Edit ModuleShow Tags

Ice, Ice Baby: It's Ice Fishing Season in Minnesota


Published:

Fishing is in my family’s blood. I don’t want to say my brothers and dad are fanatical about fishing, but, well, they’re fanatical about fishing. In the summer it’s all about landing the elusive musky (or walleye, or sunnies, or bass, or northern pike, depending on the day), in the winter it’s all about ice augers and tip-ups and jiggle sticks and “Flag! Flag! Whose hole is that?! Hey, you have a flag up!”

You know, the usual ice fishing lingo.

When I was younger, my family would go to the Siren Ice Fishing Contest on Clam Lake just about every year. We’d make a weekend of it, staying at The Lodge at Crooked Lake, dining at Adventures Restaurant, enjoying small town life. I loved that annual event. My grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins would all participate. It was like a big family reunion, out on the ice. 

ice fishingAt some point, maybe when the cousins started having kids, a weekend trip to Siren, Wis. became too hard to coordinate (although a few of us still make an effort to get out there. This year’s contest is Feb. 25.). Rather than let a family tradition fizzle out, my older brother started organizing a friends/family ice fishing contest three years ago on Forest Lake, not too far from where my parents live. It’s always fun, even if the Weather Gods have frowned upon us the past two years (the wind chill this past Saturday was below zero, and still 28 hardy souls braved the elements to join the party! My brother's friend took first place with a 5.5 pound northern pike.).

To me, ice fishing is less about catching fish and more about being out on a frozen lake on a crisp, clear winter day, exchanging stories with loved ones in a cozy little propane-heated ice fishing shack, or—if the weather cooperates—making snow angels, throwing a Frisbee, chasing the little ones around, grilling hot dogs, and racing to the next flag that pops up to see what hungry fish took the bait. (I will pull the fish out of the hole, but someone else can get the hook out of its mouth. After 30+ years, I still feel bad doing that!)

The next ice fishing contest on my radar is the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza Feb. 11 (It was originally set for Jan. 21, but was postponed due to unsafe ice conditions.)

Advertised as the “World’s Largest Charitable Ice Fishing Contest” (all of the proceeds benefit charities), the $45 entry fee includes a chance at over $30,000 in prizes. Don’t forget to buy a valid Minnesota fishing license if you intend to fish.

Tips for participating in the Ice Fishing Extravaganza can be read on the city of Brainerd’s website. (After reading this, I kind of want to catch Jingles! It sounds like one of those fishing legends, doesn't it?)

Random drawing tickets are available for $10 and don’t need to be purchased in conjunction with tournament tickets. The kick-off party is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10 from 6-9 p.m. at Grand View Lodge. Tickets are $20.

If you can’t make it to an organized contest Up North and still want to try the sport, there’s a great list of top metro ice fishing lakes in this ice fishing article.  

If you’re out on the ice this winter, I hope you are careful, I hope you have fun, and if you’re fishing, I hope you get to hear “FLAG! FLAG! YOU HAVE A FLAAAAAG!” many, many times before the season is over. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

It's Farmers Market Season

No matter where you live in Minnesota, fresh produce, flowers and homemade goodies await

Origami in the Garden

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit puts the art of folding paper on full display with a garden and metal twist

New Ways to Explore 3 Classic MN Destinations

From Fort Snelling to the North Shore, check out this summer's technological updates to historic and wild Minnesota places

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

What to Wear + Where to Go: Music Festivals

Your style guide for Minnesota music festivals

Mesabi Trail Offers New Views in Northern Minnesota

The Mesabi Trail, a 120-mile paved cycling and hiking trail that spans the Mesabi Iron Range, recently opened a new connection in Virginia, MN that crosses the state's tallest bridge and offers amazing views of former minelands.

Glensheen Mansion Bonfire Nights

Enjoy this summer tradition from one of the most iconic estates in the state

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Treasure Island Resort & Casino 2018 Summer Concert Series

Check out the awe-inspiring lineup of summer concerts at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags