Despite the warm and generally snowless start to this winter in Minnesota, some seasonal staples are getting back on track after waiting for conditions to cooperate.

One such example is the Ice Castles attraction in the Twin Cities, which announced its opening date for later this month.  Another ice-oriented winter staple finally getting on track in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is the famous igloo-shaped ice bar on one of Minnesota's largest lakes.

This on-ice bar has become a bit of a social media darling around Minnesota during the winter months, grabbing the attention of many online due to the sheer quirkiness of being able to visit a bar where you can also ice fish while you warm up, enjoy a drink, have a snack, and watch some TV at this on-ice business.

They even have musicians come out sometimes to perform in the bar! Plus, did I mention you can fish in the bar? They have holes around the perimeter with rattle reels so you can enjoy some time in the bar while still trying to catch a lunker!

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Placed on Lake of the Woods each winter, "The Igloo" is operated by Zippel Bay Resort on the southern shore of Lake of the Woods. The resort stores the structure in a few pieces during the offseason, dragging it out onto the lake and assembling it when ice conditions are safe enough to do so.

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The resort just announced over the weekend that they've opened the famous bar for the 2024 winter season! They shared on January 20 that the bar has officially started their 2024 season, serving ice anglers and snowmobilers from noon to 10 pm Tuesdays through Sundays as long as the ice allows them to stay open.

For those who aren't out fishing or snowmobiling but want to check out the ice bar, there are a couple of things to know. First, the resort charges a toll to use their ice roads - whether you're heading out fishing, or just out to the ice bar. They do this to offset the cost of maintaining those ice roads, which is a pretty daunting task.

I've seen firsthand how hard the resort's team works to prevent snow drifts and ice heaves from causing ice road issues. The roads are generally kept nice and wide, and they're even marked with road signs, but the weather and ice conditions are always changing, keeping the crew busy.

The other thing to know is that it is out on the lake some distance. The last couple of years I've been up that way, it's been at least a mile out onto the ice. It is often in a different place each year, but they try to make it accessible to where the resort has their fish houses.

A mile doesn't sound like a lot, but when driving down the bay, over the point, and along the ice roads, it can be a bit of a drive. While the team does a good job maintaining the roads, I wouldn't recommend it for small cars, lower-clearance vehicles, or vehicles not good in snow or on ice.

The 10 Commandments Of Ice Fishing In Minnesota & Wisconsin

While these aren't the only rules to abide by (see your local Minnesota or Wisconsin DNR regulations, for example), these 10 guidelines go a long way toward making sure you and other ice anglers have an enjoyable hardwater experience.

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper

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