Don’t have your own Ice Fishing Setup? No Problem!


Up North, it will soon be Ice Fishing Time!

When temperatures go below zero in northern Minnesota, it doesn’t mean fishing enthusiasts stay inside. Well, technically many are inside, but they’re in ice fishing shelters on one of the area’s many lakes, going after such types of fish as Northerns, crappies, walleyes and perch.

Ice fishing shelters can range from a durable tent with ice fasteners that runs about $150 up to a custom-built hut that can cost more than $20,000, with heat, beds and satellite TV. Shelters can be quite quirky and funky, reflecting the whims of the builder.

“Things have certainly changed from the days when people used to just go out on the ice and sit in the wind fishing,” says Rod Osterloh, a Potlatch Preferred Broker in Brainerd, Minnesota. “These days, you could refer to some of these shelters as ‘ice castles,’ which just happens to be the brand name of one manufacturer of trailer/fish houses.”

Prime ice fishing time in northern Minnesota usually runs from December to February, sometimes stretching into March. First, the ice has to freeze to a certain thickness – at least 12 inches or more, depending on the lake – to make it safe for people to bring their shelters out.

What if you don’t want to buy a shelter, but you’re eager to go ice fishing? No problem: A number of resorts in northern Minnesota offer fishing huts for rent. Also, some fishing guides in the area have shelters set up as part of their packages.

In Rod’s area, options include rental shelters in quality spots like Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs Lake and Crane Lake, among others. Simply do an internet search for “ice fishing rentals, northern Minnesota” and a number of choices will come up.

“What we like about selling recreational property in northern Minnesota is that it offers access to year-round recreation,” Rod says. “Whether it’s ice fishing or snowmobiling or cross-country skiing, there’s plenty to do here in the winter.”

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