If you grew up in a cold weather climate, driving by a local lake or pond and spotting dozens of people drilling holes through the ice is a pretty common sight. Not so in many other spots across the country.

Ice fishing is an event unto itself. Though some might think the idea of sitting over a hole in the ice waiting to catch a fish might seem a bit crazy, there is actually quite a bit of fun, planning and even a party atmosphere that can go into it.

The Great Lakes

Pretty much known as the epicenter of ice fishing in the US, the Great Lakes are very hard to beat in terms of the quality of ice fishing and the quality of fish available.

One of the best places to get started with ice fishing has to be Lake Michigan. Offering a large variety of species like crappie, bluegill and walleye, draws in fisherman (and women) from all over the world. In some spots you barely have to do any work at all, drop in your line and fish appear. Or, if you want to try and aren’t too sure how to get started, you can actually hire an ice fishing guide to help!

To get a true experience ice fishing on the Great Lakes, your best bet is to take in some of the local festivals that pop up all over the shores of Lake Michigan during the winter. Try your hand at ice fishing by entering the contests like the Luddington Getting Jiggy Fishing Tournament.

Wisconsin Ice Fishing

Photo Via Travel Wisconsin

Wisconsin and Minnesota

Though the Great Lakes are calling, you can’t forget the land of 10,000 lakes either! It is practically a religion in Wisconsin and Minnesota to start ice fishing come late December, and there are plenty of events you can attend to demonstrate just how much fun can be had in the dead of winter.

Visit any one of these famous winter festivals to get a real taste of why a little, well a lot, of snow and cold don’t keep those from the upper Midwest down!

The Breezy Point Ice Fest has ice fishing in addition to an ice slide and horse drawn trolley rides. The Frozen Tozen Winter Fest not only has ice fishing, but also snowshoe races and ice golf. And, for a real party atmosphere check out the International Eelpout Festival which features mechanical bull riding, polar plunges, beer pong, and of course, ice fishing.

These are just a few of the top spots in the US to get out and try ice fishing, but with the great festival atmosphere, you might realize why it’s such a favorite winter sport all across the northern reaches of this country.

Have you been ice fishing? Where are some of your favorite spots to spend a few hours? Let us know in the comments!