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Ask a trooper: Should ice houses be registered as trailers?

Jesse Grabow - Minnesota State Trooper

Question: I put permanent wheels on my ice fishing house for easier transport. My buddy told me I now have to register it as a trailer. I think he is wrong because I see these going down the road all the time, and I guess I don’t notice registration. What is required?

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Answer: Your friend is correct. Fish houses on wheels are now considered trailers and must be registered as such. This is a recent decision within the past few years, and we have been trying to get the word out there as much as possible.

Just a few short years ago, officials from Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS), the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) met together and determined that a fish house on wheels does in fact meet the requirements of a trailer.

It must be registered as such, as well as comply with all of the normal laws concerning trailers, such as lights, wheel fenders, brakes if more than 3,000 pounds, and safety chains, including size (height and weight) limits.

Also, DVS has notified dealers that fish houses on wheels are considered trailers. Anyone in the business of selling them has to have the appropriate dealer’s license.

Registration is required for enclosed trailers with cargo doors that haul all-terrain vehicles or other cargo, and are used as a fish house; other trailers manufactured for use as a fish house; and recreational trailers used seasonally as a fish house.

These vehicles must be registered in one of the trailer classes. Recreational trailers must be registered in the recreational class.

Keep in mind the trailer registration requirement is separate from any fish house license that DNR may require.

It is very possible that someone who has a fish house on wheels will not only need to have the trailer registration from DVS, but also a fish house license from DNR.

For questions about the DNR registration aspects for fish houses, contact DNR at (651) 296-6157 or 1-888-646-6367. You also can e-mail DNR at

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.

Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at jesse.grabow@