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Think vacation rental, but with an ice shack

Shawano business aims to help ice fishermen secure ice shanty accommodations

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February 24, 2023

SHAWANO – Owner Jamie Besaw said the concept behind his business – I Shack Share – was “an eureka moment” for him.

Last winter, Besaw said when he and his father looked at renting an ice shanty on an area lake, he found the process frustrating.

He said it was relatively easy to find shanty rentals on the larger lakes like the Bay of Green Bay or Lake of the Woods, but finding a rental on lesser-known lakes proved difficult, if not impossible.

This led to the idea of iShackShare – an ice shanty rental service in a similar style as vacation rental services, such as Airbnb or Vrbo.

“My dad and I ice fish a lot, and we were looking for other places to go,” Besaw said. “We did not want to go to Red Lake in Minnesota or the Bay (of Green Bay). We wanted to find more obscure inland lakes you never hear about.”

Besaw said they found a few scattered listings for shanty rentals on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, but there was no central location to search for rentals.

“I started looking for that website, and it was not out there,” he said.

Besaw said he talked with his wife, Tammy, and the concept began to get legs.

“We said, ‘Let’s go ahead and talk to a web developer and see what kinds of costs would be associated with building a website,’” he said.

Besaw said they felt they had a solid idea, so the next step was finding a web developer to make the dream reality and “change the landscape of ice fishing.”

In January 2022, the Besaws pulled the trigger, and the iShackShare website was developed.

Website hiccups
Besaw said developing the website has been anything but smooth sailing.

“It was November (2022) and the site still wasn’t complete,” he said. “The look and feel of it were good, but overall functionality was not good.”

Besaw said it was hard to not get frustrated, but some advice from his father got him back on track.

Owner Jamie Besaw said renters can choose owner-provided amenities or a self-service option when booking an ice shanty. Submitted Photo

“When a fish breaks your line, do not get frustrated and quit – tie on a new bait and get after it again,” he said. 

Besaw said he did just that.

At the end of last year, he hired a new, local web developer and now the site is only a few weeks away from full functionality and being able to accept bookings.

“The site is coming along nicely with the functionality that was originally intended,” he said. “Hopefully, it can be done in time to salvage some of our first season. With big plans comes struggles, setbacks and snags.”

iShackShare concept
Besaw said they have been busy promoting and advertising iShackShare any way they can, and the response has been large and positive – both with potential fishermen and shanty owners.

“We got a crazy positive response,” he said. “We booked and attended the Dakota Ice Institute and Duluth Ice Fishing Show and were received well. The phrase ‘That’s a great idea’ was repeated over and over. The analytics from the site had listed more than 200,000 hits.”

More than 200 shanty owners have also signed up to potentially list their shack – not only from Wisconsin, but from all over the Midwest, and as far away as Pennsylvania.

Besaw said he hopes to eventually have listings everywhere there is hard ice for ice fishing.

He said listing shanties on iShackShare is free.

Once a booking is made, a small commission is charged to the renter.

Listers chose the price for their shack.

Shanty owners will list the amenities they offer, such as an underwater camera, flasher, live scope, tip-downs and tip-ups, and they set their own price.

Besaw stressed everyone’s identity is verified for safety.

Shanty owners can also offer a full-service shanty rental where the owner goes out there and has everything set up – including the heat, poles, the holes drilled and everything is ready to go.

Jamie and Tammy Besaw said they have spent the last year promoting the iShackShare concept on social media and at ice fishing trade shows. Submitted Photo

Some shanties can even be slept in.

There is also a self-service option – where the renter performs all set-up duties themselves.

For more information on iShackShare, visit its website at

“We have tied on a new bait and hope to catch the metaphorical fish of a lifetime and make a huge impact on the ice fishing world with iShackShare,” Besaw said.

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