This winter I resurrected my dad’s fish house. He built this canvas model in the mid-1980s. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, plus he was very handy. He built his own house, a log cabin (where I grew up) along with this fish house. He also built his own boat.

This fish house is kind of heavy to load and unload, but it’s very portable. It has a floor with two holes and windows on each end. Once the fish house is on the ice, you then have to measure the distance between the two holes. In this case the distance is 41 inches. Once we get that marked we then use a power auger to make the holes. When we were growing up, my dad owned two power augers, but my brother and I were left to use an ice chisel, which I still have.

The ends of the fish house fold down, and then you slide it into your pickup truck. It’s fairly easy to unfold and set up. While my wife holds the two ends apart from the outside, I go inside and put in the three poles to hold the two ends apart and the roof up. A small propane stove, complete with stovepipe, keeps us toasty warm. It was the first canvas-type fish house of its time.

My wife and I have been out with the fish house three times so far this year. We tried our luck on Bald Eagle Lake a couple weeks ago. The last time we went to Lake Jane. There were bites but no catches. I think the fish were too small. We will try again the end of February.

SEND US YOUR FISH HOUSES! Cabin Country wants to celebrate your cold-weather hideouts this winter, everything from ice-fishing houses to cozy winter cabins. Send your story and photos to or submit online at