As leaves are crunching underfoot, many Minnesotans are thinking about the cold weather that is sure to move in soon. Most will be digging out the snow shovels and thinking about the various inconveniences that winter tends to bring. That’s far from the case for anglers and fishing resorts on Lake Mille Lacs. Here at The Red Door Resort, we are gearing up for the season where we once again get to update a Lake Mille Lacs ice report and dig into another fun season of ice fishing! With that being said, those that aren’t familiar with Mille Lacs winters may have a few questions, and we are here to answer a few of them.
When Does Mille Lacs Freeze Over?
It always feels like winter closes in quickly, but just how long does it take for Lake Mille Lacs to freeze? Although many Mille Lacs ice report updates will say there is ice forming a little earlier in the season, the lake doesn’t typically freeze shore to shore until mid-December. November is when you will typically see ice forming and a few anglers try to get first crack at the ice, but they are usually the ones you see on the news with their truck halfway underwater. It’s usually best to just wait it out and watch the Mille Lacs ice report for how thick the ice is getting before you head out.
What is an Ice Road?
The first time most people hear about ice roads, they aren’t quite sure of just what they are. Which is completely understandable as most areas of the country don’t have seasonal roads that create a temporary community of ice house neighborhoods on an entire lake every year. Ice roads are quite literally roads that are created over the ice every year. Many locals, fishing resorts, and ice fishing fanatics help form these interesting roads every year.
The ice freezes over the entire lake with thicknesses of 2-4 feet with a good layer of snow on top, and plows cut wide paths to help anglers navigate the ice. Whether you are in a truck, sherp, or snowmobile, these ice roads are the best way to get to your fish house on Mille Lacs. The Red Door Resort has a network of ice roads that we form and maintain throughout the season for easy access to all of our ice fishing house rentals, member-owned fish houses, and weekend wheelhouses. The Red Door Resort provides access to on the lake right from the shore.
What Should I Pack for Winter on Mille Lacs?
This is a question that many have when preparing for their first experience of a Minnesota winter. The weather can vary from day to day, but overall, the more layers you have the better. Winter boots, thick socks, hat, gloves, and a heavy jacket, should definitely be at the top of your list. If you are staying in one of our heated sleeper ice houses, you probably won’t need snow pants, but they are always a good idea for if you want to explore outside or catch the northern lights at night.
Long underwear or thermal wear underclothes are perfect for when temperatures really dip as we get further into the season through January and early February. Another tip for winter at lake resorts in MInnesota, you can never have too many sweatshirts. Layers are absolutely key because as the temperature fluctuates, you can adjust accordingly. Not to mention, there is always the chance that your sleeves will get wet while ice fishing, so having something dry to change into is important to ensure comfort. It’s also a good idea to avoid fabrics that hold moisture. Other than clothing, packing things like snacks, beverages, fishing gear that is specific to ice fishing, a blanket or two, and other comfort items are pretty much up to your discretion. Everyone’s idea of necessity varies a bit.
Winter at Lake Resorts in Minnesota
Winter is one of our favorite seasons at The Red Door Resort because we absolutely can’t wait to get back out on the ice every year. We have a number of fish house rental options for those that want to fish during the day and sleep on land, as well as ice castles for a cozy night out on the ice for the opportunity to snag those late night catches in comfort. Winter at lake resorts in Minnesota is something Mille Lacs is known for, so don’t miss the opportunity to experience it this year. Keep an eye out for the Lake Mille Lacs ice report and head to the lake this winter!