When my mom said she was building an ice fishing house, I knew I’d need to come up and help break it in. I don’t fish, but I’m always up for a new experience. We made a plan for my visit to Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota near the end of the season while there was still a couple feet of ice on the lake.
I flew in on a Friday. After a few miles on the ice road, we set up shop where we’d spend our time through Sunday. The temperatures started just above zero and warmed up the next day. If anything, I wanted it to stay colder since we were sitting in tons of house next to tons of truck on ice no thicker than the length of my arm.
With holes drilled and the heater fired up, we immediately dropped our lines, where we waited well into the night. The Northern Lights came out for a few fleeting moments.
Much of our time was just hanging out and staring into these holes. I’d mess with my camera a bit, have a beer, move my lure around hoping to attract something, rinse and repeat.
We brought Mom’s dog, Pepper, on the condition that I’d keep her entertained. She seemed bored most of the time, but I took her out a few times. We’d play and she’d run around in search of frozen fish left frozen in the snow.
On Saturday, I decided to play Coyotaje, and smuggle her into Canada. Right next to us was the border, marked by these stakes in the ground, with patrol roads on either side. Canada on the left, and the US on the right.
We were greeted with a friendly wave from the Canadian border patrol, as we crossed back in. It was time to get back to fishing.
By Sunday, I still had caught nothing. I only even had a few bites. My stepdad, Rob, had some luck mostly with Walleye. Mom was having more luck, and pulled the biggest fish of our lot: a 25″ Northern Pike.
Just before packing up and leaving the lake, I finally got one of my own: a tiny Sauger that I had to throw back. I was just happy to get anything at that point. Beginner’s luck failed me.
Mom did the cooking. We ate well out there. Our closing meal included some deer steaks, and fresh Walleye and Eelpout, washed down with Bell’s Hopslam. This beer has been at the top of my wish list for years. It was nice to find it at a liquor store on the way up to the lake. It was great, but didn’t quite live up to the hype.
After sunset, we packed up and headed back to Mom’s. It was a fun little trip. I’ll never be a fisherman, but I enjoyed playing one for a weekend.