It’s early Sunday afternoon in Lake Country. The football game is on, the beer is flowing, and maybe a bobber goes down…or not. Does this sound like a scenario for you?
While I’m not knocking a man’s version of a good time, this is often the scenario of those who own permanent ice fishing houses all over the Midwest. You can usually spot them in large communities, more often it seems than not. And this community doesn’t build until almost mid-winter, too.
Personally, I don’t drink on the ice. I’m not against anyone doing so, I just hit the ice to catch fish, PERIOD. I don’t want a SUPER HEAVY ICE HOUSE that I can only use a few months out of the year, at best. Seems great until over a foot of snow falls, leaving your options for deployment dwindling by the day. This scenario just isn’t me.
The Answer to Ice Fishing Mobility
There is a permanent ice house on the market that does, in fact, go against the grain of what I just described. Let me introduce to you the Zack Shack Ice Fishing House.
Personally, I’ve owned 2 Zack Shacks over the years. I owned a 12-foot model first, followed by a 14-foot model later. I kept my quad in the ice house in both, as I typically used the 4-wheeler to take my ice house out all winter.
There are a couple of key factors that make this ice house a must for serious, mobile ice anglers.
- The Zack Shack is very lightweight. When the ice gets to that 7 to 8-inch level of thickness, I’d take my ice house out with my 4-wheeler. Many do it with thinner ice, but I feel this has always been safe and consistent for me.
- No permanent ice fishing house sets up faster. As you can see in the video below, it just takes a minute or two to deploy.
- With the ski design, you can pull your ice house up and over heavy snow!
- It’s set up to fish. Every Zack Shack can be customized to fit your style of fishing, with dozens of options available.
The Definition of a Mobile Ice Angler
A mobile ice angler quite simply is one who puts the fishing first in the outing. If you arrive at your first spot and it doesn’t produce, this angler keeps moving until he/she is on fish. With heavy, bulky ice houses, it takes just too much time to set up making mobility a pain.
It’s not unusual for me to move 5-8 times in an outing, often more! With the Zack Shack, you simply roll up to your spot, drill the holes with the ice house off the ice, and drop it down after to ensure the holes are “draft free”! Simple.
Simple is what wins usually in ice fishing circles. And with the invention of forward-facing sonar in recent years, the time it takes to get on fish nowadays is cut down substantially.
Permanent Ice House Features That Are Vital
There are a bunch of ways I customized my Zack Shack based on how I ice fish.
- I personally like the ramp at the back, with the door in the middle. This makes it easy for my quad to get in and out of the ice house, with trax or tires.
- I wouldn’t mind getting an extra set of windows (4 total) in a 14-foot version.
- I would max out the holes in the ice house at 8 total.
- Ski Fenders are a must for pulling through snow.
- I love the rubber floors, keeping water off the materials in the house.
- Good rod racks are great for proper organization.
I didn’t include some obvious features, such as a heater, because quite simply, I’ve never seen an ice house without one! You get the point…
The Tale of 2 Zack Shacks
As stated earlier, I have owned 2 Zack Shacks over the years. I used each for many years before selling…and yes, they do hold their value on resale, too!
12-Foot Zack Shack Ice Fishing House
My first Zack Shack was a 12-footer, with a camouflage tin exterior. It also featured the double door system in the back (they also have a ramp with a door in the middle option).
It featured 6 holes, rod holders, and a heater. Simple. We also put shelving towards the top of the house, and it featured 2 bunks for sleeping.
I took this ice house EVERYWHERE…even used it as a goose hunting trailer in the fall. Since it heated and slept so well, why not!!!
14-foot Zack Shack Fish House
The 14-footer came in white. Now, the ONLY thing I did not like about my Zack Shacks was the color white. Simple reason…it showed dirt, very well. But other than that, I loved this ice house!
I ice fished out of this house more than the other, and owned it for longer, too. I had 8 holes in this house, with a very simple setup. My 4-wheeler had trax so I liked having the wider opening and a ramp for entry.
That ice house caught more fish than most people lie about…and for good reason, we were able to go where most couldn’t. The fact that I operated a quad with Trax, towing a lightweight ice house on skies, allowed me to get virtually anywhere on the ice.
We weren’t limited to the ice roads and didn’t worry about forecasts, either. Because at the end of the day, I knew my Zack Shack could get through it anyway! And while I owned this ice house for almost 8 ice seasons, I literally only got it stuck once (I won’t lie, I did a great job on that one). The reason I got stuck was operator stupidity, as I was trying to go uphill with a lot of snow (maybe too much confidence???).
Best Mobile Ice Fishing House Recap
If you’re not convinced after watching the videos and seeing how easy and mobile this fish house can be, I don’t know what else to say.
Zack Shack owners are almost a cult following. Why? Because they last. They’re solid and simple, with few issues when properly maintained. But while there are hundreds and hundreds of Zack Shacks out in the wild, good luck finding one used…and that’s a sign of quality.