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

InterContinental Hotel Opens at MSP Airport

New lodging, restaurants, spa, gym, and skyway update the MSP Airport experience

Plan a Trip to Roanoke, Virginia

This East Coast visit comes with history, a burgeoning craft beer scene, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and more

Cannon Falls Wine & Art Fest

Taste Minnesota wines and ciders, browse through local art vendors, and eat delicious food at Cannon Falls Wine & Art Fest, July 21-22

Day Trip to Taylors Falls

A Taylors Falls day trip made up of beautiful river views and a classic malt shop.

Record Store on Wheels

Like a food truck, but for music—and debuting this Sunday at Open Streets Minneapolis

Green Thumb Gardens

The 2018 Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour flaunts its foliage July 14

Best Caves of Minnesota

Explore Minnesota’s man-made and natural curiosities this summer

Amble Over to Afton

While you’re in Afton for Selma’s, stay a while and check out the state parks, historic buildings, quaint downtown, and more

Take a Trip for (Frozen) Treats

Grab a scoop from the state’s oldest ice cream shop in Afton: Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour

Journeys: A Minnesotan’s Happy Place

Time wasted at the lake is time well spent

Journeys: The Start of Adventure

To prep for wilderness canoe trips, Les Voyageurs brings campers out on the Mississippi River

Top 5 Instagram Spots Along the Mississippi River

Bluffs, hiking trails, and waterfalls make for beautiful summer photos

Summer Sunburn Solutions

Six ways to beat the burn

Brews and Views at the Hopped Up Caribou Festival

There's no better place to tie the knot than at a craft beer festival, and if you're not into that, you can cliff climb, too
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags