Nothing is more abusive to ice fishing gear than big water. The conditions faced on big water environments, such as Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg or the Great Lakes, can tear apart even the toughest plastic gear sleds in no time. Rough terrain, ice chunks and pressure ridges, combined with the sheer distances traveled on these massive bodies of water, can even wear through the bottoms of the sleds with hyfax runners installed! Not to mention the abuse that these sleds take when they are weighted down with all of the gear necessary for a full day or multiple days out on the ice.
Eskimo Ice Fishing Gear, a pioneer in the design of innovative ice fishing equipment, has developed the first of its kind big water gear hauler. The Lake Runner is by design, built to take the beating that these harsh environments can dish out and keep coming back strong. What’s more, this versatile gear hauler is one piece of equipment that soon finds its home in more places than just the ice.
Today’s run and gun approach to ice angling creates even more need for a fast and durable way to move gear around from area to area throughout the day. Having fished the frozen expanses of Lake Winnipeg in search of trophy greenback walleyes for a number of years we quickly learned that a gear hauler is not simply used to carry equipment from the landing to a fishing spot. Rather, it is a “Boat on Ice” for the serious, hard water angler. Often times covering 10-20 square miles of ice in a day, and drilling 50+ holes in that area searching for active fish, it was not uncommon to bring home a plastic sled with holes worn through the bottom, or cracks in the body of the tub.
The Lake Runner takes the “Boat on Ice” concept to the next level. Built for speed, it can easily track behind a sled at 50-60 miles per hour when running from one area of the lake to another. These long runs are often necessary where access is limited to the areas where fishing is targeted. For instance, anglers staying near the mouth of the Rainy River, near Baudette, MN on Lake of the Woods often times make the nearly 40-mile run up into the NW Angle to fish the islands and reefs that are loaded with walleye, crappie and perch during the hard water season. Lifting the tub off of the ground by 6” the Lake Runner’s design creates much less resistance, all but eliminating “plowing” through deep snow. The skis provide great stability and tracking when running at higher speeds. This unit is virtually impossible to tip over, at any speed, when loaded properly.
Built for durability, with a frame and skis made of high strength steel this is not a toy. Locked into the travel position it boasts a carrying capacity of 900 pounds! This is more than enough for even the most heavily packed angler to bring everything that he can fit into the tub for an excursion out on the ice. It also lends itself to the versatility mentioned earlier. Many individuals have extended the practical uses of this heavy-duty hauler to late season hunts and hauling a trophy buck out from deep in cover, hauling firewood into a north woods cabin, or packing camping gear into a remote winter camp.
Back to the big water ice, the Lake Runner is built with the same tub used as a base for the Eskimo FlipMo 2 Inferno flip over style shelter. This feature allows it to be mounted to the Lake Runner and become an integral part of the “Boat on Ice”. By quickly pulling two pins, the unique design of the Lake Runner allows the tub to be dropped down onto the ice, and the flip over shelter set up in a matter of seconds, making it the perfect combination for the “Running and Gunning” technique on blustery, sub-zero days. The ability to quickly move from place to place in search of active fish, and then set up to get out of the elements, further facilitates the ability to stay out longer and cover more ice, a key in landing that trophy, or filling out a limit of eaters for the frying pan.
A word of caution, when packing your gear into the Lake Runner, or any gear hauler sled, always take the time to secure your gear in a way that is safe and easy to access. One piece of loose equipment, such as a propane tank, or ice auger, can act like a bowling ball in a roll-over bus; with something inevitably getting broken! In the rush to cover more ice, and try another perspective spot, many anglers forget to securely pack away their gear. It may not be the long run that gets them in the end, but rather the short hops from spot to spot that cause the most damage.
Designed with the big water in mind, the Lake Runner is just as functional on small bodies of water, whether it is a local lake or a remote access pond, the Lake Runner will get your gear there.