Here is one positive effect from the endless winter of 2013-2014: there will be more Ice Castles on midwestern lakes next year. American Surplus and Manufacturing, the Montevideo, Minn., maker of these RV-style luxury ice houses, is expanding to a second factory in the face of increased demand.
“Ice fishing is just hot right now,” Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association, told StarTribune. “[It] has certainly had some decent growth. In past winters, when we had warm weather, all my ice fishing guys were singing the blues and saying, ‘The world will end.’ But this year, they are all like, ‘Yes! Let’s expand.'”
Last year the manufacturer sold 2,081 Ice Castles and made $23 million in sales. This year they hope to sell 2,500. Minnesota and Wisconsin combined have an estimated 1.3 million ice fishers and the number is increasing.
Ice Castles feature all the comforts of home: bunks, full bath, kitchen, and, of course, holes in the floor so you never have to go outside to fish. Ice Castles can cost up to $40,000 and be up to 24 feet long.