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Ice Fishing Prep 2019 | MN Ice Fishing

Winter is quickly approaching... Well, in Minnesota it looks like it’s already here, and so is ice fishing season in Minnesota. For some, it's already started as lakes in the northern part of the state are already seeing safe ice and then some. Closer to my home though, there is still a fair about of open water. When it comes to hitting the ice, I'm a little more cautious than others. Most people wait for a solid 4 inches of ice before hitting the lake, but I wait for about 6. It all depends on what you are comfortable with.

This year I'm more excited about ice fishing than in the previous years. Usually, I am hunting deer until the end of the year, whether it be with muzzleloader or bow, but this year I was blessed to fill my tag early. That means I have been able to give my full attention to ice fishing. However, not being able to get on the ice has left me struggling to stay patient.

My other struggle is having enough free time to go out on the ice by myself but not having all the resources I'd like at the moment. Ideally for ice fishing solo, it would be nice to have a single person portable ice house that I could just haul out and use as a regular house or a dark house for spearing. My husband and I have an Eskimo portable hub, but it fits 4-5 people and is a little too difficult to be setting up myself. We do plan to build our own permanent this year which will eventually solve that problem as well.

Aside from that, we have our Ion ice auger all set to go, a new battery for our Vexilar, and brand-new rod covers from Reel Midwest Fishing. The only thing I need now is to get a new winter/ice fishing jacket and some good waterproof insulated boots. You could guess what's on my Christmas list this year... I’ve heard DSG has some outstanding ice apparel.

If you don’t already know, this weekend is the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show. My husband and I are going this year and I am so excited to attend the event and see all the vendors. I haven't been to the ice expo in many years; it will be great to take it all in again. Other events I want to be a part of, like tournaments and fishing get-togethers, might be tough to swing this year. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little bit of disappointment for having to miss these events. However, that has been driving me to host my own sort of ice fishing event, I've got some ideas in my head. I’ll dive more into that later.

With any luck at all, we might be able to hit the ice this weekend (when we are not at the ice show anyway.) It seems like I have been waiting forever to get on the ice but it's only early December. I know there will be plenty of time to get out there, but the ice fishing itch is strong this year.

With all the prep work going into it, I have decided on a few goals for this year when it comes to the 2019-2020 ice fishing season. Here they are:

1.) Get out solo ice fishing

This is actually something I've never done. I always go with either my brother, dad, or my husband & our buddies. I’ve been seeing more and more women get out solo fishing and it is such an inspiration. I have enough free time that I know I can get out there, I guess what holds me back is packing up all the equipment and hauling it myself. It’s time to work those muscles!


2.) Spear my first Northern Pike

I've watched my dad spear plenty of fish, but I've never done it myself. This year I plan to change that. Ever since I was a kid, I would hit the dark house with my dad and brother while they speared. It was always fascinating to me, but for some reason, I never really picked it up. I feel like it’s finally time I learn the art myself. 

3.) Make the trip to Lake of the Woods

This has been a long-time goal of mine. Whether it happens or not depends on quite a few things. My husband, a few friends, and I were playing to rent some sleepers on lake Mille Lacs this year, but we’ve heard from so many people that if we are going to make a trip – make the trip to Lake of the Woods. I’ve never been up there, I’ve ice fished plenty of other bigger lakes (Leech, Winnibigoshish, etc.) but never THE LAKE. Lake of the Woods is definitely a legend. My fingers are crossed that I make it there this year.

4.) Host an ice fishing get-together/tournament

I'm not sure if this will happen or not yet, but I'd love to host some sort of ice fishing event in the Central MN area. Whether it is a small tournament, a simple gathering, or a big ice fishing party, it is something I really want to get going. It would be a great way to get to know other people who are as passionate about the sport as I am and to hear their stories. I truly live for the stories, I always have. If everything lines up the way I’m hoping, this idea could come to life.

I feel like these goals are definitely ones I can make happen. More than anything though, I am just excited to get on the ice and experience the outdoors. I always say I'm not a fan of winter, but in reality, it's one of my favorite seasons. I was born during a snow storm so how could I not enjoy it? The cold is what bothers me, but with the right gear, that shouldn't be an issue. I mean, the cold is just another part of living in Minnesota. This great state has some harsh winters, but it is worth it for so many reasons. To be able to get out and enjoy the outdoors is truly a blessing, no matter what the temperature or weather is. So, get out there and make some memories. I know I will be.

Do you have any goals for the ice fishing season or some stories from getting out on early ice this year? I'd love to hear them!

Stay tuned for my adventures on first ice.

1 Comment


Hi Steph,

Love reading these stories! Got a question for you? You mentioned a permanent fishing hut? As you know I live in a fairly dry climate, so would this be a hut built on stilts out on the lake and the water just freezes underneath around the pylons? Or a hut that’s on skids that you drag into place?

Regards Ash

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