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Ice Fishing Sled Ideas: Modifications to Improve Space, Organization, and Security

Icemen are a special breed for whom even the best sleds just aren’t good enough. 

From the need to keep their gear covered and secure to customized organization, they demand what they need and won't settle for anything less.

And the good news is that they’re more than willing to share their fishing sled ideas, offering a wealth of options that can help you refine your own.

If you’re looking for sled ideas, we’re here to help, so keep reading!

Related: Smitty Ice Fishing Sled Plans

Ice Fishing Sled Ideas

Expanding a small sled

If you own a small sled, chances are, you might love a little more room for gear. 

That’s more than possible, especially if you think outside the box - literally!

Attaching rod holders, bucket racks, and custom gear organizers can expand the capacity of your sled, giving you more space and a customized layout that’s all your own.

rear mounted bucket holders on ice fishing sled

Rear-mounted bucket holders really increase space in a small sled.

One idea that I really like is mounting feed bucket holders to the rear of my sled. Pick up a few shelf mounting brackets, a length of unistrut, drill a few holes, and you’re in business!

bucket holder

bucket holder bracket

Even just a few pieces of 4-inch diameter PVC and some caps can be easily screwed to the side of your sled, giving you a place to store tip ups, ice fishing rods, and other vital gear without taking up space inside your sled.

pvc pipe gear holder for ice fishing sled

Custom organization options

Keeping everything in order helps you find your gear when you need it, and it protects fragile items like rods from being broken.

You can mount rod holders to the exterior of your sled by using short lengths of 2-inch PVC secured by 2-inch brackets. This is an easy-to-accomplish DIY project that really helps keep your rods from tangling or breaking.

A quick pass with an angle grinder’s cutting wheel can create slots in the PC that really secure your rods.

And depending on your skill level with carpentry, you can create dividers inside your sled to customize storage options.

At the most basic level, simple dividers made from 1 x 4s can come together in minutes.

ice fishing sled dividers

For slightly more advanced DIYers, a few good 2 x 4s can dramatically increase space and organization in a sled.

Creating a double-decker design with 2 x 4s gives you storage space above and below.

double deck ice fishing sled

Even more advanced woodworkers can turn to plywood and hinges to outfit their sleds with permanent covers protecting customized gear storage.

ice fishing sled cover

Easy access and a permanent cover? Count me in!

This innovative design, for instance, creates two covered storage areas that are easy to access, as well as a long bin for buckets and a heater. There’s even an insulated minnow bucket holder at the front!

ice fishing sled covered

Below deck rod holders are a slick and functional design.

A few minutes of work can have a rod holder mounted, leaving plenty of space for your tackle below. 

Ducurt Fishing Rod Rack Holders Wall-mounted Fish Pole Holder for Garage & Boat 6-Rod Storage Racks (Horizontal Blue, 1 Pair)


If you have access to a jigsaw, cutting a hole in plywood to hold a bucket is a snap, and that can offer awesome storage options on small sleds with permanent covers.

hinge covers on ice fishing sled

Even smaller sleds can benefit from hinged covers, especially when they include a bucket hole.

Even huge sleds can be improved by sled lids built from plywood and hinges, creating massive storage options that can hold everything you bring out onto the ice, including your ice auger.

ice fishing sled in truck

Handles and hinges make your gear easy to access while keeping it secure and protected.

hinged cover on ice fishing sled

Final Thoughts

We hope that these sled ideas have sparked your creativity, and we’d love to see your own takes on these modifications.

Please leave a comment below - and share your own tips for modding ice sleds for better space, security, and organization.

About The Author
Pete Danylewycz
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. Whether he's casting a line in a quiet freshwater stream or battling a monster bass, fishing is his true passion.