Grab a cold one: Ice-fishing bar returns

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Hillbillies Ice House bar is back for its second year, doing a brisk business and attracting national media attention at its remote spot on northwestern Minnesota's North Lake Lida.

This year’s version opened earlier this month, in a new 16-by-22-foot shed that is roughly twice as big as last year's structure, and it is a bit farther from shore, owner Josie Norgren said told Forum Communications. It's perfectly safe – the ice was 18 inches thick when it was set up, she said.

The red and green metal-sided bar features eight working fishing holes and a menu that includes chili, cornbread and soup, and of course, shots and beer.

The novelty establishment caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which noted that there's often more drinking than fishing, but 20-inch walleyes have been pulled from the Ice House's holes.

"We weren't real thrilled" about the bar opening last year, Otter Tail County Sheriff Brian Schlueter told the Journal, noting that ambulances and squad cars don't go on the ice. Emergency responders would have to walk or find a snowmobile. But "It's been run pretty well, and there haven't been any problems," he told the publication.

The bar is open Fridays and Saturdays until as late as 2 a.m. and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.

Feb. 28 is the deadline for fish houses to be off the lake.

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