The winter season is around the corner; if you are an ice fishing fan, you must have started planning for your next ice fishing expedition.
Have you considered going for ice fishing at unknown locations in United States ?
Here in this article, I am going to cover the places that have the potential to give you memories to cherish for your lifetime.
I’ll introduce you to the best ice fishing locations In United States. And after having the adequate knowledge about these places, I am sure; you will have a plethora of choices to opt for.
Just to let you folks know, we have distributed the whole article into States >> and Lakes. This will aid you to choose the best ice fishing location near you with no hassle.
What is the best Ice Fishing Lakes in United States?
Picture this; it is snowing profusely, the weathermen have forecasted sub-zero temperatures for the next few days. In such circumstances, most people would not try to leave the comfort of their homes.
However, ice fishing enthusiasts eagerly wait for such weather. If you one belongs to the league of such adventurous people and are residing in the USA, the below-mentioned places are undoubtedly a boon for your ice fishing campaign.
1. Lake Michigan
There cannot be a better place for ice fishing enthusiasts. The location is always buzzing with people from the nearby states. Due to this, there are ample amenities available for you.
You can afford to make a long-term trip and plan your ice fishing as you will find resorts to put up your stay. Marinas, bays, and harbors the nearby areas of Lake Michigan have them all.
Ice fishing fans vary, some of them go for the sport just for the sake of having unbound fun, while the serious anglers would not be content until they catch a prized bargain.
Lake Michigan offers all the resources for which a fisherman craves. You can expect to lay your hands upon species like salmon, trout and much more. Therefore, you will have enough reasons to feel relaxed and content during your stay here.
2. Saginaw Bay
If capturing fish is your primary motto and you do not want to sit idly, the Saginaw Bay should be your ideal destination.
This place is known as the Great Lake Fishing Area. Just give a damn to the weather conditions and the forecasts, keep your fingers crossed for catching hoards of fishes. You will possibly not find better quality perch at any other place.
You may be having a bad day at the office, and the perch fish you were anticipating never comes. No issues, there are plenty of bluegills, crappie, and walleyes waiting to fit inside your ice bucket.
The best part, you can hire professional guides who are familiar with the best ice fishing spots.
3. Manistique Lakes
Hi, are you amongst the fortunate few whose family also love participating in the winter activities braving the chill?
Then think no further and head off to the Manistique Lakes. The place has three reasonably shallow mid-sized lakes.
The area is renowned for ice-related activities like skiing, snowmobiling and many more. As for the ice fishing enthusiasts, be ready to catch a bucket full of panfish, walleyes, and northern pike, musky and bass.
Looking to carry forward the legacy of ice fishing by giving a lesson to your kids? Bring them along; they will love this.
4. Bay de Noc
Ice fishing is a sport that serves the dual purpose. One of them being, experiencing the adventure of sitting over an upturned bucket or inside the shanty which is priceless, but for the foodies catching their favorite fish would guarantee a heavenly delight for dinner.
Bay de Noc is one such destination for those who love fish delicacies which they captured during the ice fishing. It is fondly called the hotspot for walleyes.
Ice fishing on this northern bay of Lake Michigan packs a punch. Be well prepared to encounter several shallow rock reefs where walleyes are abundant.
For those who do not know, this place is also known for the burbot which drastically resembles the lobster.
5. Lake Gogebic
If you can travel all the way up to the vast Upper Peninsula, Lake Gogebic beckons you for an unforgettable experience of ice fishing.
Again, this is an ideal destination where you can go with your family. The abundance of perch will excite you for sure. You can plan for the seasonal ice fishing at The Timbers. Once you are there, your chances of catching a jumbo-sized perch or walleye or crappie are almost guaranteed, as you will not have to compete with other anglers.
Generally, this place is less populated with ice fishers. Ice fishing professionals will be further excited to participate in the annual ice fishing derby.
1. Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin
Does size matter to you? Even if it doesn’t, imagine the feeling when you somehow manage to catch a sturgeon weighing more than 150lbs. Did your eyes light up hearing this?
Then look no further and head straight towards the Lake Winnebago. Additionally, this place is also known for its abundant perch and walleye.
Well, you are not alone, the desire to catch a giant size sturgeon lures thousands of ice fishing enthusiasts to this place. Generally, the anglers make use of some special ice saws for cutting squares and anticipate a giant sturgeon.
