Building A Fishing Trailer: Part 1

Every 365-day-a-year angler needs a trailer to store and haul gear. Here’s part one in a series on how to do it yourself!

Fisherman by nature like to tinker with everything from tackle to trailers. Recently I purchased an enclosed trailer to be used primarily for my ice fishing travels and storing of gear in the offseason. I have noticed however that neighbors and family have been giving it the eye for some furniture moving and projects alike.

Over the next month or so we will have several parts walking you through the process to finish a trailer that was purchased ready-to-build.


While it may seem obvious, measuring the gear you have or plan to store making sure you get a trailer that is big enough—otherwise, you’re wasting your time. Most of my buddies wish they had a bigger trailer. Most of us wish we had a bigger garage, or barn, or whatever; a trailer is no different.

The openings of the rear drop-door can be smaller than you might think is required. The right width could allow you to accommodate two machines, such as snowmobiles, side by side instead of end to end. This will nearly double the “real” useable space.

For this reason I chose a deck-over model, which means the wheels are completely under the trailer—there are no wheel wells. This will allow for a much wider trailer and more usable space inside. I also chose a model that has full-size tires to avoid putting stress on small tires and allowing for a larger payload.

The obvious negative to this is a larger profile means more resistance going down the road and poorer mileage, but I felt the ability to accommodate more gear and more space for off season storage was more important. In actuality, I will be able to accommodate more machines and plan to have my buddies gear inside when we travel together on bigger trips instead of all of us driving separately. Splitting up the costs and more camaraderie should be better all around.

While I won’t suggest what trailer style or size works best for your individual situation, I would suggest you spend a significant amount of time looking at specs and manufactures online. Having some insight before you go and look at a dealer should help you significantly.

Steel or aluminum is the first decision to make. This decision will change the manufacture and models available significantly. A steel trailer is heavier and will rust, whereas an aluminum trailer is lighter and will not rust. I’m sure you can guess which one will cost more.

In part two we will talk about getting started and insulating.

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Capt. Ross Robertson