Top 5 Ice Fishing Destinations in North America


Image of outdoors, water, nature, flare, light, human, person, adventure, leisure activities, sun, skyIce fishing is not for the faint at heart. First you have to brave the weather, then the ice to drop your lines. But if the reward is a delicious trout, perch, whitefish, or more… then we are definitely in! All throughout North America are lakes and rivers that ice over once the temperatures turn cold. Then fishermen and women switch techniques and start ice fishing. If you’ve grown up in this region you’re probably very familiar with the best spots for big fish and big numbers. But if you’re looking to visit, we’ve got the Top 5 Ice Fishing Destinations for you right here… Let’s take a look.

1 Lake Champlain, VT

One of the top producers of successful ice fishing outings is Lake Champlain, located right between New York and Vermont, and even sneaks into Canada a bit. The NY/VT state line splits this long lake in half; it’s a whopping 120 miles long, yet only 14 miles at its widest point. From January to March, Lake Champlain offers phenomenal fishing opportunities for trout, perch, pike, salmon, bluegill, and even walleye in certain conditions. Trout and salmon don’t have any closed season on Lake Champlain. Head north of the Sandbar Causeway to the Inland Sea to get these on the hook. If you’re looking for Northern Pike, favorite fishing grounds include Kelley Bay, Missisquoi Bay, and St. Albans Bay. Head to any shallow bay for perch; and walleyes are found throughout this bountiful lake. It’s almost always a productive day when you’re dropping lines in Lake Champlain!

2 Lake of the Woods, MN

Lake of the Woods is shared by Minnesota as well as Canadian provinces Ontario and Manitoba. It stretches over 70 miles long and contains 14,000+ islands. It’s known as the “Walleye Capital of the World” but also homes largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, trout, muskie, crappie, sturgeon, and much more. There are bag and size regulations for each species, so make sure you’re up-to-date on what you’re allowed to keep. If you’re not sure, a local guide will be happy to help keep you compliant. The season typically runs from December to mid-March on Lake of the Woods. Because the lake is so large, many anglers will set-up houses for the season on the lake, or stay in any number of the nearby hotels and inns. Have a fun and safe ice fishing trip by going with a few buddies; there’s nothing quite like it!

3 Lake Winnebago, WI

The largest lake in Wisconsin definitely gets our attention when it comes to ice fishing. It probably has something to do with the 188 pound sturgeon caught in 2004! Lake Winnebago is a 137,700 acre lake located on the east side of the state near Oshkosh and Appleton. Along with large-sized sturgeon, expect to find perch, white bass, crappie, and walleye in these waters. As the lake ices over, fish head out to the main lake basin. Fishermen and women who move around and drill several holes seem to have better success rates. Also mixing up your presentation will help your numbers. For a truly productive day fishing Lake Winnebago, consider hiring a local ice fishing guide; they’ll have the experience to keep your line busy.

4 Devils Lake, ND

You’ll want to spend at least three days ice fishing when you travel to Devils Lake, North Dakota. The fishing is so good, it’s hard to leave! Devils Lake is located in northeastern North Dakota in Ramsey and Benson counties. It has over 100,000 acres of fishing grounds for anglers to pull in large perch and walleye. Other species found here also include white bass and northern pike; Although the large perch is what brings the crowds. Popular fishing spots include Minnewaukan Flats, Rocky Point, and Cactus Point, to name a few. The locals will advise newcomers not to get stuck in one spot. If something doesn’t bite after 15 minutes, move along to another spot. The fish are on the move, and so should you!

5 Lake Washington, MN

Spending the winter in Minnesota is always an adventure! There’s snowmobiling and a slew of ice excursions for your group. Of course ice fishing is a big draw for anglers around the world. Lake Washington is a productive lake with big fish, perfect for your Minnesota ice fishing adventure. It’s close to Minneapolis, so getting to and from the fishing grounds is easier than other locations on our list. Here you can catch bigmouth buffalo, bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, and northern pike among other species. Lake Washington is about 50 feet deep at its deepest point, with almost 1,500 acres for anglers to find the schools of fish. Head to Baker’s Bay or Crystal Bay for a productive outing.

Your Next Ice Fishing Trip

Celebrate the arrival of cold weather with a fishing trip like no other! Ice fishing is truly an adventure, one for the memory books. Search today for a local ice fishing guide and enjoy the adventure - it’s just a click away!

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