Winter Adventure: Spend the Night on the Ice

Category: article

 Oct 11th, 2020 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Oct 11th, 2020 at 10:20 AM

Winter Adventure: Spend the Night on the Ice

Are you looking for winter adventure this year? If so, spending a few nights in a sleeper fish house with a fun group of relatives or friends might be the answer. Sleeper fish houses are not for everyone, but if you like a sense of adventure, camping, being a little bit remote, a sleeper fish house experience offers something unique that many people will absolutely not do without.

There are many ways to enjoy ice fishing on The Walleye Capital of the World. One winter adventure enjoyed by many is staying overnight in a sleeper fish house. Both resorts and independent sleeper fish house operators provide the opportunity to experience staying overnight on the ice. It’s not for everyone, but for many, it is just what the doctor ordered when the goal is to get away from it all and have the opportunity to fish 24 hours a day.

Fishing out of a sleeper fish house is almost like ice camping. You are in a spacious and cozy fish house for 2-3 days with friends and / or loved ones. Regardless of the temps outside, inside the fish house is nice and balmy. Fish from your bunk bead or with slippers on if you would like. Good times to break up a long winter season.

There are many types and sizes of sleeper houses, but most often, a bed, strong heater, cook stove sometimes with a oven, bait and rest room facilities, which do not include running water, are included.

Planning for meals, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, evening activities, beverages, camera gear, cell phones and your fishing gear is part of the experience.

Just because your group is sleeping on the ice doesn’t mean you need to rough it when it comes to food and drink. Some have mastered the art of cooking and nearly gourmet meals on the ice. Some sleepers have cook top burners. Others have burners but also actual ovens. The stories we hear about fresh baked muffins, cookies, etc create traditions people keep coming back for.

Fish frys are also a tradition in a fish house and part of the winter adventure. Please be aware of the MN DNR rules for possessing fish and cooking fish on the ice.

In a nutshell, fish that are cleaned on the ice must be cooked immediately, otherwise they need to stay in their whole form. For any fish cleaned, carcasses need to be kept until the next day for not only measurement but also counting to make sure limits are adhered to. With that being said, not a big deal and fresh walleyes and sauger are a real treat anywhere, but certainly on the ice.

A wide variety of people enjoy sleepers. Families, couples, groups of friends, girls weekend, and bachelor parties are some of the groups who enjoy short term living on the ice.

When you stay in a sleeper house on Lake of the Woods, try and remember to look at the sky on a clear night. Being so far north combined with very little light pollution allows the stars, planets and milky ways to just pop! It is a breathtaking view not to be forgotten. If you really get lucky, perhaps you will experience the northern lights.

There are a number of resorts and sleeper fish house outfitters that will take good care of you on Lake of the Woods. Each one has their own style house, fishes a different part of the lake and may have different ways you get out to your fish house. It is good to do a bit of homework ahead of time to see what fits you the best. Click Here for an entire list of sleeper fish house opportunities.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to experience a sleeper fish house winter adventure with my daughter and her “friend”, as a protective dad might say. Daisy and Cody had never experienced or slept in a sleeper fish house before. We enjoyed good times, good fishing, a variety of good food and made memories that will last a lifetime. These high schoolers at the time learned about ice fishing, quickly understood the advantage of a Vexilar, and developed a love of ice fishing that remains to this day.

We still talk about our trip and plan on doing it again. A tradition has started. Check out the video of our sleeper fish house adventure, full of plenty of fishing activity!

For more info on a winter adventure and renting a sleeper fish house on Lake of the Woods, go to www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging for a complete listing.


Click Here to Access Lake of the Woods lodging options.

Click Here to return to the Lake of the Woods Tourism website


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