Anglers in northern Ontario can rent a one-of-a kind fishing limo or Mercedes-Benz
The white, 1994 Lincoln can seat 4 anglers and is yours for $100 a day
There was a time when ice fishing was the simplest of activities — all you needed was a line, some bait and a hole in the ice.
But modern anglers can be a classy and creative breed who appreciate creature comforts like a shack with a fireplace.
Yet when you get down to the basics, nothing says luxury like a limousine.
Vaughn Murray of Rainy River, Ont., has filled a gap that ice anglers didn't know they needed. He has an ice-fishing limousine that's now available for daily rentals.
"It is a 1994 Lincoln," said Murray. "It took me about two hours to cut the eight-inch holes out and then I put 10-inch sewer pipe over top of it, you know, to block the snow from coming in."
The white stretch limousine, which is decorated with a variety of stickers and a Chicago NHL flag, is parked on the ice near the Highway 11 bridge that connects the towns of Baudette, Minn., and Rainy River.
He has installed an electric heater in the limo that is powered by an extension cord connected to his house.
Murray said he preheats the Lincoln with a propane heater and then uses the electric heater to keep it warm. The anglers sit on two benches that face each other.
Murray said access to the car is short and easy.
"They can drive out on the ice road, or they can just park in my yard and walk 100 feet [about 30 metres] and you're at the car." he said.
Murray said the ice-fishing limo is available for daily rentals and will be parked on the ice for the next couple of months.
He said he can take a maximum of four anglers in the car and charges $100 a day. Murray said that so far, business is good.
"I've got three bookings from Thunder Bay, I've got Kenora, I've got people in Rainy River," he said. "I've got a group of ladies from Fargo, Minn. They're coming up here and the 21st of February, I think."
Murray said the reception has been so good, he plans to have a second limousine on the ice next winter.
"All the people and groups I've had in there, they just love it all," he said. "It's just something different, you know and they're having a good time."
Murray isn't the only northern Ontario angler who has a souped-up ice fishing machine.
Donald Stenlund of Red Rock has been turning heads in that community with his refitted Mercedes-Benz.
The sedan, which he bought for $600, has custom-built skis replacing tires at the front and tracks replacing tires at the back.
With its sporty, but functional build, it looks like something out of a Mad Max film. Stenlund, who loves to ice fish, said the idea for the car came out of necessity.
"When it's rough out there on the ice, and I am on a sled, it's hard on my back," he said. "I can hardly walk for the next couple of days. So I had this idea last winter — when it was cold out on the lake that I could go out there, and stay nice and warm, and be comfortable."
Stenlund has an ice fishing tent attached to the car that comes up like a convertible. He said you can easily stand up and fish inside. It also has two holes in the floor of the car for fishing, so a friend can tag along,
Stenlund said the ice car can also go at a decent clip, up to 50 km/h.
However, he said, his main fishing area on Lake Superior generally requires slower speeds.
"The ice is really rough right now, but I can still do like 18 to 20 km/h " he said. "The car is fairly heavy on the tracks, so I don't want to bounce it too much."
Although the ice fishing car took a lot of time to create, Stenlund said, it was relatively economical overall.
"It cost me about $2,000," he said. "A lot of the stuff like the tracks I already had."
Stenlund said the car is a work in progress, but he might add an aluminum dome to replace the tent for next winter.