Breaking News
More () »

Icehouse invention turning heads on Minnesota lakes

The Wilcraft, an ice fishing house on four wheels, was created by a Minnesotan who saw a shift in the sport of ice fishing.

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. — In a state known for our many lakes, it's safe to say Minnesotans know a thing or two about ice fishing.

Minnesota native and ice-fishing enthusiast Tom Roering invented a machine to make ice fishing easier and safer. Tom calls it the Wilcraft. 

The W-I-L stands for Water, Ice, and Land, because this four-wheel vehicle was designed to take ice fishing to a whole new level.

"As a family we used to put a permanent house out on a nearby lake, Bald Eagle to be exact, and on Sundays we'd go out and spend the day," Tom said. 

Through the years, Tom noticed the ice fishing experience was changing. Instead of setting up an ice house for the day in one spot and waiting for the fish to bite,  Tom wanted an easier, safer way to move around the lake and find the fish. That's how his idea of a mobile fish house became a reality.

Credit: Tom Roering

"In '98 I started developing," Tom said. "Easy access, mobility, safety and  to extend the ice fishing season."

If you happen to find yourself on thin ice, the Wilcraft was also made to float and can even be used during the spring and summer months for fishing or hunting. 

"After 2018 we were seeing double-digit growth year over year," said Tom. 

After the developing phase, the first Wilcraft hit the market in 2006. 

Credit: Tom Roering

Today, Tom says 500 of these fishing machines have been sold with more on the assembly line costing anywhere between $26,000 - $32,000 per machine.

Watch more KARE11 Sunrise:

Watch the latest coverage from KARE11 Sunrise in our YouTube playlist:

Before You Leave, Check This Out