I'm sad to say it's time to retire the Lil Hotdish vintage fish house camper from its usual frozen adventures. Now, we're taking on a new ice fish house project with a slightly bigger camper.

Goodbye, Lil Hotdish! Hello, new Hotdish! I’m sad to say it’s time to retire the Lil Hotdish vintage fish house camper from its usual frozen adventures. Our sweet little fish house is no longer safe for travel due to rotting wood, the exterior walls falling apart, and a frame that we’ve had to mend one too many times. Plus, we’ve grown from a family of two to a family of three (hi, Harlan!) — and now a family of four (hi, Juniper!).

Since the Lil Hotdish first joined our lives in 2017, we’ve caught so many memorable fish all across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even out west in Montana and Wyoming. We created lifelong memories with friends and family who wanted to join us on the ice or go camping in the woods. This past year, we brought it onto Lake Minnetonka where we went ice fishing with Harlan who is almost 2 years old and Juni who was just 2 weeks old at the time.

But the Lil Hotdish isn’t leaving our lives just yet. It will now serve another purpose on our hunting land as a great place to rest and hang out during deer and turkey season! It’s legacy will live on and we hope to get many more years out of the Lil Hotdish.

Now, we’re taking on a new ice fish house project with a slightly bigger camper we’re calling the Hotdish! We simply couldn’t depart from the catchy Minnesotan name so we decided to stick with the Hotdish. I searched all over the internet for a fish house that is vintage or retro styled, but couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. So instead, I searched for a regular camper with the following criteria:

  • Vintage style but new
  • Large enough for a family of four
  • Toy hauler
  • Must have potential to convert to a drop down ice fishing house <– most difficult requirement

We found this beautiful red Riverside RV Retro 820R at Larry’s RV in Michigan. The dealership was super helpful and patient with me as I asked a million questions and demanded photos from hundreds of miles away. We finally committed, brought it home, and now it’s awaiting its maiden voyage! We plan to do plenty of camping this spring and summer.

The conversion project will be challenging and unique. We never had to convert the Lil Hotdish because the previous owner had already converted it from a regular camper to an ice fishing house. We are hoping to work with a local camper conversion company (there’s only one that I know of) but it’ll likely be difficult because of the tandem axle and suspensions. I’ve been emailing with the company back and forth, but I’m hoping we can drop the Hotdish off soon to get a better read on what is and isn’t possible for this conversion project. All I know is that we want our fish house ready by the next ice fishing season. There’s a good chance that the project won’t even be possible and we’ll have to sell the new Hotdish and purchase a more traditional fish house. Not ideal because I loved how our Lil Hotdish wasn’t a typical boxy ice fishing house. The retro style really made it special and fun for our family.

I will be sure to keep you updated on the project! Until then, happy camping!


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