Ice fishing, snowmobiling and other winter activities are in full swing on and around Lake of the Woods. The area is buzzing with activity. Most are ice anglers and snowmobilers looking to celebrate, escape the house, and have some fun during a season some would rather not deal with, winter. In these parts, winter is celebrated and welcomed. Ice fishing is an absolute culture on Lake of the Woods. Anglers from all ability levels and all walks of life come up to partake in some of the best ice fishing in the world.
Visitors to the area who come to ice fish arrive with many different expectations. Whether you are a hard core angler, appreciate the social part of ice fishing or possibly somewhere in the middle, there is one spot that catches most anglers attention, the Igloo Bar. Expectations when entering this famous structure on the ice are usually about having fun and now is the time!
The Igloo Bar is on the Ice! With over 1,000 square feet, you can imagine this structure demands Igloo bar, Zippel Bay Resort, Lake of the Woodssome thick ice, 15″ or more to be exact. With the sub zero temps this past week, that mark was reached just in time for New Year’s Eve. Officially, 4:15 pm, December 31st, 2017, the bar was open!
The Igloo Bar is located on the frozen Lake of the Woods out in front of Zippel Bay. It is transported out in two pieces and bolted together. It is loaded with big screen TV’s, electric lights, running water, a bar, limited hot food menu, and heated portapoddies that look like little igloos. The restrooms on the ice are heated for those who enjoy the little extras in life! I asked Nick Painovich who owns Zippel Bay Resort along with his wife Deanna about the heated portapoddies. “Some of the ladies were giving me a hard time about the cold toilet seats so I heated them. Then, all of the guys started using the ladies restroom so I had to heat them both!”
I had mentioned to Painovich that things get pretty festive when someone catches a fish in the bar. “You should see what happens when someone loses one,” he said with a smile.
There is a barrel with burning wood on the ice for those who enjoy a little heat while stepping out of the bar for some fresh air. It’s unlike anything else most have experienced. For many, it is the perfect storm of enjoying the Minnesota winter. Ice fishing in a bar, what else you one ask for?
All are Ice road slow sign, Zippel Bay Resort, Lake of the Woodswelcome! Regardless of what resort, hotel or sleeper fish house you stay at while up at Lake of the Woods, the Igloo Bar is open to the public. There is an ice road well marked, plowed and maintained coming from Zippel Bay Resort if you are coming via truck or car. If by snowmobile, a “spur” of the trail goes right to the bar from the Zippel Bay State Park trail as well as the trail on the lake.
The atmosphere is fun and festive and you are welcome to join in.