Ice Fishing: It begins

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Ice fishing season is in full swing in the Northwoods. It's been lake trout season since December 31st on lakes completely inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and this past Saturday, the winter lake trout season started for all Minnesota trout lakes. Our lake was transformed into a veritable ice fishing village (above) this past weekend. Then Monday came and *poof* everyone disappeared.

This past week, before we could just head out the door and down the lake to fish, we set off down the road a piece and hiked about a mile into a BWCAW lake for the first ice fishing trip of the year.
Despite the fact that it was just above 0 (Yes, Fahrenheit), we set out in high spirits.Cold temperatures usually means sunshine and by the middle of January, you take sunshine over just about anything.
Headed up the Topper Portage, auger in hand
I'm not really sure why people ice fish. You know, when you boil it down it's basically: drill a hole in the ice, wiggle a string around in the water through the ice, get cold, go home.
But I suspect views like this have something to do with this chilly sport's appeal.
Beautiful South Lake with the Rose Lake Cliffs in the background
We didn't catch a single fish, nor even get a single nibble. Then again, we didn't stay out that long - only a couple hours because my hands got cold, probably because one of my chopper liners (aka, wool mittens which go inside large leather mittens, now in northern Minnesota as "choppers" for those who don't know Minnesotan) has a massive hole in it that need to get repaired before my next subzero excursion. On the portage out, we passed a guy who'd camped out on the lake the night before. In his sled, he had two large trout. "I'm not done with you yet, South Lake," Andy vowed.

To be continued . . . 


  1. Brrr...sounds cold, but like a fun experience. And what beautiful country!!


  2. You are BRAVE! I was wearing gloves yesterday and it was 50 degrees, I can't imagine 0. Hope next time you get some fish :)

  3. My dad always ice fished. I used to love sitting in the tiny house with him while he fished through a hole in the ice. The little house had a wood stove to keep it relatively warm and even though we kept our warm jackets, mittens, etc. on, we never froze inside what amounted to a tiny (and I do mean tiny) shack. Great memories. Thanks for reminding me. Sandy

  4. You are brave. I did bungee jumping and crossed the Atlantic on a yacht, but spending hours outside by below 0 temps, is more then brave to me whether the choppers are repaired or not. Shiver! Hope Andy gets his trouts!

  5. This was so neat to read! I have never done anything like this and it's fun to see the photos and read about it.

  6. This was a great read! The pictures made it all the more enjoyable.


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