The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Norsk: Reliable Power For Ice Fishing Hardhouses & Fish-Inside Machines

NORSK Lithium has the perfect heated ice fishing batteries for permanent fishhouses & SnoBear/Fish-Inside Machines

New Hope, MN – While it’s taken weeks to work through waves of warm weather, we’re finally making hardwater across the Ice Belt with much colder temperatures. Good thing, because most ice anglers are antsy to do more than walk out on foot to near-shore spots.

Part of it, too, is making use of the investment in a hardhouse—anything from modest “toy haulers” to deluxe, all-season RV models with LCD screens, kitchens, improved bathrooms, and sleeping quarters for friends and family.

But there’s a large constituent of avid anglers, too, who prefer to show up and rent a sleeper house on top of textbook structure, holes drilled, and skip owning more toys. Or hire a guide and fish tons of different spots all day long from the interior comfort of a SnoBear with breaks to run & gun outside on foot and then retreat to the vehicle. 

So, whether you own a permanent house or fishing machine—or prefer to hire a guide and/or rent a shack—you have to wonder, just how on Earth are these things powered? Especially with all their fish-finding and entertainment gadgets?

We talked with professionals who’ve learned the hard way over the years, constantly re-rigging their rental hardhouses and playing with power solutions for SnoBears and other fish-inside hardwater vehicles.

At the end of the road—literally—they’ve turned to NORSK Lithium for reliability and no-fail, thermal core technology to survive sub-zero temperatures and extreme wind chills and keep ice fishing comfortable and fun.

Wisconsin Hardhouse Rental Fishhouse Success

Mat “Big Fish” Rowan, owner and operator of Big Fish Encounters in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, is not only an NMEA-certified service manager and boat rigger, he also rents over a half-dozen Yetti sleeper-style Fishhouses in Western Wisconsin, equipped with all the latest in fish-finding technologies, including forward-facing sonar, flashers, UW cameras—in addition to LCD screens with satellite/DVD, Bluetooth®-enabled stereo, etc. 

“We like to consider ourselves the ‘premiere sleeper fishhouse destination in the entire state of Wisconsin—and our shacks are the ‘nice ones’,” offers Big Fish. 

“This will be our seventh season on-the-ice running NORSK Lithium batteries and it’s completely eliminated any issues that we used to have with lead-acid batteries.” 

“Obviously, if you allow a lead-acid battery to freeze it can rupture the case, or in the very least, seriously diminish the battery life. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a hassle to get them thawed out again. But with a lithium battery, you don’t have to worry about freezing when combined with a lithium-capable charger. They light right up in the cold,” adds Big Fish. 

For 2024, Big Fish is renting three large, customized sleeper-style Yetti shacks and three smaller models, as well as a giant, hydraulic tandem-axle, 21-foot Yetti. 

image 47

In the smaller houses, Big Fish utilizes a Norsk Lithium 80Ah Heated Battery in each, and in the large, hydraulic shacks, two Norsk Lithium 100Ah Heated Batteries. 

“And for anything 8-feet wide on a single axle with hand-cranks, a single, Norsk Lithium 100Ah Heated Battery is perfect. For 8-foot wide models on single or double axle with hydraulics, we install two Norsk Lithium 100Ah Heated Battery,” instructs Big Fish. 

“We don’t necessarily have to, but with a hydraulic shack, it’s a good idea to have back up, especially as much as ours are being used. We strive for zero percent failure in everything we do. Sometimes redundancy is key to that system.”

“And for dual-axle hydraulic houses stretching 21- to 24-feet long, two 100Ah Heated Batteries is definitely our go-to this season,” adds Big Fish. 

However, Big Fish is looking forward to new high-amperage, heated batteries from Norsk Lithium in the coming year that will eliminate the need for a second battery. These upcoming models–when available–will also do double-duty as both starter and house power for your big motor and today’s sophisticated fishing electronics.

image 48

What makes Big Fish Encounters such a fan of NORSK Lithium? 

“In my experience, in the hundreds and hundreds of boats, machines, and fishhouses we’ve installed, NORSK Lithium is just more reliable. The heated batteries warm before they take a large charge. The other thing? They’re lightweight. So, you know, you’re trying to save as much weight as you can, whether you’re talking a walleye or bass boat, kayak, fish-finder shuttle, or fishhouse,” offers Big Fish. 

The other secret to Big Fish’s fishhouse system? Solar charging.

“The first thing you’ve got to figure out is your amperage—how much power you’re drawing from everything—and make sure you have a lithium-compatible charge controller. Depending on the size of your solar panels, you can also run an inverter off them.”

Big Fish admits their sleepers aren’t always booked, but they do like to keep the heat running between rentals.

“We’re able to set our shacks into what I call ‘standby’ mode–and even your average weekend hardhouse angler might like that with a lithium battery properly sized so you can keep the heat at about 50 degrees and just walk away. That Norsk will continually cycle the furnace for 3 to 5 days, depending on the size of the shack and the weather conditions outside, obviously. Get temps in the 20s or 30s and you might keep it warm over a week.”

In addition to a NORSK 80 or 100Ah battery(s), Big Fish also outfits each rental shack with a 3500 watt generator for when the battery isn’t being used or is in need of a charge after numerous days running continuously. 

