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Buying An ATV for Ice Fishing

  • crappie55369
    Participant
    Mound, MN
    Posts: 4672
    #1503834

    looking to buy an atv to be used for ice fishing towing an otter and all my gear. Also will use it whitetail hunting and just tooling around the hunting shack. whats the lowest CC i can get away with to accomplish my needs? I really like the yamaha grizzly’s but at a sticket price of 8500$ new im considering my other options. i see lots of 400cc and lower that are more around the 3k mark, would this work for my needs? hell i even if i looked stupid i would ride one of the youth atv’s for 800$ new if it would do the job. Ive driven 4wheelers but never owned one or spent much time researching them until now so i could use some advice.

    Kurt Turner
    Participant
    Kasson, MN
    Posts: 510
    #1503845

    Polaris Sportsman 400 HO. Largest 400 in it’s class. I don’t remember the exact specs but something like 488 cc under the label of a 400.

    When I was shopping the used market took a while to find but you will find some very lightly used 400’s seeing how they are an ideal size for the ladies or first timers. Many of those folks find out it isn’t for them so low miles and low price.

    Good luck. Enjoy the shopping because once it comes home the maintenance, license and most fun part, accessorizing, begins…. Great tool that really offloads the work aspect of ice fishing.

    Time is your friend. The longer you have to look the better the odds you’ll find a slightly used, low price point unit.

    Andy Fiolka
    Participant
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts: 541
    #1503847

    A 400cc machine works just fine for ice fishing. The only issue would be running tracks.

    I have a Suzuki King Quad 400 4×4 I bought new for this season. Price out the door was right at 5 grand. It’s EFI, efficient, and runs as smooth as any out there. I tow my Otter XT1200 Cabin loaded with gear all over with zero power issues. If I have multiple people along or lots of gear, I just hook the trailer on the thing and go out like that.

    Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that 400cc/500cc machines were the big bore units.

    The best bang for the buck on the market right now is probably the Polaris Sportsman 570 EFI. That unit is widely available for between 5-6 grand new. I have no beef with Polaris, just always preferred the Jap bikes.

    crappie55369
    Participant
    Mound, MN
    Posts: 4672
    #1503848

    so kurt a 400 would work just fine and accomplish what i need for ice fishing? if so that would be great cause i dont need to be the fastest guy on a quad i just want a tool that gets the job done and a 400 would cost considerably less than the grizzly 700’s ive been looking at

    JoeMX1825
    Participant
    MN
    Posts: 7814
    #1503854

    if you plan on running bigger tires or tracks as mentioned, you’ll want the bigger cc engine. New Grizzly’s are pricey, but you can find 2009 or newer for much much less and yamaha changed hardly anything since the 2009 model year so it’s not like you gain anything feature wise buying brand new… I have a 2009 700 and love it.. yes a 550 will be more than enough, but come resell time, everybody wants the 700….

    Randy Wieland
    Participant
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 12855
    #1503855

    I agree with Andy on the 400 as good/minimal. I run an Articat 500 and pull my 6×10 trailer and it has plenty of power. Plus, I use it for farm use pulling logs, hay wagon, plow snow… On the open road it hits low 50’s so plenty fast enough.

    I think where you want to spend money on though is 4wd. I run into a lot of conditions where 2wd just doesn’t make it and the 4wd will walk me through. I still see guys with smaller machines on the ice, and often they are pounding the snot out of them when there is a few inches of snow.

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 16342
    #1503861

    So your saying you GOT the Otter? Did you watch all the Friends episodes? )

    Francis K
    Participant
    Champlin, MN
    Posts: 808
    #1503867

    The Polaris 400 is 455CC. The 400’s will work fine for icefishing with lots of extra power remaining. That machine will top out at about 50-55 MPH just to give you an idea.

    I recently purchased my second Sportsman 500. I took my time and waited for the right one to come up. I wasn’t going to “settle” for one that was close enough and looked at a couple that I walked away from. Once I saw the one I purchased I knew it was right. Point is to take your time in choosing one.

