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81Saluki

Why rent an ice-house?

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81Saluki

Let me start this post by saying that hunting and fishing are entirely different sports. I know that. And the business models are different for the "hosts". But -- as far as I'm concerned -- when paying someone to find the quarry, the differences end … the hosts/guides are being paid to put us on birds/fish. Whether or not we shoot or catch something is up to us … but their job is to give us a chance to do so.

The purpose of this post is to point out the difference between my recent experiences with hunting and ice-fishing hosts and why -- given an either/or choice -- I'd spend my hard-earned money to pay to go hunting instead of ice-fishing. Maybe the ice-fishing people will learn something from this because I'd really like to try it again, if given certain assurances. For what it's worth … it doesn't matter what operator I talk to or what quarry I'm after … EVERYONE SAYS they "work their butt off" to make their customers happy.

ICE FISHING: I've rented a shanty from two different resorts and have yet to *SEE* a fish under the shack (running a vex and underwater cam 24/7 during our weekend stays). Furthermore, neither operator checked on us to see how we were doing.

HUNTING: They told us where to go and either guided us or monitored our progress. If the birds weren't there, they moved us to another location. At the end of the hunt, we saw more than enough birds to get our limit. NOTE: All birds were wild, not pen-raised & planted.

I'd really like to rent an ice-fishing shack again. But I won't do it without certain assurances. Specifically, the operator must stop by early-morning on Saturday to see how I'm doing. If I haven't *SEEN* a fish, then they should offer to move the shack (or me) to another location where fish have been sighted/caught. Granted this would be on an honor system and some people would probably abuse it … but for someone like me, it's a critical point. And my tip ($$) would prove it!!!!

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LightningBG

I must admit, I've never had much luck renting a shack either. We end up just sitting around, playing cards and getting tipsy. (my experiences have been on Mille Lacs and Whinni)

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Get'n Jiggy

You guys should give LOW a try. I know what you're saying about MilleLacs

But you'll find LOW a whole different program. Wigwam would be a good place to start. 2c

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Dylan33

The difference here is that with Ice fishing, you are renting a shack that the reort placed on a piece of ice. You can pay a guide to take you ice fishing, and you'll have a lot more luck. Ice shack rentals are no more than a place to go to passively fish and have some fun. If you want to actually be put on fish, hire a guide and go chase the fish.

I'm not sure about with hunting, but I assume you hire a hunting guide, not just renting a piece of land to hunt on.

long story longer...ice chack rental is just that...renting a shack..hire a guide to be put on fish, just as you hire a guide to be put on birds while hunting

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LightningBG

long story longer...ice chack rental is just that...renting a shack..hire a guide to be put on fish, just as you hire a guide to be put on birds while hunting

If I wanted to just "rent a shack" I could probably find a lot cheaper place on shore. Since I cant move the shack, I'm expecting a chance as some fish, even just a glimmer of hope. I've been in shacks where out of 4-6 people we literally didn't catch a single fish for 3 days. And these are experienced fisherman we're talking about. Sure we could take out the portables, but then why not just get a hotel in town.

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tacklejunkie

You guys should give LOW a try. I know what you're saying about MilleLacs

But you'll find LOW a whole different program. Wigwam would be a good place to start. 2c

Second that

I did a rental on LOTW with some guys and it was fun

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JohnMickish

It's all been said, you can rent a shack or rent a guide, the two are not the same. If you go on price alone you get what you paid for. To catch fish thru the ice it really helps to be on a lake that can produce fish. Mille Lacs can produce tons of fish if your in the right spot and do your research, but by renting a shack your not doing that.

LOW or URL pump out fish like a factory. If you want to catch fish in a rented shack maybe look somewhere else, but if you want to do the work Mille Lacs is as good a place as any.

For what it's worth, I rent a shack up on LOW every year and have never come away without a dinner and a limit. There have been bad days but there have also been 50 fish days.

