As winter fishing is in full swing in small towns across the ice belt, Shantytowns start popping up throughout the great white north. Here are MTB’s 2017 Top 5 Ice Fishing Towns:
1. Isle MN – Lake Mille Lacs
In the land of 10,000 lakes you’d think it’d be tough to pick out a favorite fishing hole. But, surprisingly, this is not the case for many Minnesotans. Lake Mille Lacs, or the ‘Big Pond,’ will be at the top of the list for a ton of anglers, and for good reason. Mille Lacs is a 207 square mile lake of fishing. As a fishery, it produces more walleye than all the state’s hatcheries combined. This excellent resource is a significant contributor to the state economy and it helps dran in anglers from all over.
2. Devils Lake – North Dakota
Damming the Missouri River into what in now know as Devils Lake is one of the best things North Dakota has ever done. This lake is a true multi-species angler’s paradise. Much like the fish found within the lake, devils lake continues to steadily expand, swallowing thousands of acres. The abundance of freshwater shrimp forage allows the lake’s fish to grow into true monsters. The yellow lake perch are so big it’s almost unfair… almost. Two pound perch are not unheard of, and can be caught throughout the winter months. Fishing a lake of this size can be difficult, so investing in a hired guide might help a Devils Lake noob maximize their day on the water.
3. Barrie Ontario Ice Fishing Towns – Lake Simcoe
Just outside the bustling city limits of Toronto, Ontario lays Lake Simcoe in Barrie, Ontario. For a pressured metro lake, Lake Simcoe fishes like a lake only you and your buddies know about. Whether you’re interested in giant smallmouth or a jumbo perch Lake Simcoe should be at the top of your list. Fishing in a crowd may not be at the top of your list but honestly, it doesn’t matter on Simcoe, that’s how many fish are in this lake.
4. Kenora Ontario – Lake Of The Woods
Often considered the mecca of ice fishing, Lake of The Woods should be on all hard water anglers bucket list. The vast shoreline combined with over 14,000 islands allow you to never fish the same spot twice. This lake boasts an incredible musky, walleye, sauger and bass fishery. During the winter months walleye and sauger are the main target species and anglers can expect a hot bite almost all season long. Pro-Tip: Leave out out a tip-up with a big sucker and you’ll likely catch a true trophy fish.
5. Osh Kosh – Lake Winnebago Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s largest inland lake is not only one of the most awesome ice fishing towns, and is a flat out fish factory. This shallow water lake freezes solid and develops its own ‘shanty town’ during winter months. The lake offers an abundant walleye, perch and white bass population but what really makes this lake unique is the abundance of Lake Sturgeon. Osh Kosh is one of the few ice fishing towns in America where non-natives are able to spear a sturgeon through the ice which is a true testament to the abundance of ice fishing opportunities that are offered.