10 Best Spots for Ice Fishing Competitions on Frozen Lakes | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Ice fishing competitions offer excitement and the chance for big catches.
  • There are events for anglers of all skill levels.
  • The article provides trusted tips for competing successfully.

Imagine reeling in a trophy fish under the crisp winter sky—that's the thrill of ice fishing competitions.

Across frozen lakes in North America, anglers bundle up for the chance to catch the biggest catch and win big.

Ice fishing isn't just about the solitude and serenity; it's about the excitement of competing on a frozen battleground.

From intimate local tournaments to large-scale events attracting thousands, there's a competition for every level of angler.

You want insider tips, and we've got them.

Diving into the world of ice fishing competitions, you'll discover not just the sweet spots but also the camaraderie and strategies that make every competition an adventure.

With our guidance, you'll feel like a seasoned pro ready to tackle any challenge these icy waters might throw at you.

Table of contents


Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

Ever hooked a line under the chilly expanse of Lake Winnebago's icy cover?

Welcome to Wisconsin's winter angling hotspot!

With a surface spanning over 137,700 acres, Lake Winnebago is the state's largest inland lake, offering a fishing adventure you won't want to miss.

Target Fish Species:

  • Walleye
  • Perch
  • White bass
  • Sturgeon

Known For:

  • Self-sustaining lake sturgeon population

Top Attraction:

Hey, have you heard about the sturgeon spearing season here?

It's like the Super Bowl for spearers, a tradition that gets the entire fishing community buzzing!

Best Fishing Time:

  • Mid-Season (January to mid-February) for walleye
  • February for sturgeon spearing

Fancy trying to outsmart a walleye?

Aim to drop your line around midday, when these crafty creatures are most active.

Just imagine the thrill of reeling in a catch amidst the serene, frosty landscape of Lake Winnebago.

Safety Tips:

  • Check ice conditions with local guides
  • Be mindful of areas with weak ice around currents
  • Navigate carefully near shore and islands

Remember, shallow unmarked reefs and sand bars are part of the lake's hidden challenges; keep a sharp eye!

So, ready to bundle up and drill your fishing hole?

Lake Winnebago's icy waters are beckoning all anglers looking for a memorable catch or the exhilaration of the sturgeon season.

Don’t forget—this isn't just fishing, it’s an icy escapade on one of Wisconsin’s natural gems!

Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing, Minnesota

Have you ever imagined reeling in a prize-winning catch amid a frozen winter wonderland?

The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing on Gull Lake turns that dream into a chilly, thrilling reality!

Just picture yourself amongst thousands of fellow ice-angling enthusiasts, competing in what's known as one of the largest ice fishing contests worldwide.

Here's what you need to know about this frosty fiesta:

  • Date: Mark your calendar for February 3, 2024. It's when the Extravaganza takes the stage.
  • Location: Ten miles north of Brainerd, MN on the icy expanse of Gull Lake.

Exciting Insights:

  • The event has a storied history, starting back in 1991.
  • Not just fun and games, it supports charitable causes.
  • It draws nearly 10,000 participants—talk about a party!

Where to Get Your Gear:

  • Brainerd: Swing by 18900 MN-371 for bait and tackle needs.
  • Nisswa: Visit 23836 Smiley Rd for supplies.
  • Bemidji: Check out 149 Convenience Ln. SE for the latest ice fishing equipment.

The Prize Pool: Did someone say $150,000 in cash and prizes?

Yes, you heard that right!

It's a can't-miss opportunity to maybe win big while enjoying a day filled with friends, family, and ice fishing fun.

Remember, it's not just about the competition; it's about the experience, the community, and the love of ice fishing.

So bundle up, grab your fishing gear, and head to the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza.

Who knows, you might just catch the big one and brag about it for years to come!

Devils Lake, North Dakota

Have you ever dreamed of pulling a feisty perch straight out of the ice?

If that's on your bucket list, Devils Lake in North Dakota is your go-to spot!

Each winter, this lake becomes a buzzing hub for ice fishing enthusiasts, and here's the scoop on turning your chilly dreams into reality.

What's the Catch?

  • Perch: Not just any perch, we're talking jumbo-sized ones that are sure to make your day!
  • Walleye: These elusive fighters are abundant here, offering a rewarding challenge.
  • Northern Pike: For those looking for some toothy action, the northern pike in these waters won't disappoint.
  • White Bass: Often overlooked, but the white bass provide a feisty battle on the frozen lake.

Tournament Talk

  • Competitions: Various tournaments dot the calendar, drawing anglers from all levels to test their skills.
  • Community: Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice, you'll find a warm community eager to share tips and tales.
Tips for Success
Drill in 20 feet of water for pike with tip-ups
Chase perch and white bass around freshwater shrimp and insect larvae hotspots

Don't forget, Devils Lake is a huge expanse, so finding the perfect spot might take a bit of exploring.

But hey, that's part of the adventure, right?

