If you’re looking for tips to figure out how to maintain your ice shelter, here are some suggestions.
Ice fishing is a tough sport, practiced only by those who can handle the extreme temperatures and limited mobility it offers. A sturdy shelter is often the only thing standing between an ice loving angler and the elements that might drive him or her home. Keep that shelter well maintained in the balmy summer months with these helpful tips, so the next ice fishing adventure will be safe and successful!
Take a look at it in the off season
If it’s a windy day, set up your shelter in the driveway or the back yard and see how it handles the wind. If it’s chilly, see how well it keeps the cold out. While you’re at it, look for little repairs that need to be done. Is your shelter in need of any patches? Is there any latent moisture that needs to be taken care of? Do you need to rethink how you anchor it? Are there screws missing? Better to find all these little problems in warmer weather just a stone’s throw from the nearest hardware store than when you’re out on the ice.
If you’ve discovered that maybe your shelter isn’t as protected from moisture as you thought be sure to coat it with some moisture repellant like Stay Dry. Be sure to apply several layers to the most vulnerable areas: the top, seams, windows, and doors. About 3-6 cans should do the trick. Be sure to give your shelter plenty of time to dry before you store it again.
Tend to the metal and moving parts
The cold isn’t very forgiving, and the last thing you need is for your metal poles to refuse to fit together. Be sure to keep them well greased with a sub-zero lubricant. This goes for your zippers, too. Nothing can be worse than having a nice, cozy shelter and being unable to open or close it because the zipper has stuck. If this doesn’t worn, consider securing your shelter with something that absolutely won’t fail you, like heavy duty Velcro. Also keep an eye on any rough patches that might form on the metal bits over time. Sand these down with some fine grain sandpaper and your poles will be good as new!
Store it safely
Once you’ve done all the hard work checking on your shelter, the best thing you can do is store it safely until the time comes to pull it out. Make sure the fabric is dry, with no residual moisture or fresh Stay Dry. Fold it carefully, without wadding it in any place. Slip in a few dryer sheets, both to deter rodents and to give your shelter a fresh smell to combat the mustiness of storage. Moth balls are also an option but, of course, a less pleasant one.
Remember, your shelter is what stands between you and the elements. Careful maintenance can extend the life of your shelter and guarantee you many long and successful fishing trips in the future.