“If we come back after four or five days, that battery is almost dead. Then all we have to do is fire that generator up and it’s topped off with charge in 2 to 3 hours depending on the battery size. Pretty awesome,” says Big Fish.

SnoBear Operator/Guide Vs. Devils Lake

In some places—like famed Devils Lake, North Dakota and the glacial lakes of South Dakota—the key is mobility—especially if your goal is to fill buckets with jumbo perch and “eater” walleyes. 

Case in point: Dakotas-based guides have been fishing out of UTVs and SnoBears for years which allow them to keep clientele on roving packs of perch, ‘eyes, and other species, almost as comfortable as fishing from your own living room couch. It’s definitely something to experience…

image 49

Bry’s Guide Service’s, Dustin Larson, had been working with Bry’s team of nearly a dozen ice fishing guides to figure out a way to provide ample and reliable power to the SnoBear he runs clients in day-after-day.

“I called NORSK Lithium and told them I wanted to do something I couldn’t do with other batteries. I’m running Garmin LiveScope in the SnoBear with the image showing on two 24-inch TVs networked together via HDMI—all off a 12-inch Garmin LiveScope unit, so clients can all watch fish behavior and adjust accordingly,” describes Larson.

Larson says the first thing he did was try to run lead-acid batteries in series, but it didn’t work the way he had hoped.

image 50
image 51

“So, I put the lead acid batteries back in the garage and replaced them with one 100Ah 12V NORSK Lithium LIVEP04 Heated Battery, and it’s been working great. I do not lose any significant power by the end of a full guide trip day. All screens are bright and functional, just as they need to be. And that’s fishing from sun-up until about 5 pm. Nearest I can tell, the system is pulling about 11 amps, but the NORSK 100Ah is working without a hitch,” says Larson.

“And once that battery is fully charged, the SnoBear alternator kicks in so it’s gaining charge whenever we’re running the machine.”

“I’ve been super happy with the 100Ah heated battery. And maybe even more than the battery, the NORSK Lithium Guardian app is fantastic for keeping an eye on where I’m at with the charge. I have the alarm set for 15% so I can start the SnoBear up at any given point if I need some more juice, but I haven’t had to do that yet,” offers Larson.

Devils Lake Conditions

Besides NORSK battery performance, the million dollar question is just how much ice does Devils have right now?

“We’re on a foot or more as of January 15. As we’ve settled into constant colder nights there’s been some good ice-making,” reports Larson. 

And, at least for now, there’s not much snow on top, which has made travel easier for all. But keep in mind we’re talking about North Dakota—so don’t expect near hockey rink-like conditions to last long.

As far as the bite goes, the fishing has been stellar for guys like Dustin and the Bry’s crew who know the lake and fish patterns.

“Early on, we were on a great walleye bite because we stuck to the smaller lakes and near shore, but right now we’re hammering on some big perch, too, which is pretty much what most customers are after.”

For walleyes, Larson hit the five lakes north of Highway 2 early on but lately there have been cracks opening up and some open water due to warm weather. Still, with each day that passes, Larson expands his territory and has been doing great south of Highway 2 for both jumbo perch and walleyes. Likewise, Main Bay has been producing a good multi-species bite.

image 52

Larson concludes that he’s also a big fan of the NORSK Lithium 15 Ah batteries, which he uses in the array of Vexilar FL-28s Bry’s Guide Service clients often run inside and outside the SnoBear once fish are located with LiveScope—conveniently displayed on the two giant, internal LCD screens like a literal video game.

image 53

“To do what we do every day, power issues just can’t happen. With NORSK I know everything from the LiveScope black box, transducer, 12-inch graph, to the double LCD screens—and countless flashers—will work an entire day, or longer. In our business, that’s a must-have,” concludes Larson.

image 54

ABOUT NORSK LITHIUM

When it’s time to start catching fish and taking names, you want NORSK Lithium on your side. We aren’t some overseas battery manufacturer. We are open-water anglers and ice fishermen who traverse the U.S. and Canada chasing the best bites. We make the bone-jarring 50-mile run across big water. We live for the adrenaline rush of a 40-mile trek by snowmobile in the freezing cold just to snag the best ice fishing hits.

Our lithium batteries have been tested in the harshest conditions by the harshest critics – us. We push our lithium batteries to the limit because we crave the finest fishing experience possible. No angler should be thwarted by second-rate battery performance. You don’t need to settle for your grandpa’s technology.

Utilizing the super-efficient, unbeatable potency of lithium technology, NORSK Lithium batteries reduce cheap knock-offs to fancy paperweights. Every NORSK Lithium battery is built to endure. Our batteries outwork the competition every time.

Norsk Lithium powers your passion so you can chase adventure. We personally rely on these same batteries to power our pursuit of an exhilarating outdoor experience.

Our commitment to you is the same promise we make to ourselves – we will never cut corners, we will never stop improving our battery technology – and we will always take care of our customers after the sale.

Your story is our story. We have intentionally tethered our business’s success to our customers’ satisfaction. Including us. NORSK Lithium exists to power your passion for the great outdoors.

Keep your finger on the fishing industry pulse

The Definititive News Source of the Fishing & Marine Industry