Minnesota Darkhouse Spearing
The Minnesota winter tradition of spearing northern pike through the ice is as old
as the pine trees in the state. A large hole is cut through the ice, and then
a heated, portable ice shanty is placed over the hole. Live baits, or
artificial decoys, are then suspended in the water below the hole to attract
fish within spearing distance. The low light levels of the ice shanty, or
darkhouse, allow the spear anglers to see the fish in the water below them.
The trick is to try and spear the fish before it sees you. The art of
darkhouse spearing is still practiced by Brainerd Guide Service in the
Brainerd Lakes area. Give us a call and our professional Brainerd Lakes
spearing guide, Bob Johnson, will assist you in experiencing this ancient
method of fishing. Sit back and watch as the spear decoy swims its lazy
circles in the water below you. Suddenly, without warning, the snout of a
large pike enters the spear hole. She must be at least forty inches in
length. Before you lies one of the biggest northern pike you've ever seen.
Watch her gills flare. Then suddenly she strikes. With a bang, she crushes the
fish decoy. You laugh as the adrenaline rushes through your veins. It's good
to be alive.
MN Darkhouse Spearing Guides
Bob Johnson is “World Champion” fish decoy carver who lives in the Brainerd
Lakes area, with 40+ years of spear fishing experience. Bob is a high school
art teacher by trade, where he loves teaching area youth the fine art of decoy
carving. Bob also enjoys introducing them, and others, to the sport of
MN Darkhouse Spearing Season
Minnesota’s spearing season starts on November 15th and ends the
last Sunday in February. Early season ice conditions are a key factor in
planning your trip. The Brainerd Lakes Area usually achieves “good” ice around the 3rd
week in December. Please call in advance to make sure
the ice thickness is favorable.
Selective Harvest/ Decoy & Release
Bob believes in selective harvest. There is something magical about
seeing a 20 lb northern pike below your feet and then watch it swim away. Bob
calls this experience "Decoy & Release". Bob encourages his clients to harvest northern pike between four and ten pounds.
Northern Pike make for excellent table fare. Bob will clean your fish and
demonstrate the technique of removing the dreaded “Y” bones.
MN Dark House Spearing
spear fishing guides of
Brainerd Guide Service.