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Minnesota Ice Fishing Trip

Minnesota Ice Fishing Trip

Ugonnafish has compiled some of the top 10 ice fishing trips in Minnesota ranging from $120 to $700 and you’ll have multiple options from ice fishing day trip to overnight fishing renting an ice fishing sleeper house.Ice-fishing season in Minnesota stretches from early December thru mid March. Because of the tick ice and shallow lakes abundant with fish from trophy Walleyes to Norther Pikes and Fisty Crappy at least 10% of the Minnesota population goes ice fishing. Desolated frozen lakes turn then into joyous and colorful winter village overnight, complete with ice shacks, Ice Fishing Sleeper houses, Ice Fishing Shelter and improvised streets, lighting and laughter that often comes with this social winter sport.

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6 fishing trip(s) found

6 fishing trip(s) found

Ice Fishing in Minnesota

Ugonnafish has compiled some of the top 10 guides in the best ice fishing lake in Minnesota from North and Central Minnesota in Lake of the Wood, Upper Red lake, Lake Kabetogama, Leech Lake, Lake Mille Lacs and Lake Minnetonka less than 30mn of Minneapolis. Ice fishing in Minnesota start with the arrival of December and triggers a parade of icehouses to favorite fishing spots statewide. Unsurprisingly, Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes is Ice Fishing Central and boast the world’s largest ice-fishing contest (Brainerd Jaycees Ice Extravaganza). In Minnesota ice fishing means many things: a convivial tradition, a culinary experience, or a family reunion. Nothing beats heading to an ice shack on a frozen lake under a bright blue sky with ice fishing rods and a bucket of minnows in hand in the company of your long-time buddies or family! Moreover, ice fishing is very accessible considering you don’t need a boat to get on the water and can accommodate any fishing skill level.

Top Ice Fishing trips in Minnesota

Ugonnafish has selected some of the best ice fishing guides and outfitters that not only know the best lakes and best spot to fish for specific species, but can coach you through the ins and outs of ice fishing, fillet your catch, and let you get your hands on best equipment and gadgets, for a pretty reasonable price you and your friends and family can arrive with zero experience and no gear and leave the lake with the greatest winter memories ever.

Ice Fishing Trip on Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods Ice Fishing in Minnesota

Lake of the Woods has an unsurpassed reputation as the number one Ice Fishing Spot in Northern Minnesota thanks to an amazing wilderness area and immense size. Lake of the Woods is simply the largest inland freshwater lake in the continental U.S. after the Great Lakes ranking it as “big water” country, and while the size of the lake can be intimidating it doesn’t take long to get to action packed fishing spot on the ice. Ice fishing on Lake of the Woods truly offers a memorable winter experience and we recommend that you book an ice fishing trip that stretch overnight staying in a Sleeper house or book a ice fishing day trip and stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfast or hotels in the area. The fish there are usually bigger than the average with a wide variety, from Walleye, Sauger, Northern Pikes, Muskies, Crappies, Perch and massive lake trout.

Top Ice Fishing guides on Lake of the Woods

True North Guide Service

Ice Fishing on Lake Kabetogama

Lake Kabetogama Ice Fishing

Situated on Minnesota's border with Canada, we recommend Lake Kabetogama as our second Top destination for Ice Fishing in Norther Minnesota. With average depth just under 30 feet and with a few holes as deep as 80 feet the Lake Kabetogama is abundant with a strong walleye population as well as lesser numbers of sauger, northern pike, smallmouth bass, yellow perch and crappie. We recommend you book a 3 days Ice Fishing trip in a luxury Ice Fishing Sleeper house and bring your snowmobile to enjoy the hundreds of trails in Voyageur Park to watch the extraordinary wildlife ranging from Lynx, timber wolves, bear, fox, bobcats, eagles, and deer.