Undoubtedly, the genuine ice fishing enthusiasts would not like to miss out on this opportunity. So, make sure, you keep Lake Winnebago on your go-to list.
2. Mondeaux Flowage
If you ask the seasoned ice fishing professionals, they will agree, Wisconsin is the best place for ice fishing.
As you reach here, you will fall in love with the scenic beauties of the area. For the passionate ice fishing fanatic, Mondeaux Flowage in and Chequamegon National Forest can be their dream location. So, put on some warm clothing, grab a reel and make your plans to visit this location.
The place is generally isolated, so you must not forget to take a snowmobile or snowshoe during your visit. You can expect plenty of northern pikes, crappie, and panfish.
Additionally, you can also find musky, and largemouth in large numbers.
3. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin
The park has always been a favorite spot for both the ice fishing enthusiasts and recreation lovers.
Rest assured, if you decide to go for ice fishing at Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin you will be in for a treat. You can socialize with the fellow anglers; you will soon find, some of them have been ice fishing two or three times a week.
You will discover fishers are pouring in from the neighboring states, some even go the extent and bring fish cookers.
The best time to visit this place is mid-February. You can expect catching perch, crappie, and bluegills.
In North Dakota:
1. Devil’s Lake, North Dakota
The Devil’s Lake is one of the best ice fishing locations. It is called the ice fishing paradise for all the right reasons.
Witness a mammoth 100,000 plus acres of frozen water that has abundant yellow perch. The USP of Devil’s Lake is the size of the perches. You can expect to hook a 2-pound perch during the peak season. You can also get walleyes and northern pikes in plentiful.
Here is one tip, when you decide to try your luck at this location, remember to carry a shiner on a spoon or tip-down, considering the size of the fishes you have to deal with.
The Rocky Point, Cactus Point, and Minnewaukan Flats are few of the best spots where you should consider drilling the holes to strike ice fishing treasure.
The novices of ice fishing can hire the local guides for additional help. Generally, you can avail their services for which you have to pay them.
1. Lake of the Woods, Minnesota
The Lake of the Woods is another ice fishing destination that covers more than 65,000 miles of shoreline. The place prides itself on being one of the best fisheries in the country.
There are over 40 fishing resorts nearby. Therefore, you can bring your family along to enjoy the ice fishing experience with you.
During the winter months, the place becomes abuzz, as anglers and visitors tend to increase. Anglers simply can’t resist the temptation of capturing the super-sized walleyes, northern pike and lake trout. I bet, after your first visit, you will be keen to re-visit the place.
Lake of the Woods lies in the Minnesota-Ontario border. If you prefer the northern pike and walleyes, make sure you are drilling the holes in the Minnesota side of the lake. You can be sure to carry an ice bucket that is full of fishes at the end of the day.
2. Lake Washington
When you happen to meet a professional ice fishing fanatic and inquire if they have ever participated in an ice fishing contest, most of them will tell you about their experiences of the Lake Washington.
Each year, this place organizes the Big Bobber ice fishing contest. There are some grand and lucrative prizes on the stake, so along with the expectations to catch a trophy size crappie, many anglers visit this place to try their luck.
Lake Washington is only about an hour’s drive from in the western side of Minneapolis. It is the best place to be for ice fishing or to participate in the contest if you wish.
3. Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
As a serious ice fishing enthusiast, you will always be looking to be a notch above than others. You are even ready to take the grind for this. When you have the option to choose various spots, the chances of a good catch increases substantially.
The Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota is one such location. You can immediately switch from one place to the other if the fishes are not falling for your bait. It is a vast area, and you can quickly drive around North Tamarac, Pine, Two Island and Waboose Lakes for selecting a better location.
The place offers you abundant choices, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, and perch are very commonly available here.
But do remember, vehicles are not permissible on the ice, and you cannot leave ice shelters overnight. Undoubtedly, you will cherish the experience of fishing here.
4. Leech Lake
While searching for the top ice fishing destinations, I was glad to become familiar with places that host annual competitions for ice fishing. I know this is something that no ice fishing enthusiasts would want to miss out.
The Leech Lake is also one such ice fishing destination where you can participate in the eelpout (burbot) festival. Be ready though; your competition can be amongst 100,000 anglers.
