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Best Places for Ice Fishing
When you start looking for places to ice fish, it’s not hard to narrow down your list of possible states based on climate. But even if you’re looking at destinations with sub-zero winter temperatures, there are other things that make a great ice fishing spot as well.
When you’re trying to figure out where to go ice fishing, you’ll also want to research things like:
- Accessibility: With sometimes hazardous winter driving conditions, you’ll want to pick a spot that you can get to safely.
- The Landscape: For many, winter fishing is synonymous with beauty. If you want to enjoy the views while you fish, look for places that offer a picturesque landscape.
- Accommodations: If you need an ice fishing shelter for an overnight stay, you’ll want to find places that allow you to rent a fish house. If ice fishing in a windy location, are portable shelters readily available?
- Species: Depending on what you’re after, some ice fishing spots may be better destinations than others. For example, Black Lake in Hammond, New York, is one of several great locations if you’re looking for where to ice fish for pike.
How to Find Ice Fishing Spots Near You
If some of the more popular destinations are out of reach, you can always find a winter fishing spot near you. Ask other anglers for recommendations or do some research online. Another good resource is a guide. Ice fishing guides can not only pinpoint a good location based on what you want to catch but they can also handle equipment like ice shelters, heaters, rods and reels, fish finders and tackle and bait. Plus, they’ll know about the ice conditions in the area, the key to a safe outing.
Ice Fishing License Requirements
Even if you’re fishing in the winter months, fishing regulations still apply. That means making sure you have a valid fishing license and paying attention to topics like:
- when the season opens and closes
- equipment restrictions
- maximum hole sizes
- required shelter markings
Top Ice Fishing Lakes
When you start planning your trip and are researching where to go ice fishing, it’s a good idea to check out some of the tried and true spots that other anglers favor. While there’s no shortage of lakes to choose from, these are some of the lakes considered to be ice fishing hot spots in the US:
- Silver Lake, California: This destination in Northern California offers anglers plentiful access to larger fish like mackinaw trout
- Higgins Lake, Michigan: Whether you want to catch perch, crappie, small and large mouth bass, pike and more, this deep lake has something for everyone.
- Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin: If perch, sturgeon or walleye is what you’re after, put this lake at the top of your list.
- Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota: One of more than 10,000 lakes in the state, Mille Lacs is home to aggressive walleye as well as rock bass, northern pike and jumbo perch, among other species.
- Lake Champlain, Vermont: Lake Champlain is a traditional northern pike hot spot as well as a great destination for perch and blue gill.
- Lake Granby, Colorado: This 7,250-acre lake boasts large lake trout and good action for anglers of all skill levels.
- Birch Lake, Alaska: Close to Fairbanks, this lake has an abundance of fish, including rainbow trout, coho and chinook salmon, and arctic char.
- Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana: With over 50 different kinds of fish in the waters of Fort Peck, you’ll have no problem catching what you’re after in this huge reservoir.