Remember, with an area over 200,000 acres, there's plenty of room for everyone to drop a line.

So, are you ready to mark your spot on the icy expanse of Devils Lake?

Bundle up, grab your gear, and dive into the camaraderie and competition that only ice fishing can offer.

See you out there on the ice!

Lake Champlain, Vermont/New York

Ever dreamed of pulling up a monster from beneath the ice?

Lake Champlain is where you want to be, with ice fishing competitions that set the scene for both novice and pro anglers.

Stretching impressively over 120 miles and covering 435 square miles, it's a frozen playground ripe for drilling holes and setting up your shanty.

Targeted Species in Competitions:

  • Perch
  • Northern Pike
  • Lake Trout

Let's chat about the hotspots you shouldn't miss.

Have you heard of King & Catfish Bays?

Well, mid-season (January-February), these spots are the pike's kingdom.

And don’t forget, the tradition-rich Adirondack Coast offers salmon and lake trout near Port Henry or the Champlain Bridge.

For those keen on perch and bluegills, make your way to Bulwagga Bay where they're plenty.

But wait, there’s more!

The lake gives up a mix of challenges, from sheltered bays to deep water areas, ensuring your fishing tales are always filled with excitement.

Ice Fishing Competition Tips:

  • Check the Calendar: Derbies are common, so time your visit.
  • Know Your Fish: Target the species the contests are focusing on.
  • Gear Up Right: A sturdy auger and reliable gear up your game.

Why Lake Champlain?

  1. Variety of fish.
  2. Massive area for diverse fishing experiences.
  3. Proximity to Vermont’s and New York’s scenic landscapes.

Remember, with a lake this big, there's a spot for every style and skill level.

Whether you're chasing the win in a competition or yearning for that serene moment in a winter wonderland, Lake Champlain is your go-to.

Grab your rod and tackle box – it's time to compete on the icy expanse of Lake Champlain!

Houghton Lake, Michigan

Ever imagined reeling in a fish that could snag you a boat?

At Houghton Lake, Michigan, it's not just a daydream.

This spot is renowned for its winter ice fishing, with the chance to hook a tagged fish that could win adult anglers a whopping $100,000.00 in cash or a shiny new Lund Boat, courtesy of Spicer's Boat City.

And hey, if you're a youth angler under 17, you could pocket a $250 cash prize and score a new kayak!

But wait, it's not all about the prizes.

Houghton Lake is a giant amongst lakes, covering 20,000 acres—imagine the space for all those fish shanties!

It turns into a frozen paradise for anglers when temperatures drop, offering early ice formations that attract both newbies and pro fishers alike.

Noteworthy Details:

  • Annual Event: Tip-Up Town USA festival features ice fishing competitions.
  • Fish Variety: Home to crappie, perch, walleye, and pike.

Looking to test your skills or perhaps learn a thing or two?

Local guides like Derek, as mentioned in search results, are around for full-day trips, ready to show you the ropes and turn those empty hooks into trophy catches.

But let's be safety buddies—remember, ice thickness can vary, and while shanties are a cozy retreat, always check conditions before striding out.

Here's a quick cheat sheet on what to bring:

  • Essential Gear: Rod, bait, and maybe an ice shanty
  • Location: Middle of the Lower Peninsula (Recorded for massive fishable ice)

Fishing at Houghton Lake is like unwrapping holiday gifts—you never know what you're going to catch, and the suspense is half the fun!

Ready to drill a hole and chill by the ice?

Houghton Lake is calling your name!

Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

Have you ever dreamed of hooking a prize-winning fish through a hole cut in the ice?

Lake Simcoe might be your winter wonderland spot.

This frozen jewel sits invitingly just north of Toronto, and believe it or not, it hosts the annual Canadian Ice Fishing Championship.

Competitive anglers flock here, rods in hand, ready for the chill and thrill.

  • Location: A short drive from Toronto, Ontario
  • Famous For: Ice Fishing Competitions
  • Species: Perch, Lake Trout, Whitefish, among others

Grab your warmest jacket and join the ranks who consider this place the ice fishing capital of Canada.


Well, it's not just about the size - although it's Ontario's fourth-largest lake - it's about the experience and bounty beneath the ice.

What to expect?

  1. A friendly competition atmosphere
  2. Diverse fish species waiting to be caught
  3. The challenge of ice fishing amidst seasoned pros

It’s no secret that Cook's Bay, found on Lake Simcoe's southern shore, is a hot spot for perch.

Scatter your bait near the underwater weed beds, and get ready for action.

Seeking more adventure?

Try the eastern side at Keswick - another favorite among those in the know.

Here's the simple truth: when you set foot on Lake Simcoe's icy surface, you're stepping into a community of anglers who share your passion.

So why not plan your next winter outing here?

The fish are biting, the competition is beckoning, and the stories of your icy conquest will be the ones you retell for years to come.

Don't miss out on this cold but gold fishing escapade!

Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Are you ready to catch some of the biggest walleye on ice?

Lake of the Woods in Minnesota beckons you to join the ice fishing enthusiasts who throng here each winter.

Brimming with walleye and sauger, this lake hosts various ice fishing contests that can make any angler's heart race.

Dates to Remember:

  • Start: Early December
  • End: Late March

Why Lake of the Woods?

  • Walleye Capital: Known as a world-renowned walleye hotspot.
  • Diversity: A myriad of species including sauger and northern pike.
  • Abundance: Thick with sizable fish, sighting a walleye over 10 lbs is commonplace.

Notable Spots on Lake of the Woods:

  1. Zippel Bay: A hotbed for a variety of fish.
  2. Northwest Angle: Northernmost fishing haven in the contiguous U.S.
  3. Ice Conditions: With over 50 resorts and outfitters, finding a guide or gear is a breeze.

Now, imagine you're nestled in a cozy ice house, rod in hand, awaiting the tug of a lunker walleye.

Is there better way to spend your winter?

Come up north and find out why ice fishing on Lake of the Woods is a chill you'll welcome!

Chautauqua Lake, New York

Ever wondered where you can find some of the best ice fishing competitions around?

Well, pack your warmest gear and head to Chautauqua Lake, New York.

Nestled in Western New York, this frozen paradise spans 13,156 acres and becomes a hub for anglers during the winter months.

  • Location: Chautauqua County, NY
  • Size: 13,156 acres
  • Access Points: Easily reachable via Interstate 90 to Interstate 86

Why is Chautauqua Lake a fishing fan favorite?

The lake is brimming with a diverse range of fish, including:

  • Walleye: Best caught during low-light times
  • Black Crappie
  • Yellow Perch
  • White Perch
  • Bluegill
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Brown Bullhead

Have your rods and reels at the ready for the Annual Ice Castle Fish Derby, where the competition heats up even as the temperatures drop.

Competitive Categories:

  1. Walleye
  2. Bass
  3. Muskie
  4. Panfish

Remember, it's not just about the competition; it's about the memories you'll make drilling through the ice, sitting back in your pop-up shelter, and maybe sharing a hot drink with your fellow anglers.

Plus, with easy access and tips from local pros a call away, your fish tales are just waiting to happen.

Don't you wonder if the big one is waiting for you beneath the ice?

Chautauqua Lake might just be the spot to find out!

Sebago Lake, Maine

Have you ventured to the icy expanse of Sebago Lake during winter?

Your experience isn't complete without a try at ice fishing in one of Maine’s most celebrated spots.

Sebago Lake spreads over 28,000 acres and reaches depths of 316 feet, making it the second largest lake in Maine and a winter haven for anglers.

  • Landlocked Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Brook Trout

If you’re looking for camaraderie and competition, Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby is your go-to winter event.

Part of the Maine Ice Fishing Circuit, this derby draws in a crowd with the promise of good catches and great prizes.

For First Timers & Experts:

Expect ice conditions to be just right for making your catch typically in February, but remember, Mother Nature has the final say.

When the ice is thick enough, usually post a bout of cold, still January nights, deeper areas become accessible for targeting those elusive lake trout.

Pro Tip: Local guides are invaluable when venturing onto unfamiliar icy waters.

They’ll help you find the best spots – and hey, maybe you’ll be the winner of the next big catch!

Equipment Checklist:

  • Ice Auger
  • Ice Fishing Rod and Reel
  • Suitable Cold-Weather Gear

With breathtaking views and an array of fish impressive enough to excite any seasoned ice fisher, Sebago Lake is your must-visit ice fishing destination in Maine.

See you on the ice?

Fort Peck Lake, Montana

Ever wondered where you could find a stellar ice fishing competition this winter?

Fort Peck Lake in Montana should be high on your list.

This mammoth reservoir stretches over 134 miles and plummets to depths greater than 220 feet.

Imagine the thrill as you set up on this frozen expanse, knowing that below you, the water teems with some of the largest lake trout in the lower 48 states.

Here's a quick fact: Fort Peck is the largest lake in Montana and ranks as the fifth-largest artificial lake in the nation.

They weren't kidding about space; 245,000 acres and 1,500 miles of shoreline mean you'll find your perfect spot with ease.

Ice Fishing Competitions:

  • Yearly, the Montana Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament beckons anglers with its ice fishing category. It's a great way to test your skills against the best.
Species to Catch Hot Tip
Walleye Look for the orange signs for motorized access points.
Northern Pike Pike often surpass the 20-pound mark, so be prepared!
Lake Trout Land a trout over 25 pounds and you've had a good day.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, Fort Peck's icy waters offer an abundance of opportunity for non-stop action.

The isolation?

Oh, it's bliss for those seeking a serene escape.

And let's not forget the monster walleyes that could leave you reeling from the excitement!

So pack your gear, prep your best fishing tales, and set a course for Fort Peck.

Who knows, you might just reel in the catch of a lifetime!