There is no better feeling than getting new people out on hard water for the first time. Last weekend, that is exactly what my husband and I did. He had some co-workers from out of state come out to our lake and we introduced them to ice fishing.
On Saturday Alex, from Missouri, and Masayuki "Mac", from Japan, had never experienced walking out onto a frozen lake to catch fish, lat alone in sub-zero temperatures. Another of my husband's coworkers who is also from Minnesota tagged along as well to help us with the setup process and share in the good times.
Since I had just recovered from my COVID-19 symptoms, I knew I would have low energy for the day as it was my first time out of the house since my isolation period had ended. As a true Minnesotan, I wasn't going to let that stop me from fishing though. So, once Lucas had gotten everyone else out to the ice shanty and the portables set up, it was my turn to hit the ice.
Fishing was slow... Very slow. Between all of us, we had a mix of jigs and tip-ups set up but for the first couple of hours, all we caught was a visit from the MN DNR to check our licenses. He assured us that he thought we were in a good spot for fish and that the bite was liable to "turn on" at any moment... Well, it didn't. At this point, Lucas and I decided to move half of our group to a new spot.
As the other group got set up, back in our original spot we heard the cheers of "FISH ON!" and arrived at the remaining portable hub to see Mac holding up a beautiful perch. It may not have been the giant walleye he was hoping for, but he broke the ice and caught his first hard water fish. It was an exciting moment for all of us. After a little more time, we all decided to move the rest of the group to the new spot.
Once we all got everything back in order, one of our tip-ups flagged. Alex was watching them with me and I was thrilled to show him how it worked. Unfortunately, when we got to it, the fish had disappeared with the bait and all we could do was reset it.
That wasn't the end of the excitement though, as Mac caught another two perch in the new spot, while another member of our group lost a northern pike at the hole. It had started to get dark by this time and we decided to go pack up and get warm back at the house.
Even if it wasn't the most successful or eventful day of ice fishing, our mission to get new people out on the ice for the first time was a success. We are hoping next year to have them back in Minnesota for a trip up to the big pond, Lake of the Woods, but we will have to wait and see what happens.
In any case, there are many more ice fishing adventures to come this year!