    Good luck.

    Andy Fiolka
    Participant
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts: 541
    #1503869

    Dealers are the ones telling you that you need a 700+ size ATV or your re-sale will suffer. This is just not true at all. Some of the most sought after used units are Honda Ranchers and Suzuki Eigers, both 350-400cc sized machines.

    Keep them nice, clean, stay up on maintenance, and you’ll always have a buyer when it’s time to upgrade.

    dbright
    Participant
    Cambridge
    Posts: 1562
    #1503874

    A old Honda 300 or 350 rancher would both do everything you need for ice fishing.

    mxskeeter
    Participant
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts: 3500
    #1503881

    Find a good used Honda Rancher 4×4 or an older Foreman 400 or 450 4×4 and it will last you forever if it is taken care of and not abused. Have had 3 of the Honda’s and they would all pull a 6 x 12 trailer with gear and 3 or 4 guys in it. Just don’t go too fast on the ice because they don’t stop on a dime when hauling that much weight behind you.

    icenutz
    Participant
    Aniwa, WI
    Posts: 2510
    #1503895

    I picked up a 1997 Yamaha Big Bear 350 this fall, with front/rear racks, chains, extra set of like new tires, 5 ft. plow with a winch, windshield, for $1500. The owner is a mechanic for Skidoo and works on sleds and Atvs, so this thing was in pristine shape. No cracked or faded plastic, all breaks, cables, and cv joints replaced, new rear shock, good tires, I almost felt bad buying it at such a good deal.

    So far it has started and ran like a champ, has all the power I need to carry 2 people and pull my Otter T600 Lodge loaded with gear. I will have to post some pics.

    castle-rock-clown
    Participant
    Posts: 2528
    #1503899

    I bet for a couple seasons of sex in the city, that 700 grizzly just might show up.

    Seriously though my 550 griz pulls my fish house at 2000lbs all over the lake. A 400 will haul your described setup just fine.

    Chuck Melcher
    Participant
    SE Wisconsin, Racine County
    Posts: 1868
    #1503909

    I have a smaller 400 or 450 Yamaha…. does everything plus I need it for. Not the most ground clearance and such, but I avoid dumb situations and it is all good. I specifically did not go bigger, as the width of this fits between my wheel wells in the truck. I can close the tailgate if I want, or leave it down, and put the shanty on it to avoid a trailer.

    crappie55369
    Participant
    Mound, MN
    Posts: 4672
    #1503914

    Lol no Suzuki I don’t have the otter yet. This atv idea is more of a plan for next year when I do plan to have the otter. Thanks guys for all the replies I have more than enough information to make a good decision now. I’m glad I asked. One more thought, is there a better time to buy? For example I know with cars usually you can better deals in November and sometimes around February when they are looking to push out the remaining models to make way for the new. castle I’ll have to check and see if the old lady likes sex in the city. I don’t know if I could look at Sarah Jessica parkers horse face for that long but it might be worth a grizz. Thanks again guys for all of the replies

    Timmy
    Participant
    Posts: 1001
    #1503916

    I have an 03 kodiak 400…. It is perfect for me. Actually, I prefer it over the bigger 700+cc machines due to physical size. I find mine much more maneuverable in the woods and in the garage than one of those monster machines. Aside froma resale value, I would not trade it for a 800……..gas consumption is a definite plus!

    Looking around craigslist, you should be able to find a gently used machine for a relative bargain compared to the cost of a new rig….. Patience is key!!

    Eelpoutguy
    Participant
    Farmington, Outing
    Posts: 7336
    #1503929

    GRIZZLY. There is no substitute!

