Splish splash - ice fishing is a gas!


Photo courtesy Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce 

Now that we are on the downside of winter, you might be looking for something to do that is a real change of pace. Ever ice fish? On the face of it, this sport may look a little challenging if you plan on sitting on bucket over a hole in the middle of the ice.

However, there are many ways to make this a truly fun and enjoyable experience without spending a lot of money. The biggest enemies of ice fishing are cold winds and slush. One way to conquer the winds is by utilizing an ice fishing shanty or tent. This is an especially good time of year to purchase an ice fishing shelter because many places have them on sale. Mills Fleet Farm is featuring a two-man unit for $90. Amazon is also featuring several models on sale.

Of course, you can always build a wood one and many fishermen fashion a shelter out of old trailers and campers. You can find ice shanties along main highways during the warmer months as well.

Then there is the heat source for the shelter. Very popular and inexpensive are the heaters that attach to an LP tank. They come in different BTUs to accommodate the size of the shanty or shelter. Many ice fishermen also utilize wood burning stoves.

Now to get through the ice. You can drill the hole in the ice manually with a hand auger or use a gas powered auger to make the project faster and easier. You can pick up a hand auger at Walmart for under $15. Power augers usual start at around $300, such as this model from Northern Tool.

Of course there is the fishing gear. Ice fishing poles are much smaller and lighter than traditional water gear. There is also special tackle designed for this type of fishing. Again, this is a great time of year to stock up because of the sales. Here are some ideas from Mills Fleet Farm.

The sky is the limit when designing and building an ice shanty. Fancier and solidly built structures can be left on site. Here is a glimpse of what has been done. 

The gear can be pretty high tech, too. Located in Eagle River, a company called “Deep Freeze” developed a tip-up alert for a smart phone. Their “Blue Tipz” products are joined by other techie ice fishing items and apparel. 

Fishing licenses are required and it is the same license used for open water fishing. The Wisconsin DNR does require your name and address to be affixed to the outside of the shelter. If you leave your shelter on the ice, there is also a date by which the shelter must be removed. For more information on all the regulations visit the website

Looking to participate in some local ice fishing derbies? Here are a few local fishing events happening over the next few weeks.

The 8th Annual Frozen Tozen Ice Fishing Tournament on Allequash Lake in Boulder Junction will be held Feb. 20. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and fees are $30 for adults and $10  for kids 14 and under. Here are more details for the event. 

Head over to the Carrol Lake boat landing Saturday, Feb. 27 for the Carrol Lake Fishing contest sponsored by Custom Caretaking and Landscaping. Proceeds to benefit  “Angel on my Shoulder”. Call 715-356-6961 for more details.

Then Sunday, Feb. 28 there is a Kid’s Fishing Jamboree at the west shore landing on Lake Vieux Desert. There is no fee and the event is for ages 18 and younger. Call 715-547-3434 for more details.

Lake Tomahawk will hold its Annual Lake Tomahawk Family Fisheree at the Lake Tomahawk town boat landing Saturday, Feb 20 from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. This includes a chance to win a door prize, free food and refreshments and kids 6 and under fish for free. All others the fee is $10. Cash payouts.

Best of luck on your winter angling!


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