7 Best Ice Fishing Sleds For Every Situation

You never know what situation you’ll find yourself in while ice fishing.  But one thing is for sure.  Having the right ice fishing sled will make or break your day. 

Dragging a behemoth sled out for a quick evening trip to chase a few perch leads only to aching muscles.  Yet, using a little kid sled to haul a full arsenal of ice fishing equipment ensures you’ll leave a trail of lost gear in your wake.

Finding the right sled to suit your ice fishing style is no simple task.  That’s why we have compiled a list of our favorite sleds to match every situation that ice fishing demands.

Whether you like to pack light or go out for a long ice camping trip, we’ve found the sleds that get the job done.  Take a look at these 7 top sleds to see which one is right for you. 

1. Otter Sport Sled – Ideal for gear junkies

Some ice anglers pack serious heat when they get on the ice.  For hauling everything from advanced fish finding electronics to a slew of specialized rods, gear junkies will love Otter Sport sleds.

Made from super strong molded polyethylene, the Otter Sport is rugged enough to handle brutal conditions without cracking in extreme cold.  You can load this sled up to the gills with everything you need for a full day on the ice.  

Plus, don’t worry about overloading this sled.  Even when packed with an auger, insulated pop-up, heaters and all the other essentials, pulling the Otter Sport to your favorite hardwater spot is easy.  Wide sled tracks, a steep front angle and included tow rope all help to make this sled glide smoothly on the ice.

Choose from small, medium or large sizes to suit your needs.  

– Small sled dimensions:  43” L x 21”W x 9” H, (6 pounds)

Medium sled dimensions:  53” L x 25” W x 10” H, (12.5 pounds)

Large sled dimensions:  64” L x 29” W x 11” H, (17 pounds)

Features we like on the Otter Sport

  • Durable roto-molded one piece body
  • Rigid side walls and flat back for locking in gear
  • Tow rope included
  • Adaptable to snowmobile towing with optional tow bar kit
  • Multiple sizes

Check out our favorite Otter Sport Sled.

2. Shappell Jet Sled – Designed for hole hoppers

Shappell Jet Sleds are the ultimate in simplicity.  When the ice fishing bite requires mobility, this is the sled you need.  With high side walls, it offers the most cargo space for the size.  No need to repack the sled perfectly so everything fits.  Just toss your gear in quick and move from hole to hole while knowing everything is secure.

The uniform polyethylene body handles any abuse active ice anglers can throw its way.  Hole hopping has never been easier.  In addition, the nicely contoured shape allows for easy pulling through snow, slush and ice.  

Multiple sizes are available but the standard Jet Sled comes in at 54” L x 25” W x 10” H and is the perfect size for most “run-and-gun” ice anglers.  

Features we like about the Shappell Jet Sled

  • Robust polyethylene one piece construction
  • Tow rope included
  • Rides well through snow
  • Weighs only 12 pounds
  • Ideal size for hole hopping

Check out our favorite Shappell Jet Sled.

3. Otter Pro Sled – Great for snowmobile explorers

When finding trophy fish through the ice takes you far and wide, snowmobiles are a must.  Matching your snow machine with a sled that can handle speed and distance is key to getting your gear safely on the ice.  

We trust none other than Otter Pro Sleds for snowmobile towing.  An extra thick 5/16” bottom and the insanely durable roto-molded polyethylene construction gives anglers confidence that their expensive ice fishing gear arrives in one piece.

Hitch pockets come pre-molded for installing Otter tow bars.  Plus, the extra reinforced outer lip provides added strength for lashing your gear in place with bungees or rope.  For the ultimate in smooth towing behind a snowmobile, consider getting an Otter Pro and go explore new fishing holes.

Choose from small, medium, magnum or large sizes to suit your needs.  

– Small sled dimensions:  55” L x 27”W x 13” H, (16 pounds)

Medium sled dimensions:  65” L x 32” W x 15” H, (30 pounds)

Magnum sled dimensions:  75” L x 38” W x 15” H, (43 pounds)

Large sled dimensions:  85” L x 44” W x 17” H, (64 pounds)

Features we like about the Otter Pro Sled

  • Extra thick base for long lasting ruggedness
  • Strong outer lip for secure tie-down
  • Dual hitch pockets for worry free towing
  • Excellent design for towing in deep snow
  • Reinforced rails for added rigidity
  • Large sizes for long trips or ice camping

Check out our favorite Otter Pro Sled.

