So far the end of the 2013 and the start to the 2014 ice fishing season in the Chequamegon Bay area in Wisconsin has been COLD. When we use the term cold with ice fishing we are not talking about being on the lake when it is hovering around the freezing point but subzero with harsh winds. In these kinds of conditions even the hardiest of fisherman need help to stay outdoors, and if you prepare properly, fishing the deep freeze is fun and productive.
While most flip over shelters or pop-ups will have some thermal capabilities, having a shelter specifically designed for the extreme cold will pay big dividends. These shelters use special fabrics that hold heat in and let you sit comfortably even in the most frigid of temperatures. Frabill and Clam are two companies that both make excellent thermal shelters suited for these types of conditions. These shelters come in several different sizes and models but keep in mind that the bigger the shelter the harder it will be to get and keep warm.
As far as heaters for your shelter are concerned, you can't go wrong with the Mr. Heater Buddy. These little heaters really pack a punch and have features that make your time on the water go a lot smoother. When it comes to cold weather you want a heater that is easy to start and run. I prefer the Big Buddy Heater as you can use one or both heat panels depending on the size of the space you are trying to heat. Other great features of these quality heaters are that they have a low oxygen shutoff sensors and an accidental tip-over safety shutoff.
Your time on the ice should be fun, safe and warm. Having the proper equipment like a quality heater and shelter will keep you much more comfortable and fishing longer. Don't skimp on these necessities if you can afford it. Purchasing the best equipment possible is an investment in your fishing adventures for years to come.