    Attachments:
    1. 1-21-2015-330.jpg

    zubba
    Participant
    potosi,wi
    Posts: 64
    #1503934

    also those big machines rely on battery only to start (I have bad luck with batteries)where as the smaller machines are pull rope or kick start back up. My rope on my foreman 450 saved me on a trip where it was snowy, windy, cold
    and the machine sat a while the electric start froze, 2 pulls later I was on my way. It is electronic 4 wheel drive so dead battery no 4 wheel but it will still run in 2wd.

    bigstorm
    Participant
    Southern WI
    Posts: 956
    #1503986

    Have you considered a used ATV? Fall 2014 I picked up a 2004 Grizzly 660 for $3100, it only needed tires and has worked great so far. Its not EFI but it still works great on the cold days, you just need to let it warm up.

    rjthehunter
    Participant
    Brainerd
    Posts: 1103
    #1503987

    Definitely look on craigslist, everyone has a buddy who’s mechanically inclined if you aren’t and all ya gotta do is bring him with and have him look at it and test run it and you try it and they’ll tell you what they think! I always bring a mechanic or a buddy who knows his stuff if I’m buying any form of an engine!

    crappie55369
    Participant
    Mound, MN
    Posts: 4672
    #1503995

    thanks guys. ill definitely look at some used ones too. ive spent the last 3 days doing that actually. some of the issue i have with used is the value doesnt seem to go down all that much. im finding a lot of used ones that are 5+ years old with anywhere from 1500-8000 miles and lots of hours and the prices on these are sometimes only 1500-2500 cheaper than a new one. if im only saving 1500$ and that gets me a 5 year old rig id rather buy new but as you guys say be patient and you can find a good deal im sure. im an avid craigslister but my specialty is finding good used cars. i dont know much about atvs but im sure i know someone that does

    mxskeeter
    Participant
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts: 3500
    #1504015

    A good used machine sells fast so be ready to pull the trigger if one becomes available. I think machines are a little higher in price just before hunting season. Lots of guys wanting one then.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9323
    #1504017

    A 400-500 is plenty. I have a Polaris 500 and I work up food plots with a 300 pound disc harrow. I’ve also used it to drag logs that weigh much more than that.

    Don’t fall for the stupid “bigger is better” mentality. Bigger in an ATV just guzzles more fuel and is harder to handle. And good luck if you ever get a 700 CC machine stuck, hope you’ve got a long winch cable or a helicopter because you’re gonna be there for a long time.

    Keep in mind with a new machine there’s tax, license, dealer prep, etc, so you’re adding on 8-9% depending on where you’re buying it.

    I had a similar question to you as far as how many miles is a lot on a wheeler. Answer I got consistently was that there are guys running machines with 10k+. Keep up on maintainance and fix stuff if it breaks and the machines keep on rolling.

    Grouse

    rjthehunter
    Participant
    Brainerd
    Posts: 1103
    #1504031

    thanks guys. ill definitely look at some used ones too. ive spent the last 3 days doing that actually. some of the issue i have with used is the value doesnt seem to go down all that much. im finding a lot of used ones that are 5+ years old with anywhere from 1500-8000 miles and lots of hours and the prices on these are sometimes only 1500-2500 cheaper than a new one. if im only saving 1500$ and that gets me a 5 year old rig id rather buy new but as you guys say be patient and you can find a good deal im sure. im an avid craigslister but my specialty is finding good used cars. i dont know much about atvs but im sure i know someone that does

    Yeah, unfortunately a lot of people think their rig is worth way more than it really is… If you decide to look at one, (I’m sure you already know this) Look for flaws. Look at the good and fall in love with it then look at all the flaws in it and point them all out to the seller. If you can get a good group of problems with it, high miles, urine beat out of it, broken anything, you can use it all against them in talking them down in price. They usually will post it high expecting a talking down but point out the problems and make them realize what it’s really worth! Especially if it needs work, make up numbers and mentally add up the cost of work if it needs any. Penny and dime them down till you find a comfortable price that you’d be willing to pay for it and offer them that. I’ve bought a lot of stuff of craigslist and all I have for you is to POINT OUT THE FLAWS! I don’t know if any of that made sense but, Good luck in finding a good deal!

