Minnesota Attractions

Minnesota Ice Fishing

Discover the joys of drilling your own hole and catching lunch on one of Minnesotaís beautiful frozen lakes.

ice fishing in Minnesota With over 10,000 lakes, Minnesota correctly teems with opportunities for fishing in the winter. Infact the state holds the largest ice fishing contest on Gull Lake, north of Brainerd every January. In this epic event, 15,000 anglers of various calibers drill approximately 20,000 holes and wait as they peer into the hazy depths for such well-known delicacies as Walleye. This is a fish with a luminous glow in the eye and a propensity for feeding in the early hours and at night, and is said to be extremely tasty. So tasty, that a statue commemorating its palatability has been erected in a town close to the Millie Lac lake.

Ice fishing can be done almost everywhere in the state during the winter months. Lake Calhoun, which is not far from the metro area, is the quintessential example of an ice fishing spot. Lake Calhoun is usually flooded in the winter with amateurs and professionals searching for Tiger Muskie, Crappie, Bass and the like. One could almost say it was the place to see and be seen in ice fishing.

Several other lakes may not be within view of a city skyline, but offer just as good a chance for snaring a generous catch. The afore mentioned Millie Lac lake is one such place. This 332 square mile lake hosts entire families and their semi-permanent fishing houses from when the ice becomes thick enough till the beginning of spring. By late December or early January, the ice has thickened to permit the weight of men and moderately heavy equipment. According to sources in the State fish and game department, by mid December, the ice has thickened to 3 feet, which keep mind is too thin for vehicles. Drilling a hole in any spot on the lake guarantees virtually an 80% chance of snaring a decent sized specimen.

Bald Eagle Lake located in the White Bear Lake region hosts Walleye as well, but differs from its cousins in one way; it has proven reserves of the largest specimens of Pike-the ferocious finned fighter- in Minnesota. This toothy predator with Jaguar like markings is a favourite for Ice fishermen as the cold weather does nothing to dampen the creatures fighting spirit. Professional fishermen have told Moby-Dick like tales of spending several hours trying to reel in the slender muscular water pugilist. In the past, individualsí up to 30 pounds in weight have been snatched. Pike are also found in Lake Minnewashia, southwest of Minneapolis city in Carver and Hennepin counties. Individual fish here are not large, but just as stubborn.

Lake Owasso is another lake with good ice fishing prospects. The 375 acre lake on the border of Rosevile is popular for fishing walleye and other lesser species such as Bass.

One of course cannot fail to mention the Giant Lake Superior when talking about Ice fishing. The Lake has 80 species of fish including invasive ones.Palatable Rainbow trout is difficult to find in the more frigid times of the year but one can occasionally snag a worthy specimen. Ice fishing techniques in this part of town include everything from sophisticated rigs to the rudimentary talents of bashing a hole in the ice and sitting down quietly to observe the prey.

It is necessary to be well equipped when ice fishing. A 10-15 pound line, bait in the form of live minnows, leeches, an ice house or wind-breaking shelter and an ice auger to bore through the thick ice are a must. The State also has regulations designed to maintain public safety and reduce over fishing-something that has plagued Lake Superior for years. Some of these regulations include limitations on a species length with regard to the season, number of lines that can be cast by a single individual, the use of a dark house and itís positioning over an ice hole, and the mandatory installation of reflective strips on ice houses when in use as overnight shelters.

With this information in your belt, go out this winter and enjoy as many of the ice fishing expeditions you can. Remember to stay prepared, and use caution when taking a vehicle on the ice. You want to be sure itís thickness is appropriate to hold the weight of your car or truck.

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