An Ice Fishing Spot

It recently occurred to me that I’ve never written about the winter phenomenon called ice fishing.

If you live in a cold climate, this isn’t a groundbreaking activity. If you live where the lakes and ponds never freeze over, I think you might appreciate some explanation.

This winter has been bitterly cold – even by Minnesota standards – so the ice is quite thick and still gaining. About 12 inches of ice is needed to safely drive a vehicle onto a frozen lake. More if it’s an extra heavy truck or if the water is known to have strong current. Early in winter when there’s less ice, people will park on shore and walk or maybe drive out on 4-wheelers or snowmobiles.

Right now, most of our area lakes have well over 3 feet of ice. Good for safety, but it’s a lot of work to drill through!

Drilling holes to put your fishing lines through is one of the first steps once you get to your preferred spot. Here’s JR in action:






I told you the ice was thick!

If the weather is mild you can start fishing with no frills, but usually it’s rather cold for that. Most people set up a fish house. We have a portable, which is easy to transport in the back of a truck and set up quickly. You drill holes first and then just open up your house in about 60 seconds.

The propane tank outside runs a heater inside to keep us toasty.

The other fish house options look like these:20140218-081232.jpg
You pull a fish house like this behind your vehicle like a trailer, and you lower it down on the ice once you get to the lake. All houses will have cut outs with covers on the floor for you to drill the fishing holes through, plus some sort of seating and a heat source.

Like anything, you can also go BIG. Fancy houses may have built-in cabinetry, a television and surround sound, refrigerators, bunks, and even a bathroom. A brand of house called “Ice Castle” markets their houses for fishing in the winter and camping in the summer. Many people also simply build their own.

The advantage to a portable like ours is it’s easy to haul, set-up, and move to different spots on the lake if the fish aren’t biting. It’s also much lighter so you can bring it out when ice is thinner.

The advantage to a permanent house is it’s usually better insulated and takes less fuel to heat, plus it gives space for more of the comforts of home. Of course JR thinks we eventually need one of those too.

Here’s an inside look at our fishing set-up last Friday.


That gadget in the second photo is a vexilar. It has a sensor on a cord that you drop into the water beside your fishing line. The colored lines on the dial show the lake bottom, your lure and bait, and movement of any fish.

I don’t go out fishing nearly as much as JR, so he gives me helpful pointers as we go. Unfortunately the fish weren’t very hungry that night, but here’s a few fish from another trip.

And that’s the latest spot! If you’re still curious about ice fishing, let me know and I’ll direct questions to our resident fishing expert. ๐Ÿ™‚

Marathon Training for Feb 10 – Feb 16

I was really happy with the way this week’s training went. I felt fine on the weekly runs, and I got outside for a full 14 miles on Saturday. The 14 felt … dare I say great? Definitely easier than expected. The longer runs also make my upcoming marathon feel more real.

Monday – 4.2 miles in 40:00 with 2 x 1 mile @ 8:57, 8:34 – 156 HR
Tuesday – off
Wednesday – 6.17 miles in 1:02:00 easy with 5 x :30 strides at end – 153 HR
Thursday – off
Friday – 4.17 miles in 40:00 with 2 miles easy, 2 miles fartlek
Saturday – 14.12 miles in 2:15:14 with last 3 miles about goal marathon pace
Sunday – about 2.5 miles easy and not timed

Total – 31.1 miles

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
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6 Responses to An Ice Fishing Spot

  1. I’ve only been ice fishing once, with Travis’ family (city girl here). It was fun! The fish weren’t biting, and we rented a fishing house at a resort on Lake of the Woods, so it wasn’t that much of ‘roughing it’ but I’d do it again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I’ve never been ice fishing (because I have no interest), even though I’m a Native Minnesotan. I’m a bad Minnesotan, I know!

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