Ice Fishing Gear Flying Off Shelves as Interest Grows During Pandemic

DULUTH, Minn.– Ice fishing season is in full swing. And whether you’re a new or experienced fisherman, people in the Northland have been taking advantage of the nice conditions.

It’s been one of the busiest ice fishing season’s in recent memory. The nice weather, extra free time from the pandemic, and the latest round of stimulus checks have been big reasons why.

“The lakes are in great condition, very little snow on them, so it’s just easy to get out with little effort and people are catching fish out here,” said Josh Ennis, a Sales Associate at Marine General.

Marine General on London Road in Duluth has been seeing the increased interest in ice fishing. Staff is seeing a whole lot of new customers, including families as they try to keep gear and other items on the shelves.

“For a good three weeks there I didn’t even know what day it was it was so busy. People just coming in and out all day, open until like 7:30 some nights,” said Ennis. “Everyone’s coming in, we’re running show specials throughout the season so yeah, we’re moving products.”

Marine General has nearly sold through their stock of pop-up ice fishing houses this season, along with dozens of fish-finders. One of their biggest sellers has been live scopes, which has been selling by the hundreds.

“That blew my mind for sure. That’s a $3,000 unit and people aren’t blinking an eye anymore,” said Ennis.

One fisherman who stocked up on some new gear up at Marine General was Matt Fodness, upgraded to a new pop-up house, auger, and fish-finder. He’s been fishing out on Pike Lake for the last two days.

“It’s fun to be outside. Good fresh air. You sleep good at night,” said Fodness.

With the nice weather, Fodness says he’s been spending more and more time on the lake over the last two weeks. He’s trying to pick up one of his favorite childhood hobbies again, taking the last couple days to fish on Pike Lake.

His advice to any new fishers is — invest in a good ice house to keep warm.

“It’s like your own little house. You can be away from people and it’s fun watching the graphs and catching fish,” said Fodness.

While Fodness may be out on Pike Lake, he says his favorite fish to catch are walleyes. But whether he’s fishing in rivers, lakes, — or even off Lake Superior, he says it’s a great feeling to reel in the big one.

“It’s just exciting. It just gives you a little bit of, it’s like a prize,” said Fodness. “You’re in a whole and then all of a sudden — bam you got a fish and it’s like, ‘dang where did that come from?’ yeah, it’s fun.”

According to the Minnesota DNR, fishing season is set to end on February 28th.

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