10 Best Places to Ice Fish in the U.S.A

If you’re an addicted fisherman that just can’t stop fishing even in the coldest weather, then it’s time to look for an ice fishing spot. 

Picking a good ice fishing spot can be tricky, especially if you’re looking for specific species. Not to mention that not all of them are suitable for novice fishermen. Even if you’re an experienced fisherman, ice fishing can be more challenging than summertime fishing.

Without further ado, let’s check out some of the best places to ice fish in the US.

1. Silver Lake, California

Being one of the most popular ice fishing spots in the Golden State, Silver Lake is famous for hosting the oldest fishing retreat in the region. It’s not uncommon to find a 20″ trout in its deep waters. 

That’s not everything; you’ll also find Cutthroat and Brook at over thousands of feet in Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The remote location means that the areas surrounding the lake are somewhat rural and underdeveloped, which can be both a good and a bad thing depending on your taste.

2. Bay of Quinte, Ontario

For those living near Ontario, your best bet for ice fishing would be Bay of Quinte in the north of Lake Ontario. The bay is known for being home to large walleyes that weigh up to 15 lbs.

Moreover, the bay isn’t that crowded with fishermen, which means less competition for beginners. What’s even better is that there are multiple locations in the area where you can ice fish, namely Hay Bay, the Bellville Bay, the Telegraph Narrows, and the Trenton Bay. You can also check out other nearby lakes in Ontario like Lake Simcoe, Dryberry Lake, or Rainy Lake.

3. Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana

The Fort Peck Reservoir is a huge ice fishing region in Montana with over 1500 miles of shoreline and super deep waters that reach up to 200 feet. The natural scenery there is just breathtaking. The area is remote, so prepare yourself for a long road trip and an excellent adventure. 

The fishing conditions are challenging, so you’ll likely need an adrenaline boost to get through the day. Numerous species live in the waters, reaching up to 50 species in some areas. From walleye and trout to sauger and pike, the Fort Peck Reservoir has something for everyone. It’s an excellent spot for intimate ice fishing away from everyone.

4. Lake Michigan, Michigan

If you’ve ever passed by Lake Michigan, then you’ve probably heard about its beautiful bays and harbors. The area is drowning in walleyes that you can fish for during low-light since it’s the best time to do that. 

One of the best locations there is Milwaukee Harbor, where you can fish huge steelhead and brown trout in wintertime. Head to Green Bay, where you can catch huge walleyes that weigh over 20 pounds or even some whitefish, but it’d be better to go at night if you’re targeting the later. For perch lovers, hit the Chicago harbor. At Lake Michigan, the possibilities are endless!

5. Higgins Lake, Michigan

Another popular ice fishing spot in Michigan is Higgins Lake. With its super deep inland waters, the lake is abundant with fish all year round. The number of species you can fish for is pretty high. You can find trout in the center, while perch and panfish are scattered around the shore. We already brought up the ultimate Michigan lake.

It’s worth mentioning that due to the depth of the water in this lake, its rate of freezing is much slower than other inland lakes in the region. You can hit the lake on Christmas in case it got really cold, but it’d be better to wait until New Year’s Eve just to be on the safe side.

6. Lake Champlain, Vermont

Vermont is one of the most popular ice fishing centers in the United States. Lake Champlain has a long shoreline, extended for 100 miles. It’s also home to a variety of species. The lake is so vast that there are parts of it in New York and Quebec.

There are a ton of locations where you can set up, with each site giving you a completely different experience. Not to mention the allocation of species isn’t the same along the whole shoreline. 

7. Devils Lake, North Dakota

Located in North Dakota, Devils Lake is a must-visit for enthusiastic fishermen. With over 100,000 acres of frozen water, you’ll find numerous species here. From perch and walleye to northern pike and freshwater shrimp, you’ll never guess what you’re going to catch next.

What’s really interesting about Devils Lake is that the winter season there is longer than other regions, which means more ice fishing trips for you. If you’re a fan of huge fish, there are several types of fish in Devils Lake with enormous sizes. However, the lake is mostly known for being a perch fishery.

If you want to upgrade your trip into a more sophisticated experience, you can get accommodation and guidance at a low price. The people who work there are friendly, and they’ll even provide you with a heated portable fish house, bait, and more equipment.

8. Chambers Lake and Antero Reservoir, Colorado

Colorado is yet another popular ice fishing destination in the US on our list. The Rocky Mountains and ski slopes surrounding the region turns your ice fishing trip into a fantastic adventure. You’ll feel as if you’re stuck in a beautiful landscape scene.

There are two locations to ice fish in Colorado: Chambers Lake and Antero reservoir. Antero Reservoir is an excellent spot to fish for trouts. You’ll find a considerable number of trout species there, with the most popular one being the large rainbow trout. On the other hand, Chambers Lake is abundant with Kokanee Salmon if that’s what you’re looking for.

9. Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

What makes Lake Winnebago unique as a winter ice fishing location is the diversity of species you can find in its waters, including walleye, perch, and sturgeon. 

Anglers just love to hit the shores of Lake Winnebago during the sturgeon-spearing season, which is why the lake is so popular. 

The experience in Lake Winnebago is like no other. First, the angler uses an ice saw to cut through the ice; then, he waits in a spearing house for the exotic fish to swim by and catch it. There are even huge Sturgeons that are given away as a prize every season.

10. Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba

It’s a no brainer to include Lake Winnipeg on our list. Located in Manitoba, this lake is a great spot to fish walleye in wintertime, especially those greenback walleyes that are so easy to catch.

Additionally, there are mid-sized species that are also not that hard to catch, making the lake a good place for beginners to fish. The lake is divided into regions that vary in difficulty. If you want to try something a bit challenging, go for the southern region. Just make sure to prepare your heavy-duty gear before going there.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an ice fishing newbie or a professional, you’ve probably found a few places on our list that suit your taste and experience level. Now it’s time to prepare your gear for a new adventure!