If you are not a fan of the eelpout, you have the option of competing for glory by catching some good-sized walleye or perch. Yes, you guessed it right; the Leech Lake also hosts a competition for catching these fishes as well.
5. Red Lake
The Red Lake is a favorite ice fishing location for the walleye lovers. The Red Lake will give you the impression of a shallow basin, and during the extreme chilly conditions, the walleyes become super-active under the ice.
Of course, you also have the chance to hook up other species of fish like panfish and perch.
The Red Lake ice fishing destination is not a place where you can take your family with you, as the authorities do not encourage large groups and multiple house reservations. So, make sure, you are aware of the rules and regulations before setting out for ice fishing to avoid disappointment.
1. Antero Reservoir
Colorado is yet another place for the adventure loving ice fishing people. The presence of the Rocky Mountains has some mind-boggling spots for ice fishing. Among many such locations, The Antero Reservoir is the best place to be if you are looking to fill your buckets with trout.
The preferable species is the abundant rainbow trout; you can, however, get many more varieties of trout. The Antero Reservoir is only about a 100 miles from the city of Denver.
Till the year 2015, ice fishing contest was organized at the Antero Reservoir, The prize winners, bagged huge fishes. Just goes to show the potential this place has for ice fishing enthusiasts.
Though the contest is now closed (at the time writing this guide), as the draining for maintenance is on at the location, you can still ice fish and catch the fishes of your favor.
2. Chambers Lake
All the ice fishing enthusiasts prepare in advance for the type of fish they are going to go after.
Walleye, perch, bluegill, crappie are some of the familiar names. In case, you are looking for something exceptional like the cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and the rarely found kokanee salmon; you should pack your bags and visit the 250-acre long Chambers Lake.
Even if you are not lucky to catch the species mentioned above, you will undoubtedly get the lake trout. The sizes of these lake trout will make you feel proud.
You got to bend your back though, as most of these species can be found lurking deep inside the lake.
3. Eleven Mile Reservoir
Here is one more alternative, in case, you are not able to make it to the Chambers Lake.
The Eleven Mile Reservoir offers you an extensive fishing area of 3400-acre. Expect to find excellent sized rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout and yet again the prized kokanee salmon.
You have the convenience to check the updated fishing reports and ice conditions online. Accordingly, make your plans.
However, do not be too optimistic about catching the kokanee salmon, very few ice fishing enthusiasts have so far managed to lay their hands on them.
6. Chatfield Reservoir
You only need to reach the city of Denver, from here; you will have easy access to yet another massive reservoir in Colorado.
The 1100-acre Chatfield Reservoir is the most populated fishing ground for anglers. The reservoir is the host for both the warm weather fishing and ice fishing.
Understandably, when you have so much space to hunt, you will always have enough space to lure the bait after drilling the hole. You will reap huge dividends if you are patient.
At the end of the day, when you show off the 18-25 inches rainbow trout or a two-foot-long walleye, you will be in the limelight. Those who do not have the patience can expect to catch bluegills and crappie.
7. Crawford Reservoir
The Crawford Reservoir is a perfect location for not only the ice fishing fanatics but also for their families. The 390-acre reservoir is comparatively smaller in size in comparison to some of the other ice fishing locations.
You can have a great time between the period of January to March catching species like rainbow trout, yellow perch, crappie, and northern pike.
In most of the important ice fishing locations of Colorado, you will find bait shops, so you do not need to carry the bait from your home. Crawford Reservoir does require a fishing license, so make sure you have got it.
8. Lake Granby
When you set your eyes upon the vast 7,250 acres, Lake Granby, your eyes are going to light up.
While inquiring about the type of species available here, you must have come across the 32-inches long trout. Of course, with the right technique and homework, you can boast of catching one too.
You do have more than 40 miles of shoreline to find a suitable spot for fishing. Preferably, the month of January is the period when most of the anglers flock into the Lake Granby.
The Three-Lakes Ice Fishing Contest is one of the prime attractions during the ice fishing season. If you happen to be a seasoned ice fisher, you can enroll in this completion and stand a chance to win.
9. Twin Lake Reservoirs
The 2,700-acre twin bodies of water are a perfect destination for ice fishing enthusiasts. One of the prime attractions is the Leadville Rod and Gun Club’s annual February Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby.
