If you are like me, it usually takes a long, brutal winter before I’ll venture out and stand on a lake. However, instead of resorting to ice fishing, maybe it is time to take a crack at ice fishing resorts. Here are some features of the best ice fishing resorts:
1. Creature Comfort
Ice fishing resorts vary greatly. For example, some North Dakota ice fishing resorts may offer lodging in an actual lodge, while others provide a cabin, or even a motel room. For actual fishing time, ice houses or shanties are provided, which vary by size and number of holes. Some of the best ice fishing resorts even turn on the heat and clean ice out of the holes each morning, perhaps offering guiding and fish cleaning services.
Depending on water clarity, sunlight, and snow cover, you may get a unique, aquarium-like glimpse into a cold fish world. Ice fishing resorts want you to return and the best way is to help you catch fish. One of the Minnesota ice fishing resorts mentioned that they move their ice houses weekly to keep you over areas that are holding yellow perch, crappie, walleye, pike, or bluegill, to name a few. Pay attention to depth, lake contour maps, vegetation and substrate type, and any new techniques so that you can apply this information to other lakes as well.
Ice thickness and weather conditions are monitored continually by ice fishing resorts. There also is communication to someone who knows where you are and can even provide travel to and from the most stable ice, perhaps by snow mobile, 4-wheeler, or even a heated air-boat.
If you live in the Northern states, there may be ice fishing resorts closer than you think. As with any travel, do your research online for quality of accommodations, cancellation policies, and such. I didn’t get to visit any Wisconsin ice fishing resorts, but my family stayed in a lake cabin in southern Wisconsin this Christmas and ice was just beginning to form, however Iowa is already reporting some lakes with fishable ice. Although gear and supplies can be provided, make sure you have your fishing license for whichever ice fishing resorts you choose. And watch for free ice fishing days which are offered by some states.