What is an Ice Fishing House?

An ice fishing house is a cozy refuge for anglers braving winter's chill. It's a portable shelter that offers warmth and comfort on frozen lakes, transforming the icy expanse into a snug fishing spot. With amenities like heaters and seating, it's a winter angler's home away from home. Curious about the unique features that make ice fishing houses so inviting? Let's explore further.
Nychole Price
Nychole Price

An ice fishing house is a structure that is used to protect a fisherman from the winter elements, while fishing through a hole in the ice. Ice fishing houses are kept dark, making the water under the snow-covered ice appear to glow and light up the fish. Some ice fishing houses are heated, while others even come equipped with bunks and stoves. Ice fishing houses can be rented, bought ready-made, or you can build your own. A temporary ice fishing house is easy enough to build; even a novice can do it.

Lay a large plank of wood, such as a piece of plywood, on the ice. Mark a circle on the plank to represent the ice fishing hole. You will cut this out later. Find large sticks around the frozen lake. The sticks should be as long as you want the ice fishing house tall.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Build a frame for the ice fishing house with the large sticks. If desired, you can bring wooden posts from home to build the frame, instead of finding sticks. Secure the sticks or posts together with string. Place the frame over the top of the plywood.

Drape a heavy, dark blanket or a large piece of canvas over the frame of the ice fishing house. You can also paint the blanket or canvas with primer to prevent light from breaking through. To prevent the cover from blowing away in the wind, secure it to the frame with large safety pins or string.

Stack up a barrier of snow around the edge of the ice fishing house to prevent light from breaking through. Inside the shanty, sweep the snow off the ground so you can see through the ice. When the sun outside reflects through the ice in the dark fishing shanty, the water will appear to glow underneath.

Using an ice saw, cut a hole in the plank first. You can also use a reciprocating saw for this part, if desired. Jab a hole through the ice with the ice saw and cut around in a circle. Remove the ice pieces with a slotted spoon. Keep the water from refreezing and covering the hole by scraping the edges periodically while fishing.

Set up a chair in front of the ice fishing hole. Insert your fishing pole and wait. If you are spear fishing, it might be easier to remain standing and watch for the fish through the ice. Bring plenty of blankets and hot chocolate to keep warm in your ice fishing house.

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Discussion Comments


How much should I expect to pay for a pre made ice fishing shelter? I used to do a ton of ice fishing as a kid and would like to take it back up, but I don't really have the skills or inclination to make my own shelter.


Most ice fishing houses are nothing more than shacks. But some people take their ice fishing very seriously and they have more money than they know what to do with. I have seen some ice fishing houses that look like palaces built on a frozen lake.

For the purposes of portability most ice fishing houses are not that large. But some are bigger than you would expect. Where the real differences come in is with the amenities they have. Some have electricity, TV, portable kitchens, heaters, anything you would expect to find in a camping trailer. Ice fishing might look rough but some people know how to do it very easily.

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