Ice fishermen seeking food and shelter, or even a cold beer and large flat-screen television, on Lake of the Woods’ Zippel Bay have a grand place to go—The Igloo.
The 38 x 20-foot structure resembles an elongated white dome, so the name came naturally. But the heated, electrified and insulated Igloo is much more than a novelty, according to Zippel Bay Resort owners Nick and Deanna Painovich. “We’ve talked about doing something like this for several years,” says Nick, “as a way to provide additional service to our guests on the ice.”
Some of those guests, he explains, might be fishing in overnight ice houses as far as eight miles from the resort. “Now, they have a place where they can get something to eat and maybe watch a game on TV.” For $5 an hour (lines and bait provided) an angler can also fish through one of the 16 holes in the floor while enjoying his burger and brew.
“The Igloo is about 2 ½ miles from the resort (by plowed ice road) and sits over Zippel Reef. People have caught a lot of fish there, including a 21-inch walleye. The largest fish was a 42-inch northern pike.”
Table fare is what ice anglers most want and expect; menu items such as soup, chili, burgers, bratwurst and pizza are all catered to the licensed mobile food unit from the resort itself. All refuse is trucked back to shore each night.
Nine tables and a 16-foot stand-up bar offer room for around 50 patrons; gas chandeliers provide light and 110-volt wiring allows anglers to recharge batteries for their portable sonar units.
And as for…uh…facilities? Yes, there are gender-specific portables out the door and around back. But they’re not the run-of-the-mill porta potties you see at county fairs and outdoor concerts. “One of the first suggestions from a number of our female customers was that the bathrooms be heated,” says Nick. And, so they are.
The Igloo is open from noon to 10 p.m. six days a week. If you have a hankering to catch a little NCAA b-ball over a brat and beer while dunking a minnow in the Igloo, you better make it quick. Nick hopes to keep it operating until mid-March, but if Mother Nature forces an early exit, you’ll have to wait until next winter.