Tis the season to reflect on and be grateful for…your family!
You know it.
We know it.
Ice season at The Red Door Resort is approaching – FAST!
So here’s everything you need to know to make sure you’re prepared for your ice fishing trip to Mille Lacs Lake this winter.
While we wait for the ice to freeze, we better get our gear ready! Better now when we have time to kill and warm hands than when we’re on the ice, right?
If ice fishing is a beloved tradition for you, then you may already have your bags packed and ready but here are some tips to make sure you have the best time on the ice:
- Check the lines. If you haven’t opened up your tackle box since the last time you cast a line, then you better open it up and take a peek. You’ll want to make sure your lines are untangled and in good condition (not brittle). We do recommend braided lines for easier use on the ice.
- Check the lures & jigs. Again, make sure your tackle box not only has a good assortment of lures and jigs but also that they are in working condition. Worn, brittle lures and jigs will cause you trouble on the ice and you won’t want to be forced from the ice to spend time in line at a tackle shop instead of reeling in fish.
- Remember your rod, reel & tip up. Lines and lures aren’t much without the tools to get them in the water. Double check that your rods, reels & tip ups are packed. Tip ups are not necessary but can be a great help to know when to pull in your line for more success.
- Don’t forget the auger! It may not be hooking your fish, but you’ll never get a shot at those prize worthy winter fish if you can’t get through the ice. Whether you choose a manual auger or a gas-powered one, make sure you have this ice cutting tool packed and ready to go.
- Don’t play with the cold. We all know ice fishing is going to be cold, but out on the Minnesota ice? You want to be prepared! Dress accordingly and bring extra items just in case you need to change. You’ll need comfortable, warm clothing including multiple layers, hat, gloves and boots. Choosing fabrics that are warm but also water repellant are the best bet. Wool is a great option particularly for socks. Gloves should be warm and water repellent with the ability to grip so you can pull in lines, unhook fish and change lures without exposing your hands (if possible).
- Good boots. Not all boots are created equal. Boots with good tread to keep you safe while walking on the ice are an absolute must. Falling on hard ice can do more than dampen a fishing day. Ice grips you can attach to your boots are not necessary but can make a big difference particularly when there’s less snow coverage underfoot.
- Give yourself a little comfort. It can be long days on the ice whether you’re outside or in. Comfortable seats, blankets, food and plenty of drinks will keep you fueled up while you wait on the lines. If you’ll be outside, consider masking up to protect your skin from cold and wind. Goggles or sunglasses are also helpful as is chapstick. And, you may also want to include sunblock in your pack as you can burn under a winter sun.
Ice in and Ice Ready
Ice typically begins forming on Mille Lacs in November (and some folks may even try to get out there that early) but safe conditions don’t typically appear until mid-December when the lake freezes shore to shore. Once the lake is completely frozen over with ice thickness of at least several inches, you can expect to be able to walk onto the ice.
When the lake is completely frozen with ice thickness of 14-30 inches in January & February, then you can expect to drive right onto Mille Lacs. In fact, you’ll be happy to find miles of plowed ice roads available. The ice roads are accessible to Red Door members (i.e., those with seasonal sites at the resort), and season pass holders. A limited number of weekend wheelhouse passes are also available to reserve. Single day vehicle-only (i.e., no wheelhouse) drive outs are not limited and no reservation is required.
Gear’s ready and packed?
Dates are marked on your calendar to watch for the ice?
Now all there is to do is to plan where you’ll be on the ice. Out in the elements on your own, with your own wheelhouse or in the comfort of one of our fish houses?
If it won’t be with us, make sure you secure your season or daily pass to access the ice roads. If you do hope to have the most comfortable and unique ice fishing experience on Lake Mille Lacs, make sure your accommodations are booked soon!