Top Ice Fishing guides on Lake Kabetogama

Kabetogama 3 Days Ice Fishing Trip

Ice Fishing on Leech Lake

Leech Lake Ice Fishing in Minnesota

Leech lake, in central Minnesota is a popular Ice Fishing destination in Winter, offering a great Winter wonderland experience and ice fishing. There are several spots you can fish in Leech Lake starting from Walker such as Walker Bay, Steamboat bay, Shingobee bay, Agency Bay then out in the main Leech Lake Oak Point, The Narrows, Hardwoods, Goose Island, Traders Bay. If you’re going fishing for Walleye, consider telling your guides and start fishing at dawn or dusk anear the rock formation in walker Bay, and you’ll catch Walleye by jigging aggressively Red or Purple lure. Walleye can be tough to catch though but have been on the rise in the past 3 years according to The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Rest assured that you will catch plenty of Jumbo Perch, so have no fear you’ll never come back empty handed from Leech Lake.

Top Ice Fishing guides in Leech Lake

South Shore Guide Service

Ice Fishing on Upper Red Lake

Upper Red Lake Ice Fishing in Minnesota

The main reason to go ice fishing on Upper Red lake are its huge walleyes. It’s also an early winter season Ice Fishing Destination. Upper Red Lake is in northern Minnesota covering nearly 220 square miles with a maximum depth of about 80 feet. In part because of its lack of structure the Upper Red Lake is known as one of the best walleye fisheries in the country, and home to abundant population of Northern Pikes, Crappies, and Perch. The best way to ice fish the Upper Red Lake is to fish above the shoreline drop within the 10 feet depth range. Usually Ice fishing really peak in low light condition at dawn or dusk, but there’s plenty of opportunity to fish during the day, as the multitude of predatory fish will feeds all day. Our first tip would be to fish where you can spot minnows, as Walleyes, Pikes and perch will hang nearby. Those silver minnows will be near the shoreline break and large fish will ambush them from the drops. Depending on your guide you might be provided a sonar or have the possibility to rent one for a little extra. The best technique for ice fishing on Red Lake is to jig frantically a lure or a large jigging spoon of silver, red or purple color a few inches above the bottom and reel them up and down along the water column. Walleyes or Pike will usually bite when the lure hit back near bottom. Read more about the Upper Red Lake Regulation here.

Top Ice Fishing guides in Upper Red Lake

Ice Fishing on Lake Mille Lacs

Lake Mille Lacs Ice Fishing in Minnesota

Mille Lacs Lake is a massive 20 by 15-mile-wide inland Lake, second only to Red Lake, located in central Minnesota within a convenient 2 hours drive of Twin Cities. The average depth of the lake is within the mid 20 feet range prompting fish to stay active all year due to the absence of thermocline. Mille Lacs Lake is ideal for Ice Fishing and suitable for all type of Angling because of its topography. The lake is a mix of muds flat in the Northern half, ideal for trolling and deep-water angling, gravel and rocks bed in the Southern half and fishy shallow reef-top all around the Lake. The Spirit Island, a rocky island laying in the Southern part of the Lake is also good spot for forage and consequently predatory fish. When going Ice Fishing the main species to come out of the ice hole are mainly Trophy Walleye spawning there every year laying billions of eggs, enormous Northern Pikes and Muskies, as well as Jumbo Perch and Crappies. The Lake is popular, and you will find thousands of Ice Fishing house littering the lake, but not to worry, the lake is sufficiently large to amply accommodate everybody. Since walleyes and Pikes are pretty active, then mobility is key and you should try first to fish atop the numerous reef on the Northern Shore, by Jigging a few inches above the bottom and in shallower areas using tip up baited with a minnow or a large nightcrawler, to attract Jumbo Perch and Crappies. Your guide will have an Ice Shelter along with a sonar to spot forage and silver minnows and will move from spot to spot to hook larger fish. Read more about Lake Mille Lacs regulation here.

Top Ice Fishing guides in Lake Mille Lacs

Ice Fishing near Twin Cities

 Lake Minnetonka Ice Fishing in Minnesota

Ice fishing near Twin Cities metro area isn’t hard to do, since there’s plenty of lakes within 30 minutes West of Twin Cities. The fact is most people escape far up North for Fishing while there’s plenty of opportunities for Ice Fishing within the same day just a short drive west, and the lakes surrounding the Metro area are fishy! If you want to escape the urban hurdle while remaining within an hour drive, we recommend Lake Minnetonka, an inland lake located nearly 15 miles West of Minneapolis. The lake is very fish friendly as it is made up of dozens of smaller bays, ideal for forage fish and therefore predatory fish. As such it’s home to Muskie, Perch and Walleye as well as Bass and Panfish. We’ll advise to book a guide as Ice Fishing can be trickier than most lake and some areas are not ice safe. While Walleye can be tricky, Perch are always biting no matter what, and for such a short distance to the Twin City Metro area, it’s an ideal location for beginner ice fishing.

