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Is fishing in a luxury Ice Castle really fishing?

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Enjoying food and friends, and doing a little fishing in comfort, L-R are Chad Schibonski, Maple Lake, Minn., Andrew Brandt, Lakeville, Minn., Rob Schupp, Mysani, Minn., Tracy Schibonski, Maple Lake, Minn., and Wally Brandt, Lakeville, Minn. The photograph was taken on Devils Lake.

Protection from the wind and a way to keep reasonably warm is usually enough to satisfy most ice fishermen. Most, but not all.

The tent-like ice fishing shelters of today, many of which are insulated, are often shirt-sleeve warm inside thanks to very efficient portable heaters. They make a mockery of the typical ice fishing image of a guy sitting on an overturned bucket while the wind and snow swirls around him. Yup, today’s ice fishermen are pretty much geared up to handle even the coldest of conditions without frozen toes and fingers.

Then there’s the really serious ice fishermen, or are they? You know, those who pull what rivals the fanciest of motorhomes onto the ice under the guise of going ice fishing. I’m talking about living room comfort, complete kitchens, sleeping accommodations, bathrooms, satellite television and the very latest in interior lighting.

While many hard-sided ice fishing houses are very well equipped and comfortable, there’s a few companies that cater to the most discriminating of ice fishermen. Ice Castle is one of them, a cluster of which can usually be found wherever the ice permits.

“We do an annual fishing trip, about 10 of us with houses every year,” said Rob Schupp, Mysani, Minnesota, while allegedly fishing inside an Ice Castle on Devils Lake.

Schupp was about to eat a bacon wrapped chunk of venison when he pointed out the window to flags flapping in the breeze, one a Minnesota Vikings flag and the other Old Glory.

“I’m a Vikings fan and I love my country,” said Schupp.

And his living room comfortable fishing shack and fishing companions.

“It’s fun. Fishing is a little slow right now. It’s hit or miss so we visit and play cards,” said Schupp while keeping a watchful eye on a line extending through a porthole in the floor of the Ice Castle into the water below. “This is a good group of people that like to travel and check things out, good friends and good fun.”

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