If there was ever any doubt that ice fishermen are a stylish and creative breed, that was quashed a few weeks ago when Vaughn Murray parked an ice fishing limo on the Rainy River. Located near the Highway 11 bridge that connects the towns of Baudette, Minnesota and Rainy River, Ontario, the Ice Fishing Limo is now available for daily rentals and it will be parked on the ice for the rest of the season.
The 1994 Lincoln limo can easily accommodate four anglers and has all the comforts a dedicated ice fisherman needs: an electric heater, a built-in bar and four 10-inch holes in the floor. Murray rents it for $100 a day (Canadian dollars or US$78.32), and that price includes fishing rods and minnows. Anglers can access the limo through Murray’s house, as the vehicle is parked about 100 yards from his dock. Since it’s on the Canadian side of the river, you’ll need a valid Ontario fishing license if you want to cast a line.
Murray, who has lived on the Ontario side of the Rainy for 32 years, says he’s long had his eye on the used limo that was parked in his neighbor’s yard. It wasn’t until this fall, after his neighbor sold the place, that he approached the new owner and the limo was the subject of conversation.
“I said, ‘How many do you want?’ and he said, “Get it out of my yard and it’s yours,” says Murray. “So I just drove it over here. Reverse gear is out but forward gear still works.
By the time the river had accumulated a solid 12-inch layer of ice, Murray’s project was taking shape. He drilled into the ground, used a Sawzall to drill four 10-inch holes, and dropped a plastic sewer pipe through the holes. Then he dug a small road from his dock to the river and parked the four-wheeled shack on the ice. He says the limo is a short walk from his dock, where he spends much of the year fishing for walleye.
“You wouldn’t believe it, and I’m not bullshitting you here. But I’ve probably caught 15,000 walleye off my dock in the 32 years I’ve been here,” Murray says. “The spring and fall fishing here is just crazy.”
Murray then embellished the place with a few Elvis Presley posters and vintage Jim Beam bottles. He installed an electric heater, which is powered by an extension cord connected to his house. (He explains that he usually preheats the Lincoln with a propane heater, then uses the electric heater to keep it warm.)
Since the short time he opened the limo, several groups have already booked the limo for the day. Most of them are from the surrounding area, he says, but in recent weeks he has received many more phone calls from interested parties from other parts of Canada and the United States. He refers to his new venture as “Fu-ken-eh Limousine Ice Fishing,” but he says pronunciation is key.
“All you Americans say it badly,” he jokes. “It’s FOO-ken-eh. You shouldn’t swear when you say it.
“We just can’t believe how he exploded. He’s been on the phone all weekend,” says Murray’s wife, Melanie. “It started off as kind of a joke. I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, just do it to keep yourself busy’, because the winters are quite long and we haven’t been able to travel.
She says they are now building an Airbnb on the property. And who knows? The Murrays might even find another limo and turn Fu-ken-eh into a full-fledged fishing lodge. North American anglers are always on the lookout for the next newest spot, and as Murray says, “Nobody’s ever been fished in a limo before, huh?”