A Complete Buyer’s Guide to Ice Fishing Side-by-Sides

UTV driving in snow, winter kitted with windshield and cabin cover

With the introduction of UTVs, ice fishing activities have become more popular than before and less troublesome. While riding a UTV is always fun in itself, when it gets combined with winter air to catch fish, the experience gets even more amazing. 

Because ice fishing requires long-distance traveling and lots of equipment, having the best SXS ice fishing vehicle is crucial. If you love ice fishing activities, you would want to share the experience by taking another person with you. So, continue reading the post to know more about the best UTVs for ice fishing and many more.

Top UTVs for ice fishing

Some parts of the globe that have ice and snow almost all year round have different kinds of people living there. Besides, those places have unique activities and sports that can’t be carried out in other regions. Ice fishing is one of the most popular activities and it has been there for many decades.

Powerful, reliable, and speedy, a UTV is the right tool to get work done on any kind of property. However, they are not far behind when it comes to performing on ice as well. UTVs are becoming popular with people who like different types of activities on ice, especially ice fishing. Check out some of the best UTVs that can help you out on the ice.

ModelTowing capacityEngine powerGround clearanceApprox. price
Kubota RTV X1100C130 lb.24.8 HP10.4-inches$21,000
Polaris Ranger 10002500 lb.61 HP12.5-inches$13,300
Honda Pioneer 10002000 lb.72 HP12.7-inches$16,700
Can-Am Defender3000 lb.38 to 82 HP13-inchse$11,700 – $33,200

1. Kubota RTV X1100C

If you are looking for luxury and functionality in a UTV, the Kubota RTV X1100C should be the right choice for you. This UTV comes with a climate-controlled cab along with an array of intuitive features such as 4-wheel drive and variable hydro transmission or VHT-X.

Besides, this UTV comes with a three-cylinder diesel engine and a two-year warranty. The RTV 1100C can take on any kind of task, even ice fishing. When it comes to the reliability of the vehicle on ice, the combination of comfort and performance that the RTV 1100C offers is unmatched compared to other UTVs. 

Moreover, its great power, immense ability to haul and tow and all-weather cabin make this UTV capable of taking on any task regardless of the environment. No doubt, it is a go-to machine when riding on the ice. All these features make it the perfect ice fishing SXS to make your weekends and getaways better. 

2. Polaris Ranger 1000

The name Polaris is synonymous with power sports and associated with off-roading. And, the Ranger 1000 features the most desirable features that you may want from a UTV at an affordable price. The Ranger 100 comes in a variety of configurations.

So, make sure that you choose the one that has the features you need. But it has plenty of features that you can expect from a high-end UTV. Besides, it has great storage and capacity space which makes it the first choice for many buyers.

There is no question that the Ranger 1000 should be on your list when you are looking for the best UTV for ice fishing. This is one of the best UTVs that work wonders and you don’t even have to break your bank. This performance of this side by side is worth mentioning and it works fantastic on the ice as well.

3. Honda Pioneer 1000

If you have been looking for an all-around UTV that’s popular for its versatility and reliability, look no further. That’s because Honda Pioneer 1000 is the one you have been looking for. With an amazing speed of about 67 miles per hour, the Honda Pioneer 1000 is counted as one of the best SXS you can have.

Apart from that, the ground clearance of 12.7-inches is amazing in this UTV. Also, the 2000 pounds towing capacity allow this vehicle to live up to its name. Although the Pioneer 1000 can accommodate five passengers in it, you can remove the lower seats and turn it into a cargo bed.

Honda UTVs are known for their less maintenance and oil changes and the Pioneer 1000 is no different. With plenty of room to haul all your ice fishing gear and a spacious interior, the Honda Pioneer 1000 is another UTV that you can choose to buy. 

4. Can-Am Defender

The Can-Am Defender has so many different options that set it apart from the rest when it comes to variations. That way, you can find the right one that suits your needs. The transmission has a quick response mechanism that gives you the perfect traction when you are on slippery tracks like the ice.

It delivers torque and power even when you are running the vehicle at lower RPM. Besides, there is plenty of space in the cab so that you can take your partner ice fishing with ease. The sway bars on each side of the vehicle provide a smoother ride and the 13-inch ground clearance gets you over most obstacles.

Moreover, the Can-Am Defender is perfect to install all kinds of accessories that are helpful when you are out on the ice. This 4×4 beast work wonders when it comes to handling and traction. The Defender might be your preferred choice because it comes with lots of features and over 15 variations. 

Important accessories and setups for your UTV

Getting your preferred UTV for ice fishing is like half job done. There is no fun without the right kind of accessories or setups that makes your UTV fully equipped for an adventurous trip. Here are some of the most important ones that are necessary.

