Summer is over, but that doesn’t mean you should pack your fishing gear until the next season. For many anglers, the real fishing season starts in the winter when they can go ice fishing through a few inches of ice.
But where to go ice fishing? The best places to go ice fishing in the U.S include Devil’s Lake in North Dakota, Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, and Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Other popular ice fishing destinations are Lake Champlain, Vermont, Antero Reservoir, Colorado, Higgins Lake, Michigan, and Caste Lake, California.
This article will explore the most popular ice fishing destinations in the U.S. Keep reading to discover what states have the best ice fishing and what is the best month for ice fishing.
Where Can You Go Ice Fishing in the U.S?
Unless you’re skiing, ice fishing is the most exciting activity you can do during the winter. If you’re planning an ice fishing trip, you’re lucky because there are many lakes to choose from.
Here are the best ice fishing destinations in the U.S:
1. Devil’s Lake, North Dakota
Devil’s Lake is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota, with over 180,000 acres to explore. This large lake in North Dakota is home to various fish species, including perch, walleye, northern pike, white bass, and crappie.
The ice fishing season on this lake usually starts in mind-December and lasts until March.
Devil’s Lake is an excellent destination if you want to escape crowds. But there are also bait shops, maps, and experienced guides who can take you on fishing tours if you don’t want to go alone.
2. Lake of Woods, Minnesota
Lake of Woods is located on the border between the United States and Canada. This lake is considered one of the best ice fishing destinations in the world.
After the Great Lakes, the Lake of Woods is the largest freshwater lake in the United States. This lake is home to high populations of walleye, perch, whitefish, northern pike, lake trout, and more.
3. Antero Reservoir, Colorado
Antero Reservoir is located near Denver and is known for its abundant and diverse population of fish species. Large rainbow trout, greenback cutthroat, kokanee salmon, brook trout, brown trout, Snake River cutthroat, and splake call this reservoir home.
Thanks to an abundance of freshwater shrimp, fish living in this lake have the potential to reach trophy sizes early in the season.
4. Lake Champlain, Vermont
Lake Champlain is located in New York and Vermont states and spreads across the Canadian and U.S borders into the Canadian province of Quebec. If you decide to go ice fishing on Lake Champlain, expect to catch bluegill, perch, pike, and the occasional walleye.
The ice fishing season is open from January to March 15 every year. Shanty rentals are easy to find, and you can even purchase ice fishing gear if you need something extra.
What States Have the Best Ice Fishing?
There are many exciting places to go ice fishing in the United States, but some states offer better ice fishing locations than others. Check out the following states if you’re looking for an interesting ice fishing location:
Wisconsin is one of the most popular ice fishing destinations in the US. Covering over 2,000,000 acres, the Green Bay is a basin of Lake Michigan and one of the best ice fishing spots on the planet.
Green Bay is home to some of the biggest walleyes in the state. A few popular walleye fishing spots include Sturgeon Bay, Oconto, and Fox River in De Pere.
Devil’s Lake in North Dakota is a prime ice fishing destination. This large lake is home to a diverse fish population allowing anglers to catch trophy-sized walleye, perch, or pike.
Covering 180,000 acres, Devil’s Lake offers many great spots for fishing and is suitable for anglers looking to get away from the crowds.
Minnesota’s Lake of Woods and Rainy River offers a unique ice fishing experience. Lake of Woods is home to an array of fish species, including large populations of walleye, perch, northern pike, lake trout, and whitefish.
Besides going ice fishing, visitors have access to a wide range of winter services and can stay in warm cabins, motels, condos, or sleeper fish houses.
What Do I Need for Ice Fishing?
Thoughtful planning and preparation will ensure a high level of comfort and personal safety on an ice fishing trip. The best way to ensure your safety and avoid sustaining injuries during ice fishing is to be careful and pack accordingly.
Here’s everything you’ll need for ice fishing:
- Ice fishing rod and reel
- Ice fishing bait and lures
- Ice fishing auger
- Needle-nose pliers
- Rod holders
- Line and terminal tackle
- Live bait
- Ice fishing clothing
- Ice fishing shanties
What Is the Best Month to Ice Fish?
March is the best month for ice fishing in most states located in the snow belt. Regardless of where they are fishing, anglers can’t be sure how ice and snow conditions will impact the access to the lake.
Some years, ice starts to break faster, shortening the ice fishing season in some areas. But other times in some states, ice season extends into early April.
Unless you’re into skiing or snowboarding, ice fishing is the most exciting outdoor activity you can try this winter season. Ice fishing is becoming increasingly popular, and there are many exciting places in the United States where you can go ice fishing.
Besides being home to an array of trophy-size fish and different fish species, these ice fishing destinations also offer other winter services. Whether you’re planning a family ice fishing trip or a solo outing, there are plenty of ice fishing destinations to choose from.
Make sure to pack all the essential ice fishing gear and invest in warm ice fishing clothing, and you’ll be ready for an exciting winter adventure.