Bob houses

What is a bob house you ask?  Well, here in New England a small enclosure for ice fishing is referred to as a bob house.

The name bob house appears to have come about because of the bobbing of a fish line through an open hole in the ice. In other parts of the country, they may be referred to as ice houses, fish houses, or ice shanties.

Bob houses are made of a variety of things including plywood or scrap wood and are painted in a rainbow of colors and are always, if nothing else, portable.

Their construction may appear crude, but it is effective against the below-zero winds blowing across our beautiful lakes.

A bob house can be a simple four-sided box to protect the fisherman from the weather or it can include a generator, barbecue grill, propane heater, composting toilet, drapes, or satellite TV. Who knew?

Ice fishing is a big winter sport on many of our lakes here in New England with fishing derbies scheduled across the area throughout the season. Like other activities such as hiking and camping, ice fishing should “leave no trace” on our lakes.

The grandchildren marveled at the bob houses and pickup trucks on the ice with open water nearby. I would have liked some close up photos of the bob houses, but didn’t venture onto the ice to get them. 🙂

Ice fishing and bob houses are part of the history of New England. We just love the uniqueness of the shelters on the ice whether they are referred to as bob houses or “free lakefront homes.”

Grandson (7 years old) comments:  I really thought the big bottle bob house was funny.

Granddaughter (12 years old) comments:  The little take-out pizza house was cute but I wouldn’t walk out on the ice to  get it.

Linked to Family Home and Life Grandparent’s Say it Saturday.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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15 Responses to Bob houses

  1. Love it, Judy! We don’t see them, this far south. It’s been several years since we had a cold enough winter to freeze the lakes solid – or even my little pond!


  2. sued51 says:

    Interesting…I never knew they had a name.


  3. Grandma Kc says:

    Growing up in Michigan we called them ice shanties and I can remember going ice fishing with my Dad once. Once. He never talked me into getting that cold again ever!


  4. gooseyanne says:

    I really enjoyed that and learned something too. That is the wonderful thing about blogging and this site – we are given the opportunity of peeking into other people`s cultures and lives – makes me sound like a voyeur (which I am not).


  5. This blog makes me think I am going soft as I stop fishing when it gets cold.


  6. Debra says:

    That is fascinating! Wouldn’t it be fine to build and decorate one ? Of course, in my fantasy I am very rich and I am decorating a big one with the generator and all amenities


  7. Jeannie says:

    We don’t get that kind of ice in Texas. Neat blog of info. Visiting from Family Home & Life.


  8. Carol Covin says:

    I’ve heard that in some places where lakes freeze all winter, they park an old car on the ice so they’ll know when the ice has melted enough so it’s not safe to go fishing anymore. How do you know when to move the bob house?


  9. I’m originally from Minnesota and saw these all the time but never knew they were called Bob Houses. I moved to Colorado when not yet 10, and our lakes here would never support a Bob House, so these photos were a sweet reminder of my youth. Thank you!


  10. I had never heard of bob houses before reading your post. A lovely insight into New England life. We never have ice thick enough here for such things. I am so envious of that lovely blue sky – it’s been very grey in the UK this winter and it looks crisp and clear in your photos.


  11. Joan Stommen says:

    Very cool and interesting post, Judy! I am so happy to meet you and enjoy your blog!!! We lived in MA for many years and tried a hand at ice fishing…….don’t recall the ‘Bob’ term but sure was fun experience.
    This is the first time in a long time I’ve met/learned of someone new on the Linky parties! Wooooohoooooo!
    Look forward to staying in touch with an area dear to my heart! 🙂


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