1. Rhino Box

Quite different from sturdy plastic cargo boxes, the Rhino Box is an intuitive modular system box specifically designed for ice fishing purposes. You can attach many ice fishing accessories such as a rod case, bucket holder, auger protection tube, and extra gas tank. 

2. Auger mount

This one is a no-brainer because without it no setup would be complete. So, look out for something sturdy because the cheaper options will break after some time after regular use. Because motorised ice augers are heavy, you need to have a strong mount. 

3. Front basket

Install a robust front basket in front of your UTVs cargo rack to carry lots of gear. Strong plastic or metal baskets are the best because they have impact-resistant capabilities. Besides, you can install both an ice auger mount and a front basket if you plan properly. Also, look out for a basket that can hold at least three buckets. 

4. Rear cargo basket

Similar to the front one, you can opt for a rear cargo basket if you prefer to have an easily accessible solution rather than having a closed box. It will be a good spot for a couple of buckets, a heater, a propane tank, and other miscellaneous gear. 

5. Windshield

When you install a windshield on your side by side, it makes the ride more enjoyable as possible. Even if you are wearing lots of clothing the sub-zero temperatures is uncomfortably cold and might result in nasty frostbite on your cheeks and nose. Installed within minutes, a windshield improves the comfort aspect of the ride especially when you are on the ice.

6. Flotation device

Having some sort of flotation device is a must when you go ice fishing on frozen lakes. And, it is even required by law in some regions. When emergency strikes, having the device will keep you afloat and help your body from getting paralyzed. 

7. Studded tires

While adding chains to the tires is favored by many, adding studs might be the best solution. It helps the UTV gain excellent traction on the ice. 

8. GPS

Apart from keeping you on the right track so that you can reach home in bad weather, GPS serves more purposes like saving your favorite fishing spots. 

What to consider before buying a UTV for ice fishing

Buying the best UTV for ice fishing isn’t a big deal when you know what to look for. Although it can take a lot of research to find the right one, if you have a good understanding of the features and specifications, it helps you find the one in less time.

However, the process could be overwhelming and you are here because you are curious and for good reasons. With plenty of information on the internet, you have to find a credible and reputable source to make an informed decision. Hence, if you want the best products, research is the only key.

To make things easy for you, here are some factors that you should consider before buying a UTV best for ice fishing. 

1. Manufacturer

Your journey to find out the best SXS ice fishing becomes easy if you know the topmost brands. There is no denying that well-reputed UTV manufacturers will produce high-quality vehicles that might be expensive but worth your investment. 

Besides, you can trust in the durability and quality of their UTVs. Most consumers love popular brands because they offer long life and great quality. Only the best UTV manufacturers know that they didn’t become famous overnight. And, they make quality products to retain a good impression. 

The best UTVs featured in the list above are all reputed manufacturers and they produce great UTVs that stand out from the rest. So, look out for the features that you want and proceed on to buy any one of them.

2. Features

Because there is a difference between riding on ice and over tough terrain isn’t the same, you should look out for certain features in the UTV that are important to you. While some features are necessary, others won’t help much. Again, it is personal preferences that count more.

Hence, choose the UTV that has features suitable for riding on snow. Moreover, safety considerations should be your topmost priority when you go ice fishing. The last thing you want is to sleep with fishes that you intended to catch. 

Certain features such as fuel tank capacity, the overall weight of the UTV along with the passengers, cargo space for camping gear and extra fuel, etc. are important features that you should know about the UTV you are buying. 

3. Pricing

Like other products, pricing can vary a lot depending on the brand, flexibility, durability, and other specific features. In general, you can find a UTV that comes with all the essential features at a standard price tag. 

However, you may get confused by the difference in pricing of some of the best UTVs mentioned in this post. But you don’t have to worry because all of them come from reputed companies and are recognized all over the world. In a nutshell, you should focus more on the features rather than on its pricing.

4. Number of people it can carry

So, how many people are you planning to bring with you for your upcoming ice fishing trip? In general, an UTV can hold 3 to 4 people with ease. But when you are riding onto the ice, things are a bit different. The thickness of the ice is an important consideration. 

When you are riding a four-seater Ranger with a 200-pound person in each seat and along with essential gear in the cargo space, you have to worry if the ice thickness is less than 7-inches. Hence, the number of people in a UTV doesn’t matter. What is important is the thickness of the ice in the area that you intend to ride. 

5. Useful accessories

Certain UTV ice fishing accessories make your adventure more comfortable. Other than adding tracks that provide you with the right traction, you should have certain accessories that keep you from both freezing and sinking. 

Cab heater, extra roof, rear windshield, full doors, flotation, and many more helps you stay safe and improve your riding experience to a great extent. However, the accessories mentioned in this post are worth checking. These are all useful items that make your ice fishing experience a memorable one.