Top Ice Fishing guides near Twin Cities

When to book an Ice Fishing Trip

Ice fishing season span from Late November to late March, which the best fishing occurring in January, February and early March. Also before you go on a trip check the day to day Minnesota species fishing regulation, which comes very handy check the Minnesota Seasons and Possession Limits here. Overall for any Inland waters in Minnesota, the ice fishing season will end on February 21st for Walleye, Northern Pikes, Bass, but some catch, and release are allowed all year long and some species such as Perch can be fished yearly.

Ice Fishing Day Trip

Ice Fishing Day Trip in Minnesota

Book an ice fishing trip with one of our guide or outfitters for the day and upon arrival at the lake you will be given all the necessary gear for ice fishing. Mainly small ice fishing rods to jig jerk bait and grub, reels of course and Tips Up, live minnows, lure and bait. You’ll be assigned a few holes where you can ever set a tip up rod with a minnow or night crawler or actively jig to attract walleyes and Trout. If you’re fishing with a guides, you’ll most likely fish from an ice Shelter, and while it might seem rudimentary, it’s also the best way You’re trading comfort for mobility and increased opportunities to catch deep seating Lake trout and monster Walleye, Northern Pikes and Crappies. Here you will actively fish jigging bait with the help of a sonar to spot predatory fishes.

Ice Fishing Overnight

Ice Fishing overnight Trip in Minnesota

You can book an ice fishing sleeper house and spend the night on a frozen lake. Those ice fishing  trailers come with all the modern luxuries, as homey as a warm cabin— such as insulated carpeting, couches and bunks, a stove, heating, a mini kitchen with gas cooker and sink,  Satellite TV where you can Bing watch your favourite Netflix fishing and hunting show— and least but not last a few strategic holes in the floor where you will relentlessly pull Walleye and Crappies for hours. This is a great experience, as you might want to go ice fishing far away and don’t want to drive for hours after a long day on the ice.

Ice Fishing Gear

Every local retailer from Bass Pros Shop to Walmart will sell ice fishing gear and if you’re going fishing on your own, here’s a typical gear set to get you started.

Ice Fishing Rod and Reel:

Rods for ice fishing tends to be shorter so it’s easier to actively jig a lure in an ice hole. They range between 30$ to 150$.

Tip Up:

A tip up is a gear set that will alert you visually whenever a fish is caught. They exist in different form but in its simplest shape is a horizontal rod with a flag attached to its rear end laying on a vertical stick planted in the show/ice in a similar fashion to a seesaw. Whenever a fish is caught on the line, the rear end of the rod will raise the flag. Tip ups are best use with dead or live bait, and you can set multiple holes to make fishing more effective.

Live bait:

Buy them near your fishing lake, either minnows or nightcrawlers.

Hard Lure

jigging lure for Walleye, Bass, Perch or Trout. Chartreuse or silver are a good basis.

Weighted Jig head:

Hook a white or chartreuse grub at the end and jig it.

Ice Fishing Spoon

Vertical diving spoon: Lift them erratically a foot or so and bounce them of the bottom to stir up debris, to attract fish.
Flashy spoon: They work similarly to a jig bait. Lift them a couple of feet in the water column and they will fall sideways fluttering in a flashing motion. Lake trout, Pikes and Bass will attack it without hesitation.
For both categories starts with silver, gold and flashy chartreuse.
A Strainer: A simple kitchen hand strainer will suffice. Use it to scoop the ice shavings from the holes.
Auger: A manual or gas-powered auger for drilling holes in the ice.
A stool or bucket to seat on.
Filleting knife and a small fixed blade knife.

Any questions before you book your next fishing trip ?

Contact us now, we would love to help.