MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you are not a big ice angler, you have been missing out on fishing a frozen lake in the lap of luxury. Today’s portable ice fishing shelters are things of pure beauty and comfort.
And until this season, there was no need to license them because they are towed off the lakes when not in use and therefore, and are not considered a permanent shelter by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
However, the 2017 Legislature changed the law to now include wheeled shelters under and requiring them to be licensed.
At Clearwater’s Outlet Recreation, Ice Castle-brand wheeled fishing shelters are flying off the lot.
“This is not your grandpa’s ice fishing house anymore. It’s not that shack out there,” said Joe Erickson of Outlet Recreation. “It’s not just a fish house anymore. It’s a camper, it’s a hunting shack, it’s everything the family wants, not just necessarily only the ice fisher.”
It is like the literal cabin on wheels, with all the comforts of land.
“The electric bed allows for it to stay out of the way,” Erickson said.
Power-assisted bunk beds, TVs and fireplaces, kitchens and cedar-paneled Johns.
But a recent law change now requires the once “portable” shelters be licensed like any other ice house — creating more revenue for the state.
Weighing a couple of tons, they will need ample ice thickness to safely tow onto the lake.
“It’s the joys of being on the ice, seeing the fish come up the hole,” said an ice angler Logan Klinzman.
So for now, guys like Klinzman will still tug a sled until his newly “licensed” luxury castle becomes his winter retreat.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources redefines portable shelters as ones that fold up, collapse or can be disassembled for transport on and off a lake.
But license fees are not that bad: $16 a year of three years for $43. Click here to buy an ice shelter or fishing license online.