4. Pelican Trek 75 Sled – For ultimate durability

Pelican outdoor gear is some of the toughest and the Pelican Trek 75 sled is no exception.  With its ultra durable, one piece construction, the Trek 75 will handle cold weather extremes like a champ.  You can load this sled with up to 500 pounds of gear and still get an easy glide on the included Hyfax runners.  

The Trek 75 measures 74.5” long by 30.5” wide with impressive 14.75” side walls.  So storing all your gear for a long ice fishing trip won’t be a problem.  At 33 pounds, this large sled is best pulled behind a snowmobile with the Pelican tow bar.  Think about adding a cover as well to protect your ice fishing equipment.

Few sleds stand up to the same level of abuse as the Pelican Trek 75.  Anglers in the off season have hauled firewood, big game animals and landscaping material without damage.  If you want the same durability from a sled that can be pulled by hand consider the Pelican Trek 45.

Regardless of the situation, the Pelican Trek 75 will get your fishing gear on the ice year after year. 

Features we like about the Pelican Trek 75

  • Included Hyfax runners for a smooth ride
  • Durable construction stands up to harsh winter conditions
  • Handles loads up to 500 pounds
  • Easy to strap down gear
  • Super strong integrated hitch attachment
  • Plenty of room for all your ice fishing gear

Check out the Pelican Trek 75 Sled.

5. Smitty Sled – A favorite for do-it-yourselfers

Want the easiest pulling sled all ice anglers will envy?  Then consider a DIY approach and convert your sled into a Smitty Sled.  With some scrap wood, a pair of skis and some basic hardware you can build a Smitty Sled in a single afternoon.

After you construct the basic Smitty Sled frame, simply attach any existing sled, bin or container on top.  We can’t think of a sled design that glides as effortlessly across the lake as this one.  It’s also ideal for pulling across snow covered ice.

There is no limit to the level of customization possible.  Using nothing but your imagination, you can create the ultimate ice fishing Smitty Sled.  If you dread loading up your current sled and sweating your way out to your ice fishing spot, then convert it to a Smitty.  You’ll be glad you did.

Features we like about the Smitty Sled

  • Completely customizable
  • Inexpensive if you find second hand skis and material
  • The easiest pulling sled on hardwater
  • Fun project in the off-season

Want to see how to build your own Smitty sled the easy way. Be sure to check out our complete guide on how to build a Smitty sled. It’s easy and looks cool too! You can also watch two videos on our YouTube Channel showing exactly how we customized the sleds with 7 must-have features!

6. Beavertail Sport Sled – Made for multi-purpose use

The Beavertail Sport Sled is the ultimate in multipurpose use.  Outdoor adventure doesn’t stop when ice fishing season ends after all.  Instead of stowing your sled for 9 months out of the year, put it to good use all year long.  

Whether you love to duck hunt in the fall, work around the house in the spring or camp all summer, the Beavertail Sport is a welcome companion.  No adventure or chore is too much for a Beavertail sled.  Especially since they are held to the same rugged standards as other roto-molded polyethylene sleds. 

Beavertail Sport sleds are made to be hand pulled and are a perfect balance between sturdy construction and light weight portability.  Wide tracks and an aggressive leading edge plow through the snow or any other terrain that’s thrown its way.  

When you need your sled to be more than just an ice fishing sled, go for the Beavertail Sport Sled.

Three sizes are available to fit your particular needs.

– Small sled dimensions:  43” L x 21”W x 9” H, (6 pounds)

Medium sled dimensions:  53” L x 25” W x 10” H, (12.5 pounds)

Large sled dimensions:  64” L x 29” W x 11” H, (17 pounds)

Features we like about the Beavertail Sport Sled

  • Among the lightest ice fishing sleds available
  • Rigid enough to handle ice fishing extremes
  • Marsh brown color for fall hunting use
  • Tow rope included
  • Great for summer camping and yard work
  • Smooth pulling and multiple sizes available

Check out our favorite Beavertail Sport Sled.

7. Plasgad Large Mixing Sled – Perfect for thrifty budgets

One thing most ice fishing sleds have in common is their price tag.  You will be hard pressed to find a quality sled for under $50 and most are closer to $100.  When all you need is a simple way to get your gear out on the ice for cheap, nothing beats the Plasgad large mixing tubs from HomeDepot.

