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Ask a Trooper: Ice houses on wheels

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News Two Harbors, 55616
Lake County News Chronicle
(218) 834-2144 customer support
Two Harbors Minnesota 109 Waterfront Dr. 55616

Question: One of my friends saw me getting my ice fishing house ready for the upcoming season. I put permanent wheels on it 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 things going down the road all the time, and I guess I haven't noticed registration. What is required anyway, and is my friend right? Thanks for any help.

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Answer: Your friend is correct. Fish houses on wheels are now considered trailers and must be registered as such. This decision was made within the past few years and we have been trying to get the word out about it.

Just a few short years ago, officials from Driver and Vehicle Services, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources met and determined that a fish house on wheels does in fact meet the requirements of a trailer and must be registered. It must also comply with all of the normal laws concerning trailers -- lights, wheel fenders, brakes if over 3000 pound safety chains, and 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 also used as a fish house; other trailers manufactured for use as a fish house; 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 that 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, please contact DNR at (651) 296-6157 or (888) 646-6367. You also can email DNR at info@dnr.state.mn.us.

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