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Raider4ever

I know the guys at River Bend (I know I can say this because I saw the banner up above) up at LOW check on you at least once a day and will move you. If I were to rent an ice house, I would go to LOW. Mille Lacs is a factory, but LOW is a freaking factory right now.

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JohnMickish

I will say that there are places on Mille Lacs that do move their houses quit often and some places check in on you, but not all. When you are making your reservations make sure to ask these questions before you put the money down.

For what it's worth, last year while staying at River Bend up on LOW, they checked in on my three times to make sure we where doing good.

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highlife4me

I have rented from 2 places on Mille Lacs. 4 nights 0 fish. Have stayed at LOW the last 4 years at three different resorts - More fish than I would care to count. Only reason for staying at three differnt resorts is that my wife likes to try differnt places. No complaints for any of the LOW resorts. Mille Lacs on the other hand - wife said we should have stayed at a motel instead!

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LovenLifeGuy

Jakes at the nw angle. You will get all of those you asked for and with nobody else around. and some home made bread!

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BrdHunter01

Ice fishing on Mille Lacs is VERY tough! Don't go there planning to catch fish in the winter. Consider a fish up the ice hole a "bonus" If you ask me, after the 1st 2 weeks of fishable ice you might as well forget about it. If you want to catch fish on Mille Lacs do so during open water. This weekend was great. Friday night treated us very well sat was a lot slower do to the weather. And the fish are literally FULL of tullibees. They really plump up in the fall and it seems they just don't bite in the winter.

If your looking to catch fish over the ice hole choose a different lake or go try to find them urself. Don't sit at home and complain about it 2c

BTW: There are tons of fish in there. To tell you the truth I would rather NOT see a single fish then see HUNDREDS of walleyes sniff your bait. Its very discouraging

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Dale_Gribble

Im just gona have to say you've gone to the wrong places. My experiences in ice fishing have always been enjoyable. I mean if nobodys catching fish on the lake its kind of hard to fault the owners.

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JoeTC

81Saluki,

You are comparing apple to oranges...a hunting guide is equivalent to a fishing guide, an ice house rental is eqivalent to renting a hunting shack where you'd have to scout and find game on your own. The reason people rent ice houses is for the enjoyment of staying on the ice all day/night and most resorts attempt to put them in fish producing areas but they aren't there to make sure you catch fish. If you want to catch fish hire a guide or bring a portable and go find fish other places during your trip.

Joe

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Raider4ever

Fine. You are a "tenant" renting space from a "landlord". But, if the landlord keeps his rentals in "bad neighborhoods", doesn't check on his tenants, and charges high rent, tenants will quit renting. It's called "customer service" and LOW resorts have it in spades.

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Norm1980

Myself & 3 of my friends rented an ice house on Mille Lacs last year and had one 16" walleye thru the ice in two days(which we released anyway). There was 10" of water on top of the ice below the house, so you know it hadn't been moved recently. That said we had a great trip probably cause we weren't expecting to catch all that many fish, just a weekend of cards and drinking with the remote chance of a few walleyes. If your looking first at catching fish you should like mentioned above be fishing URL or lake of the woods. I will also add the couple rentals I've stayed in on mille lacs have been some of the nicest/biggest Ice houses Ive ever stayed in.

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Ryan_V

81Saluki,

You are comparing apple to oranges...a hunting guide is equivalent to a fishing guide, an ice house rental is eqivalent to renting a hunting shack where you'd have to scout and find game on your own. The reason people rent ice houses is for the enjoyment of staying on the ice all day/night and most resorts attempt to put them in fish producing areas but they aren't there to make sure you catch fish. If you want to catch fish hire a guide or bring a portable and go find fish other places during your trip.

Joe

My thoughts exactly

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scott b

Rented a shack once with five other guys. Got there at 1:30PM For the twenty four hour thing. Would have caught more fish if we could have been more quiet. Door slamming from guys going in and out all night (and early morning) every one left early and I started to see and cath perch. Somthing to think about.

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ryan p

Looking for some great ice action give Big Winnie a try, the ice fishing is great here. Between the walleyes and jumbo perch its great action. I am always prefishing my locations and checking in with customers a few times a day. We also offer discounts for HSO members.

