RetroWON: Build a DIY Ice Fishing Shelter on a Budget

Keeping warm while ice fishing is next to impossible on some days, unless you have a good shelter. Many “pop-up” tent style shelters are available on the market, all of which have hefty price tags, but none equal the comfort of a home-built wooden shelter. The keys to keeping warm on the ice are getting your feet off the ice, getting out of the wind on sunny days, and using a portable heater on cold, windy, overcast days.

ice-shanty-header-shelter Ice Fishing Shelter

In this article, we’ll show you how to build a light wooden shelter that will comfortably hold 2–3 anglers, that can function as a lean-to on sunny days, and that can close up tight on bitter cold days. This shelter uses an exoskeleton-style frame to give you more room on the inside and provide a smooth, snag-free interior for winter clothing.

Materials (note that lumber prices vary regionally and seasonally):

  • 25 2’ x 4’ x 8’ boards (for the framing)
  • 1 piece of thick 4’ x 8’ plywood for the floor (no thinner than 15/32)
  • 6 sheets of 2.7mm 4’ x 8’ utility panels (for the doors, sides, and roof)
  • 1 box of deck screws (I used a 1-pound box of #9 x 2½” T-25s)
  • 1 box of small finishing nails (to hang the utility panels)
  • 1 bottle of good wood glue
  • 4 hinges



  • Hammer
  • Saw (whichever kind you own)
  • Screw gun
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Protractor

This is a straightforward build that requires no special tools beyond what most people own already. The only complicated tool you’ll need is the protractor since you need a 26.5° angle for your roof pitch.

Interested in the rest of the directions on how to build the best $150 ice shelter ever?

All the materials, tools, and instructions with illustrations can be found at

This Retro WON was first published on February 3, 2017.

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