This multipurpose construction/mixing tub was our first ice fishing sled and it worked great.  Not to mention, it cost under $15 which proves even anglers on a budget can get all their gear on the ice with ease.  You won’t find sled runners or a steep leading edge designed for snow.  However, the wide base and smooth bottom pulls over ice, slush and snow without much effort.  

It’s PVC construction holds up to extreme cold fairly well.  Plus, this is the perfect cargo component for any ice angler looking to make their own Smitty Sled.  We also love the imprinted ruler along the edge for quickly measuring fish.  Although, you’ll need to supply your own tow rope.  But don’t worry, there is a predrilled hole perfect for attaching it.

The Plasgad sled is best for ice anglers who pack light since it is the smallest sled on the list.  At 33” long by 21” wide and 8” deep, it won’t work for gear junkies.  Look no further if all you need is a quick and inexpensive sled for ice fishing.

Features we like about the Plasgad Mixing Sled

  • Super cheap alternative to expensive ice sleds
  • Great for occasional ice anglers
  • Ideal for Smitty sled construction
  • Durable PVC construction handles all but the coldest temperatures 
  • Measuring ruler on the edges in both inches and centimeters

Check out the Plasgad Mixing Sled.

How to pick the perfect sled for ice fishing

Now that you have seen our list of the best ice fishing sleds out there, how do you pick one?  There are several important things to consider before buying your next sled.

Do you like to stay on the move?  Are you able to pull heavy loads?  How much space do you have in your vehicle for transporting a sled?  

All these questions and more need to be addressed before you click “buy” so read on to see what features need considering.

  • Ice sled size:  It’s really not a good idea to buy the biggest sled available unless you actually need to pack huge amounts of gear.  Remember, you still need to be able to pull it through snow and uneven terrain.  Working up a sweat to get out on the ice is not good so choose a sled that balances weight with capacity.  And only fill it with the gear you use. 
  • Towing:  If there is a chance you’ll one day tow a sled behind your snowmobile, get a sled with hitch pockets.  
  • Durability:  Sleds are not cheap so getting one that lasts for years is a must.  As long as the sled you pick doesn’t get brittle in the cold and has a thick bottom, it will last many ice fishing seasons.  Sleds made of polyethylene are the most durable and easiest to pull.
  • Vehicle transport:  There is nothing worse than buying a new sled only to find it doesn’t fit in your vehicle.  Some of the largest sleds are over 6 feet long.  That might be too big for a small SUV or short-bed truck.  Measure before you buy. 

Top tips for customizing your ice sled

Ice fishing sleds are essential for most anglers and getting the best sled for the money is a worthwhile endeavor.  We are confident that the sleds on this list will work for any situation as is.  Even so, customizing your ice sled with covers, runners, rod holders and buckets is half the fun.

Here are our top tips to help you customize your ice fishing sled:

  1. Add rod holders:  This is one of the easiest upgrades.  Sleds with a vertical back wall easily allow a rod holder like this one from Amazon to bolt on.   
  1. Improve the tow rope:  Using just a thin loop of rope to haul a heavy sled is hard on the hands.  Consider adding a Clam Sled Pulling Harness to make the job easier.
  1. Buy a cover:  A cover for your loaded sled is a lifesaver when the weather turns nasty.  All that ice fishing equipment isn’t cheap so keep it protected from the elements.  It also helps keep your gear inside the sled as you pull it. 
  1. Make it glide:  Not all sleds are created equal when it comes to smooth pulling.  Well designed runners and tracks reduce sled friction on ice and snow.  If your sled is a challenge to pull, try adding a Hyfax runner kit from Amazon.  They are not cheap but then again, how much would you pay to avoid aching muscles? 
  1. Integrate a seat:  A good seat goes a long ways towards all day comfort.  Plenty of ingenious ice anglers have fashioned seats with a backrest right into the sled.  Now that’s my kind of fishing!
  1. Add lights:  LED strip lights are cheap and easy to install.  When fishing keeps you on the ice late, lights on your sled can come in handy.  Not to mention, you can tap into the battery powering your fish finder.

Want to get the most out of your ice fishing season? Check out our Washington State Ice Fishing Secrets book. Our book highlights the 10 best lakes for ice fishing in Washington State with actual coordinates to some of our most productive holes. Plus, we thoroughly cover everything from gear selection, tactics and travel planning. To top it off, you also get information on 41 other lakes with superb ice fishing! Check it out before ice fishing season passes you by!