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HNTNBUX

I quite renting ice houses on the lake and choose to fish out of my portable and stay in a cabin or hotel. Even on Red Lake the fishing out of the ice houses is not that impressive compared to being in a portable. All things considered when it is time to fish I want to fish hard. When I am done fishing I don't want to look at an ice hole I want to eat fish, drink beer and shoot the oooo, then get up and do it again.

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Norm1980

Looking for some great ice action give Big Winnie a try, the ice fishing is great here. Between the walleyes and jumbo perch its great action. I am always prefishing my locations and checking in with customers a few times a day. We also offer discounts for HSO members.

Ryan,

My self and a couple friends are looking to make the trip to Winnie this winter. I have fished Winnie before once but that was in summer, so my knowledge of the lake in winter is limited to say the least. My question is if we bringin up our own ice house do you ever (for a fee obviously) work with groups who stay in their own house? none of us currently own portables so we would be fishing mainly out of the ice castle unless the weather is decent.

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ryan p

Norm, I will work with your group on getting you on some fish, send me a email and I will let you know what I can do.

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Walleyehooker

Mille Lacs isnt the lazy mans winter walleye factory.It is clear water so the best action is usually at low light or dark periods unless you know the lake well and are willing to run and gun during the day time.It is also loaded with structure and thats where most houses are placed and where the fish move in to feed in the evening and night.That usually puts a lot of houses in small areas which means a lot of traffic and noise and fishing pressure.I always tell people if you are going to rent a house on ML rent a nice one so at least you are comfortable because the action isnt going to be fast and furious.People also dont jig nearly enough on ML.Droping a line down the hole and leaving it set wont get you much action.I jig almost constantly when I fish for eyes no matter where I am fishing.

On the other hand LOW is more of a lazy mans winter fishery.The south shore is a bowl with hardly any structure.Dirty water with limited visibility means the fish are feeding during the day and are usually more than willing to bite if they find your bait.It also has Saugers that are very active during the winter.

ML is a good summer destination for walleyes but very rarely compares to LOW in the winter.Some houses tend to be nicer on ML but in a lot of cases they rarely move and service from some resorts is minimal.LOW the day houses arent much but 4 walls a roof and a heater and a few chairs.But some resorts up there are always on the move and check on the people regularily.As always no resort is the same and some may do a better job than others.Ive been fishing both lakes for over 30 years and as always expierience helps.LOW is a long drive but if you are only going once or twice a winter and want a memorable trip and almost guaranteed to catch some fish drive the extra miles.

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dfv87

Hey guys, quit knocking the ML resorts. I have rented 3-4 times from Paul (Appledoorns) and every time he has checked on us (or one of his crew has). Fishing was not always fast and furious but we always have caught some fish. I have brought in "Southern" folks from IA and MO and they loved it at Appledoorns.

Paul even let us follow him out scouting some spots to move houses and take clients on an off day for him.

Note to the lazy fishermen like me, Paul covers alot of area when he is chasing a Perch bite... man, does he drill tons of holes!

All I am saying is the ML resort guys should not be lumped together, some are really working at it. If you want somebody's best effort call Paul at Appledoorns.

Dale Vogl Becker MN

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Norm1980

Norm, I will work with your group on getting you on some fish, send me a email and I will let you know what I can do.

Email sent

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Willy

If you want to catch fish out of a rental on Mille Lacs, find the guys that are renting wheel houses and moving them often. I know a few guys that do this and their clients get on em.

Those big resort skidders that get put out on the same community spots year after year rarely catch squat and never have. I have been fishing ML in the winter for quite a few years and the boys that put them on the ice are fishing fresh holes all the time on structure that hasn't been fished yet or has seen VERY little pressure.

Rent a shack and use it as a base camp for portable missions or find someone that is on the move more often and you will get them. Every piece of structure on that lake holds fish, you just have to be the first one on that structure or the biters have already been hoovered out.

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