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Ice fishing shack business sees slick sales just a year into operation

Looking to stay ahead of the technological advances in ice fishing, this small business continues to bring new ideas.

The Black Hole Ice Shack, Sasquatch model is one of several built in the manufacturing shop in Verndale. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

VERNDALE, Minn. -- Ice fishing continues to be redefined at the Black Hole Ice Shack plant in this small central Minnesota town, where partners Jason Geis and Brian Hagen are building on the business that started just a year ago.

The business started out not long after Geis went to work creating an ice house for his father. Using his skills he'd learned at Lund Boats in New York Mills and his passion for ice fishing, he created what's now become the Black Hole Ice Shack. It's a product proving to be attractive to the modern mobile ice angler. The Black Hole is a fishing platform that acts as a flip-over fabric shelter that's secured to a solid trailer foundation capable of getting you on the fish and hauling your UTV or ATV out as well.

That product has been doing very well, the company said. Hagen said in early December they've sold about 40 shacks bound for much of the Midwest and beyond. They're even planning to get some into the hands of Canadian residents soon. And while it's been a great product for rambling across a frozen lake, the business wanted to open up this creation for year-round use, so they developed a model for each season.

What's new

New to their lineup is a toy hauler tent. Using your Black Hole trailer as the foundation, you can switch out the winter shack for a light-colored, lightweight fabric summer model. They are also offering a hunt/fish tent package which comes in full camo and oversized zip open windows for shooting bow or firearm from. Each can be used on the same trailer system. It just requires the user to switch out the fabric shell.

Also new for the 2021 season, Black Hole introduced an upgraded trailer that they say is "overbuilt" to handle more weight and a tougher finish. If you don't care to bring out your old Lazy Boy on the ice the group now sells a lightweight removable seat option that snaps into the trailer floor much like a boat chair. They've also added an option to increase the size of your shack.
You can even deck out your ice shack now thanks to add-ons from Quickclamp, a company the partners acquired. These accessories include a cup, rod holder, rattle reel, or other random holders you might need for a day or days on the ice. They've even joined the latest craze of the power box. A unit that powers all the accessories your ice shack can handle. Because fishing just isn't fishing without lights, music and enough juice to keep videos playing on your smartphone.


The Black Hole Ice Shack group is now offering accessories from Quickclamp like this power box station that can power lights and accessories inside your ice shack and includes a super bright light pocket for lighting up your glow jigs. It's powered by a lightweight lithium drill battery. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

If you're looking for an even smaller option than the ice shack but just as portable, the group acquired another design they hope to unveil soon. It's the Black Hole Ice Box, a flip-over fish house that attaches to the back of your side-by-side. Anywhere you go with the side-by-side, the Ice Box goes too. It's a portable that won't blow away even in the most furious of winter storms, they claim.

Geis said he developed the Black Hole Ice Shack as a easier way to get his family out on the water with him. While it does the job, he now just has to find time to actually get out on the ice in between filling orders for everyone else looking for a new way to ice fish.

To try one of these units out you can check out their website theblackholeoutdoors.com or visit the plant off Highway 10 east in Verndale.

Black Hole Ice Shacks are, for a limited time, available for dining options at the Pirate's Den in Verndale. It's a dine-in option outdoors. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal


Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at mjohnson@agweek.com or 218-640-2312.
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