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Holmen, WI
    Posts: 0
    #1504060

    Icenutz- that is the exact rig I bought this year for ice fishing. It definitely has plenty of power for ice fishing applications.

    icenutz
    Participant
    Aniwa, WI
    Posts: 2510
    #1504061

    Icenutz- that is the exact rig I bought this year for ice fishing. It definitely has plenty of power for ice fishing applications.

    Mike,

    It has taken me to you know where and back this year without a problem. As others have said it does have a pull start as a backup if needed. Chains are a must have.

    To me if you can find a decent used machine that is the way to go, but they do go quick. I had 3 guys in line behind me.

    bowtecmike
    Participant
    Zimmerman mn
    Posts: 467
    #1504087

    I’ve owned around 10 ATVs several Suzukis one kawasaki 750 2 Polaris and 2 can am outlanders I can tell you without a doubt 400cc is plenty to go out fishing if you get stuck with that machine then it’s time for a sled. I currently own a can am 800 but I’ve owned a 400 as well in many brands including the kawasaki Prarie 360 and sucks eiger 400 and Polaris 400 and from my experience I can tell you without a doubt can am has been my best machines for power performance, ride comfort, durability, etc. They do cost a little more but you def. Get what you pay for. Look at unbiased atv magazines that do head to head comparisons can am is #1 in every class everytime. I will say I have never owned a bad 4 wheeler of any brand the biggest 8 sue you find is if you buy used make sure it hasn’t been beat to hell by previous owner. That’s my 2 cents good luck. Have any questions feel free to PM me.

    JoeMX1825
    Participant
    MN
    Posts: 7814
    #1504135

    Another thing to think about is Power Steering, this makes a huge difference on a quad…Maybe they started making EPS an option on newer smaller CC quads, but it used to only be an option for 500+ CC quads (Grizzly offers EPS on the 450, 550 & 700)…If your patient, you’ll find a good deal, but yes be ready to quickly jump on it because good deals go fast. Took me almost a year to find what I was looking for and I ended up getting a 700 for the same price as a 550, there’s no weight difference and mpg savings was pretty much a non issue.. It’s nice to know I always have more power in reserve if needed with the 700…

    I can only speak to Yamaha Grizzly quads, but in terms of vehicle weight and overall size, yamaha’s smallest model is the 350 and it weighs 568 pounds, their 450 weighs 606 pounds, the 550 & 700 both weigh the same at 648 lbs, the vehicle size from a 350 to a 700 is an inch or 2 in length, width, height, that’s it! The size/weight argument is absolutely minimal and you have a winch to get you “unstuck”

    Attachments:
    1. Ice-Setup1.jpg

    Will Roseberg
    Moderator
    Hanover, MN
    Posts: 2121
    #1504168

    Find a good used Honda Rancher 4×4 or an older Foreman 400 or 450 4×4 and it will last you forever if it is taken care of and not abused. Have had 3 of the Honda’s and they would all pull a 6 x 12 trailer with gear and 3 or 4 guys in it. Just don’t go too fast on the ice because they don’t stop on a dime when hauling that much weight behind you.

    I have two Hondas (350 Rancher and 450 Foreman) and I was able to pick up both of them used in good condition for under $2500. My friends who own much more expensive machines have all ended up spending more money in maintenance over the years than I spent on the whole ATV… Other than regular oil/filter changes the only maintenance I’ve had to do were new tires and a wheel bearing. I actually prefer the smaller ATVs because they are very easy for me to deal with if I ever get stuck fishing by myself.

    TheguN
    Participant
    Posts: 46
    #1504196

    http://rmn.craigslist.org/snd/4830135931.html

    looks like right now would be a good time to buy..

    these are not the fastest rigs but they are tuff.. ive owned and destroyed several toher atv but my old honda had been cabled to trees during floods two time so as it wouldnt get swept away. rolled crashed beat to hell and she still runs like new 14 years later.. pulls my wheel house out. and really I have never found anything it couldnt pull.. on trail rides you wont get stuck like the bigger rigs. you can float across a lot they will sink into. they might get there first but who cares.. price is right on these, they pull whatever you need, and they last!

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