Advanced lithium batteries and solar power are on the cusp of changing how we power our fish houses. But we’re not quite there yet and the vast majority of wheelhouse ice fishing is done with generators. Here are five tips to keep your generator running smoothly during the ice fishing season.
The Right Setup
Getting the generator set up away from your fish house can help in several different ways. First, it’s more stealthy. Even quiet generators create noise and vibration that can be heard and felt by both fish and the people in the fish house. I like to keep my generator sitting on the tailgate of my truck, 25 feet or more from the fish house on the downwind side of the house. I don’t want to breathe in the fumes from the generator and I can position my truck to provide a bit of a windbreak for the generator. If I need to make any kind of adjustment in the dark, it’s easy to pop on the truck bed lights to see what I’m doing. A rubber mat under the generator eliminates even more vibration.
Remove The Air Filter
The dust, dirt, and debris that could find their way into your generator during the summer months on a camping trip are virtually non-existent in an ice fishing scenario. Removing the air filter prevents that area from freezing up and causing sensors in the generator to trigger a stall. Keep the air filter in an air-tight bag during the winter and be sure to reinstall it before summer use.
Change The Oil
The oil in generators should be changed at the start of every ice fishing season. New generators should have the oil changed after 30 hours of run time. After that, every 100 hours. So if you’re running your generator from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, you should probably change the oil every 2 trips. The good news is, changing the oil is easy and generators don’t use a lot of oil.
Change The Plug
Installing an NGK Spark Plug or any other spark plug that runs a little hotter can help when using a generator during winter months. Regularly changing the spark plug will keep your generator running at peak performance. Spark plugs should be changed every 200 hours. If you do a lot of ice fishing, it doesn’t take long to hit 200 hours. The best way to keep an eye on this is to change the spark plug every other time you change the oil.
Off Season Care
If you don’t use the generator during the summer months, be sure to run the gas low before storing the generator. Storing a generator or any other engine with a full tank of gas is a bad idea. It’s also smart to start the generator once a month. You don’t have to run it long. Just fire it up to keep the parts moving regularly.
These are great tips to help you get the most from your generator during the ice fishing season. But as always, follow your manufacturer’s owner’s manual.