How to Build a Spearing House

••• ice fishing huts on a frozen river image by GoodMood Photo from Fotolia.com

Winter spear fishing is a long held tradition in the northern United States. Spear fisherman conceal themselves in a dark shelter and spear fish through holes cut in the ice. The fish are lured to the fishermen with small carved likenesses of baitfish. The dark shelter, traditionally called a dark house, is needed to allow the fisherman to see into the lake on bright days. Building a simple and portable dark house for spearing fish is something most any ice fishermen can accomplish with materials purchased at a home store.

Cut a 48-inch-by-60-inch piece of plywood using a jigsaw. Use sandpaper to sand the edges to avoid splinters.

Cut a 40-inch-by-20-inch hole in the plywood. The hole should be located 1 foot from either narrow end of the plywood. Sand the inner edges of the square hole.

Use a hammer to pound one common nail in each corner of the plywood. The nail should fully penetrate into the plywood until it nearly exits the other side. The nails should be approximately 1 inch from each corner.

Use a utility saw to cut two, 12-foot pieces of flexible irrigation pipe.

Travel to the fishing location carrying the cord, heavy-duty blue tarp and the pieces constructed in the previous steps. Bring other spearfishing gear as needed.

Identify the desired fishing area. Cut a 40-inch-by-20-inch hole in the ice. Remove the ice from the hole and save for later use.

Place the plywood on the ice and align the hole in the plywood with the hole cut in the ice. Remove snow from the ice so the plywood sits directly on the ice and is level.

Place one end of one pipe over a nail. Bend the pipe to place the other end over a nail on the opposite corner. Do the same for the other pipe. When complete, the pipes will form an X similar to a tent frame. Tie the pipes together where they cross using the cord. Unwrap the 20-foot-by-20-foot heavy-duty blue tarp. Place the tarp over the flexible irrigation pipe frame. The tarp should be placed in a manner that has equal amounts of tarp on all sides of the structure.

Place ice that was reserved from cutting the hole on three sides of the structure to anchor the tarp in place. Lift the tarp and enter the structure from the non-anchored side. The dark house is now ready for spear fishing.


  • Always spearfish on safe ice. Ice should be one foot thick for safety.


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Photo Credits

  • ice fishing huts on a frozen river image by GoodMood Photo from Fotolia.com