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Debate on legal width of ice house settled

Question: I read your article on fish houses and now have mine licensed as a trailer. Now my neighbor and I are caught in a debate over the legal width of a fish house. I say the fish house itself cannot be wider than 8 ft plus the wheels on each side and he says it is 8.5 feet. Can you tell us so we can settle the argument?

Answer: In part statute 169.80 sb 2 (a) states, "The total outside width of a vehicle exclusive of rearview mirrors or load securement devices which are not an integral part of the vehicle and not exceeding three inches on each side, or the load may not exceed 102 inches."

This means 8.5 feet total outside width and I believe your neighbor is correct. I say this because I am not sure if your eight feet plus the wheels meant a total of eight feet or if you meant eight feet plus the additional width of the wheels.

Now I need to point out that the above restriction does not mean you cannot make your fish house wider. It means that you may not tow it down the road unless you obtain an over width permit before doing so.

I suggest you don't do as a friend of mine once did. He built this nice big fish house in the garage and then noticed it was bigger than the garage door when it came time to take it out. Ah, another one of those days mama talked about.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota send your questions to Trooper Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205, or reach me at,