There are a lot of species awaiting to bite your bait, which includes the brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, longnose sucker, snake river cutthroat, and white sucker.
The Twin Lake Reservoir is one of the best places to be if you want to enhance your repertoire of the fishing experience.
1. Lake Champlain
Ice fishing enthusiasts will find the Lake Champlain an enriching experience. One of the characteristics of this place is, the fishing experience is somewhat unpredictable. Thus, it is not possible to speculate, which species of fish you are going to catch on a particular day.
Perch, bluegill, northern pike and sometimes the walleye are some of the species you can expect to hook. The ice fishing season generally begins at January and continues till the middle of March.
If necessary, you can seek the help of the local experts for guiding you in the ice fishing expedition.
You can get all the essential amenities, like renting shanties or gears at affordable prices. Come and experience the beauty of ice fishing at Lake Champlain.
2. Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Vermont
If someone told you about the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Vermont and you are unsure about its location, you should know, they are referring to the Lake Champlain as it is also known by this name.
The location houses more than 81 species of fishes, among them about twenty of them are sought by the ice fishing enthusiasts.
The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Vermont has also become a popular destination for fishing derbies. Before you go for ice fishing make sure, you have got a fishing license.
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
This ice fishing destination is known as one of the coolest places for ice fishing. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has a lot on offer apart from ice fishing.
The scenic beauties and the natural wildlife is a bonus. Ice fishing fanatics should grab the opportunity as soon as they get a chance to visit this place.
Salmon and trout are the most populous species here. You will be delighted to know; you do not require a snowmobile to reach the fishing spots.
The ice fishing locations are accessible to all the vehicles. Such conveniences are going to boost the spirit of the anglers.
Fort Peck Lake — Montana
There are genuine reasons for which a place is called heaven. The Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana is such a heaven for the ice fishing lovers.
The reservoir is vast, covering 1500 miles of shoreline. You can expect depths up to 200 feet. The reservoir is a delight for every angler who brave the chill and expect some exceptional catches.
More than 50 kinds of fish species are present in this reservoir. Experienced anglers aim for the 12-pound walleye, 20-pound pike, and 25-pound lakers.
The place is not often overcrowded; therefore this place should be in your “must visit” list.
Silver Lake, California
Surely, your love for ice fishing will help you to defy the barriers that may appear in the way. The reason I said this, despite being one of the best ice fishing locations, it is not easy to reach the Silver Lake.
Firstly, the location of the lake is at more than 7,000 feet, and the adjoining areas are underdeveloped. However, if you can manage to reach the lake, you are in for a fabulous ice fishing extravaganza.
Expect to catch trout more than 20-inches long, Mackinaw trout that is more than 20-pounds, and plenty of brook and cutthroat.
Strawberry Reservoir, Utah
The Strawberry Reservoir or the Lake Erie is the perfect hot spot for ice fishing enthusiasts who aim big. The reservoir generally remains abuzz with tourists from all over the world during the winter months, as this place offers a host of winter sporting activities.
As an angler, you will love the reservoir as it is renowned for the large trout. You will seldom return empty-handed at the end of the day.
The place can also be called one of the ideal locations for the novices of ice fishing to brush up their skills. The cutthroat and rainbow trout are also widely available here.
The first-timers will fall in love with the adventure of ice fishing after visiting this location. Plan a trip to the Strawberry Reservoir in the coming months. January-March is the best time to be there.
Oneida Lake, New York
I guess the ice fishing lovers leave no stone unturned for gathering information on the best places for reliving their passion.
I am sure, you have come across the name of Oneida Lake, not able to recollect?
The name Walleye Lake should be familiar to you, and it is none other than the Oneida Lake. The lake is spread over a whopping 51,000 acres; anglers have a wide range of choices. Bluegill, crappie, smallmouth, largemouth, yellow perch, and walleye are plentiful in this location.
The preferable spot to drop in your ice shelter is Big Bay; this is a place which is known for many varieties of fish.
Now, you have the most comprehensive information about the best ice fishing lakes in the Unites States.
Yes, it will take some time before you can sort out the best locations where you want to find yourself in the next ice fishing expedition.
But after reading this, you can be sure, the locations as mentioned above will not disappoint you.
So, do not waste your precious time. Get to the nearest ice fishing location for an unbelievable experience.