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Ask a trooper: Towing a fish house? Trailer rules apply

Q: 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 going down the road all the time, and I guess I don't notice registration. What is required? Is my friend right?

A: Your friend is correct. Fish houses on wheels are now considered trailers and must be registered as such. This was a recent decision, and we have been trying to get the word out.

A few years ago, officials from Driver and Vehicle Services, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources determined fish houses on wheels meet the requirements of a trailer. They must be registered and comply with laws concerning lights, wheel fenders, brakes if over 3,000 pounds, safety chains, and size limits for height and weight.

DVS notified dealers that fish houses on wheels are considered trailers. Anyone in the business of selling them needs 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 fish houses, 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 the DNR may require. It is 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, call (651) 296-6157 or (888) 646-6367, or email

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.

E-mail or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose.