Geography 970

January 31, 2010

Ice Fishing Shanty Towns

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jeremy White @ 5:32 pm

There are some small towns in Wisconsin.  For example, the village of Castle Rock has 314 permanent residents.  Every year there are shanty towns that develop on Wisconsin’s frozen lakes, nearly as big as Castle Rock, that are made up entirely of temporary residence.  An interesting aspect of these towns that develop is that the shack owners are required by the DNR to post their permanent home address on the outside of the structure “in block lettering at least one inch square in contrasting colors.

Last night, Tim and I were wondering what a map would look like showing the relationship between the addresses posted on the shacks and their permanent equivalents.  Are people generally placing their ice fishing huts closer to their homes, or are these structures more like hunting cabins where the owners are driving longer distances in order to get away from it all?



  1. I also wonder how much of where they set up has to do with how much the fish are biting . . . er, if that’s even possible to find out. Thanks for including that link. I love it that the DNR uses a fish for visual scale on that image of a hole in the ice “not larger than 12 inches”. Because of course all fish are the same size. Right? Right.

    Comment by Tim Wallace — January 31, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  2. This is the third fascinating aspect of frozen lakes I’ve discussed over the weekend. The first was in reference to roads across frozen lakes. What would Google Streetview look like for roads that only exist in part of the year? I spent some time looking around Canadian cities like Yellowknife and Oshkosh, WI, but I’m yet to find an example.

    Second, I was chatting about the bonfire that took place on Saturday night on Lake Monona. Yep. A bonfire. On the ice. Obviously I wanted to know if the event was affiliated with an organization, but from what my contacts could tell, it was simply a loose network of people lighting a big bonfire near some waterfront properties. There were grills near the gathering and someone may or may not have been passing out cider. (Did anyone in class attend?).

    So coupled with Jeremy’s entry and these two conversations, I would think that the territoriality of frozen lakes is an under appreciated topic. Who’s in charge of law and order on the ice? What’s the division between private and public space? Does ice-fishing culture clash with kite-skiing culture? How are these conflicts negotiated?

    Ahh, Wisconsin.

    Comment by mattmoehr — January 31, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  3. To wit to Matt’s comment, I’ve been up to visit “Ice Road” out of Bayfield, WI across to Madeline Island. This part-time road is well-known in the area and host to road races etc. in the winter. I believe the road is not visible on any current Google or Yahoo maps, but while there I certainly heard stories (with a chuckle) of out-of-town folks who came up during the warmer months looking for the Ice Road they had seen on the map (instead of the ferry.)

    Comment by AJ — February 1, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

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