Boosted this season by an early, prolonged cold snap, Minnesota’s ice fishing scene continues to grow in step with the popularity of so-called “wheel houses,” tow-behind fish houses that increasingly resemble RVs.
“Business is booming for us,” said Chad Hiepler, office manager of Montevideo-based Ice Castle Fish Houses.
“We’ve been in it for 10 years and we’re still growing every year,” said Mike Draper, sales and marketing manager for Yetti Outdoors, maker of a competing, aluminum-framed fish house on wheels.
Ice Castle’s double-axle, 30-foot-long “King’s Castle” sells for $43,500 and comes with two slide-out walls and an isolated bedroom. You need at least a three-quarter-ton vehicle to command the towing.
Yetti’s equally long “Grand Escape” features a cooking range, water heater, electric fireplace and wall space for a 43-inch TV.
Products from both companies now carry RV certification. Air conditioners for summer use have become ubiquitous. But ice fishing remains at the heart of the movement, and state fisheries managers keep tabs as wheel houses continue to bring new angling pressure to certain lakes.
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