World’s “Coolest” Sport in a Cool Place


Ice fishing
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Credit: Carmen Field

Crisp winter air. A frozen lake. Why sit indoors, bored with some sitcom, when you could drop a baited hook and line through a hole in the ice and bring home dinner?

You don’t have to wait until spring to talk about your fishing adventures. Many national wildlife refuges have just what you’re after:  Great fish habitat – plus natural beauty and a chance to see other wildlife. Just bundle up.

Find the best fishing spots from the National Wildlife Refuge System’s online Fishing Guide. Check your state fishing regulations and license requirements (you’ll need one), season dates and safety.

Before you travel, check with the refuge for specific opportunities. Here are some refuges that offer ice fishing

ALASKA
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

IDAHO
Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

ILLINOIS
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, Savanna District

IOWA
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

KANSAS
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge -- Ice fishing for crappie, white bass and walleye and others can be very good when ice conditions allow access to the lake. (See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df-etbKc-S0)

MAINE
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge

MICHIGAN
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

MINNESOTA
Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge
Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

MONTANA
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
Nine-pipe National Wildlife Refuge
Pablo National Wildlife Refuge


Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Minnesota.
Credit: USFWS

NEBRASKA
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge
North Platte National Wildlife Refuge

NEW YORK
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

NORTH DAKOTA
Ardoch National Wildlife Refuge
Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge
Crosby Wetland Management District
Devil’s Lake Wetland Management District
J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge
Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge
Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge
Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Madison Wetland Management District
Rose Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Silver Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Stewart Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge
Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge
Waubay Wetland Management District

PENNSYLVANIA
Erie National Wildlife Refuge

SOUTH DAKOTA
Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Sand Lake Wetland Management District
Waubay National Wildlife Refuge

VERMONT
Mississquoi National Wildlife Refuge
Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, Nulhegan Basin Division

WISCONSIN
Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

More info on ice fishing on Recreation.gov: http://1.usa.gov/1zdtiPr