the ice
  • 8-12 inches: Cars and quarter-ton trucks can safely drive on ice
  • 12-15 inches: Full-size pickup trucks can make it across an ice road
  • 14-18 inches: Road construction equipment can create and maintain the ice road highways
  • 29-inches or more: Tanker semi-tractor trucks can drive across the ice to take supplies to remote communities

RV fish houses range from a compact car to the weight of a full-size pickup truck. Aim for those ice thicknesses. If you’re in an area where the ice leans on the thinner side, there are plenty of smaller fish house RVs with plenty of potential.

Bring Your Motorized Adventure Toys With You

Fish House RV Bring Your Motorized Adventure Toys With You

You’ll see many motorized adventure toys like snowmobiles 4-wheelers driving around the ice shantytowns. Ice fishers use them much like the family car going back and forth taking care of various things. The fish house RV manufacturing sector took to the toy hauler concept like a perch to Uncle Billy’s favorite lure.

RV fish house toy haulers usually have a rear dinette with an upper power bunk floorplan like many traditional RV toy haulers. Most fish house RV for ice fishing models fit one ATV-sized vehicle, but some longer models accommodate two single rider vehicles. All of the manufacturers do a great job on the weather stripping preventing inside temperature leaking.

What Do I Need to Get to Ice Fish With a Fish House RV?

What Do I Need to Get to Ice Fish With a Fish House RV

If you’re ready to get into ice fishing with a fish house RV, there are several ways you can do it. First, you can rent one from RV rental companies like Outdoorsy, RV-ezy, RVnGO, or RVshare. You’ll also find ice fishing tour guides with RV fish houses for clients already set up. 

If you’re from the Sunbelt states in the U.S., you’ll want to do your research about the proper clothing, winter gear, and other things you’ll need to keep yourself warm in those below-freezing temperatures. If you’ve never experienced a northern winter, learn all you can to avoid life-threatening situations in the cold.

No matter which fish house RV for ice fishing you choose, plan on having a good time. You might not achieve your fishing goals, but the people you’ll meet and the experiences you’ll have will make up for it. A final tip is not to be someone who “jinks” the whole weekend by touching other peoples’ totems. It ruins their chances to catch anything.

Related Reading:

15 Best RV Campgrounds with Fishing Nearby
Travel Trailer and RV Insulation Guide: R-Values Explained
12 Best Ways to Insulate a Travel Trailer for Winter
10 Ways to Heat a Camper and Stay Warm While Camping in Cold Winter Weather
10 Best Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing
9 Best Heated Camping Chairs to Keep You Warm

Brian Newman – Author and Full Time RVer

Although he’s from Motown, Brian Newman is a legacy RVer that grew up on I-75. He, and his wife have enjoyed the full-time RV lifestyle since 2017.

Like John Madden, he hasn’t “worked” in years because he gets to write about his passion. When he’s not working, he supports his daughter’s dog rescue efforts and disability causes.

Brian Newman and dog

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