All anglers know that ice fishing without shelter can be incredibly uncomfortable in harsh and unfavorable weather, but if an ice fishing house is not within your budget, there are not many options other than surviving without shelter. 

A possible option for anglers who also hunt is to get double usage out of a ground blind (use both for hunting and ice fishing).

It is not uncommon for hunters to speculate whether they can use a pop-up hunting blind for ice fishing.

In this case, the speculation is reasonable because you absolutely can get good use out of a pop-up blind for ice fishing.

Unsurprisingly, ground blinds cannot offer the reliability, comfort, or severe weather protection of icehouses.

Nonetheless, pop-up hunting blinds are feasible shelter options for ice fishing, especially for anglers who cannot afford an icehouse.

Why Ground Blinds are Viable and Convenient Shelter Options for Ice Fishing

Many people recognize ground blinds as feasible alternatives to ice fishing shelters because pop-up blinds are not too dissimilar to pop-up ice fishing shelter tents. They mainly differ in their color layout and window design/system.

This means that generally, ground blinds provide a tolerable level of protection against adverse weather conditions. Ultimately, shelter from a ground blind is better than no shelter.

  • Weight. Ground blinds are typically lightweight. This aspect of pop-up blinds makes transporting and carrying them a simple and quiet task. This is especially useful when plenty of foot travel is required and when you wish to move to another position.    
  • Wind Resistance. Ground blinds are sufficiently capable of breaking calm and moderately forceful winds. They handle their role well on these days. Stronger winds will be concerning though. 
  • Insulation. Given that the primary purpose of a pop-up ground blind is to conceal stationary hunters, waiting to hunt game conventionally hunted in cooler seasons (deer season); they are designed to keep people warm and comfortable. Ground blind materials provide some level of insulation, but understandably, they do not offer as much insulation as shelters intended for ice fishing.
  • Financially Wise. As previously stated, using a ground blind for ice fishing is especially great for hunters who already own a pop-up blind. Blinds provide shelter while granting an opportunity to save money and withhold purchasing a quality shelter for ice fishing a little longer. 

Weight and wind breaking ability are the main characteristics which determine the viability of ice shelters. Any shelter which is light and disrupts wind gusts is suitable for ice fishing.

3 Examples of Ground Blinds You May Use for Ice Fishing

Here are 3 possible smaller hunting blinds that you may use in place of a fishing shanty. Just be sure to use anchors to properly secure the blind against wind.

Barronnet Radar Blind

hunting blind for ice fishing

This blind measures 55” x 55” and is a good size for 1 or 2 people as well as a reasonable amount of gear.

The material is HD 150 denier fabric with a tight weave and water resistance.

The windows may be closed over to offer greater protection against the cold and wind.

It comes with a carry bag, tie-down ropes and ground stakes, however purchase proper ice anchors separately to ensure it is completely secured.

The blind has an MSRP of $129.99.

Find out more about the company and the full range of blinds available by visiting the Barronett Blinds website.

Primos Hidesight Hunting Blind

Another good option to take onto the lake for ice fishing is the Primos Hidesight blind.

Its dimensions are 56” x 56” with a hub to hub distance of 70”. It weighs 20 lbs and should be easy to move into position or, indeed, to change from one position to another if necessary.

The blind is easily big enough for a couple of people to shelter all day along with their equipment.

The 300 denier polyester fabric provides protection against adverse weather and will effectively cut the wind for a good days fishing.

This blind has an MSRP of $199.99.

Find out more about the company and the range of blinds available by visiting the Primos website.

Ameristep Silent Brickhouse Blind

The Silent Brickhouse meets the size requirements that would make a good, solid blind for use when ice fishing. In addition, it has a solid exterior primarily designed to make it particularly silent for hunting, but this also means it will provide added protection from wind and rain.

The blind measures 59” x 59” with a weight of 16 lbs.

It comes with a custom blind wrap to help seal it from the weather as well as stakes and a tie-down rope.

The blind has an MSRP of $159.99.

Find out more about the company and the full range of blinds available by visiting the Ameristep website.

Concerns You Should Have With Using a Ground Blind for Ice Fishing

Most days, ground blinds perform sufficiently; meaning the construction of ground blinds allows them to function quite well as ice fishing shelter.

However, the disparities between a pop-up ground blind and a shelter designed for ice fishing are plainly apparent in severely harsh weather.

Fundamentally, ground blinds should be only a temporary alternative to an ice fishing house.

  • Gale Force and Other Strong Winds. Ground blinds are adequate in calm weather, but when there is considerable wind force, blinds are too light to use without any anchoring. To have any hope on windy days, staking or screwing the blinds down is a necessity; without anchoring, ground blinds will blow away.
  • Odor Saturation. After a lovely day of fishing, it is likely that your hunting blind will be inundated with nauseating odors. This is concerning for hunters who wish to use blinds for their true purpose because deer and other game likely avoid blinds with heavy scents. It may be necessary for hunters to let the hunting blinds air out before using them to hunt.    
  • Insulation. Very few ground blinds can offer the level of insulation as ice shanties/houses. It is important to remember that the windows of ground blinds do not close tightly (due to being shooting windows). This allows wind to pass through blinds quite easily and causes heat to be lost. Getting cold while ice fishing is expected though, additional clothing is often enough to keep you warm, but wind gusts will always be uncomfortable.  
  • Visibility. Given that ground blinds are intended for hunting in woodlands and other natural terrain, blinds are typically coated with nature-oriented colors (camo). Consequently, it’s possible for them to be invisible and/or difficult to spot for passing snowmobiles, sleds, etc. Adding a high-vis orange or red topper to blinds to increase its visibility to people is advised.  

Bottom Line

In summary, ground blinds are adequate ice fishing shelter options when you have no access to any other shelter. They are lightweight and offer some wind breaking ability, but their usage should only be temporary.

It is recommended that you use a blind while saving up for a quality ice fishing shelter.

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