Tag Archives: ice fishing

Ice Fishing is for Real

29 Jan
Yes, those are trucks on the ice.

Yes, those are trucks on the ice.

When I moved to Minnesota I really had no idea what I was getting in to. I grew up in the moderate climate of Washington State, on Orcas Island, a location further moderated by the ocean and the rain shadow of the mountains. In my memory at least, it rarely got above 75 in the summer or below 25 in the winter. I’m sure it does get warmer and colder than that, but as a kid who was 15 when she moved away, I never paid much attention.

Just one of the villages.

Just one of the villages.

Yep...sitting out on the ice.  Better them than me.

Yep…sitting out on the ice. Better them than me.

We moved from Orcas to Bend, Oregon, in 1985. Located in central Oregon, Bend is considered “High Desert” in that it doesn’t get much rain…but it does get a lot of snow. Eleven months spent in Bend taught me that winters do exist and driving in snow was not something I looked forward to.

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When I moved to Minnesota several years later, I was glad that I had that Bend experience to prepare me a little bit for real winters.

I was not prepared, however, for ice fishing.

Awaiting the elusive fish...

Ice fishermen...doing what I will never understand...and, I assume, loving it. More power to them!

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Every winter, as the cold settles in and mittens, hats and scarves lose themselves in an organized-crime sort of way, I shake my head in wonder at the ice houses that appear on the lake. Still, after 19 years in the Mid-West, I don’t entirely “get” the attraction. Yes, I understand that the houses are heated, sometimes even fancified to the point of televisions and bunkbeds, but still, I don’t get the allure of a hole in the floor of your little house. What if I don’t look where I’m going when I climb out of my lovely bunkbed and accidentally step into the lake?

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When I first moved to the Mid-West, I spent a few months in Wisconsin. I will never forget the evening I first met some of the local Cheeseheads. They were talking about ice fishing and I was convinced that they were pulling my leg. I mean, really! Ice fishing? That’s for die-hard Alaska-lovers, isn’t it? No one in the 48 contiguous United States goes ice fishing! That is ridiculous!

Luckily, I kept my mouth shut because, turns out, they were completely serious about their hobby. This was no joke, no set-up to fool a greenhorn. This was real.

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Yes, it’s real. And I don’t mean to make fun of it. It’s just something that I, a temperate-climate lover, don’t understand. But then again, maybe it’s a guy thing and I don’t understand it because I’m, well, a girl. I realize that I’m treading on dangerous waters here (pun intended), so I won’t lump ice fishing in with football, mustaches, a love of fire, and other manly pursuits that I don’t understand. Suffice it to say, I get a kick out of the ice villages that pop up every year on the lake…

…even if I can’t fathom why on earth they do.

Warm Winters Bring Their Own Worries…

14 Jan

Just a small post today because I’ve had some things on my mind.

First, even though I can’t figure out how to put a hyper link in a post, I did figure out how to post a blogroll, so now here, to the right, you can find the link to the Minnesota Moments article that currently appears in the winter edition of the magazine! So now, if you haven’t already, you can read the actual article about me and ten other Minnesota bloggers. Enjoy!

Secondly – and this is the stuff that’s been keeping me awake at night – the unnaturally warm winter seems to be causing unnaturally early behavior and it’s starting to stress me out.

These are the kind of waves we get around here. At least in a normal winter we do.


Example A: I have a strong urge to clean. Something must be wrong for me to have that feeling. Perhaps if I sit down long enough with a good book it will go away.

Example B: The Ice Fishermen who normally spend their evenings, mornings, afternoons and weekends out on the lake like the Grumpy Old Men that they quite possibly are, have been forced to tune up their riding mowers, tractors and/or combines in an effort to give them some valid excuses to get out of the house. Their snowblowers – sitting so lonely in the garage – mock them with their shiny headlights as they sit patiently, tongues lolling out, waiting for non-existent snowstorms to validate their reasons for being.

Example C: The cat who adopted us this fall has an unauthorized boyfriend with whom she spent the entire night last night. I very much fear that we’ll be looking for friendly farmers who might want some new blood in their mouse-catching legions this spring. Fortunately, around here, there always seem to be people who need cats whenever there are cats who need people.

The cat - "Capurrrrnicus" - in all her strange glory.


Example D: Everyone feels restless, as if spring fever has taken hold, but what we are really restless for is a serious snowstorm that will keep us indoors before the fire, all meetings, work and school cancelled. It’s the way we Minnesotans hibernate and without it we feel gyped, ripped-off, un-rewarded. You see, we expect unexpected holidays around here. Yes, it’s still January, and there is still the possibility of a serious storm, but as each day ticks off, we get more and more worried. “Maybe that meeting I don’t want to go to WON’T be cancelled by a storm! You mean I have to attend every single board meeting this winter? What is the world coming to?”

The kind of winter we have NOT had this year.


Yes, if I was stuck in my house due to a storm, I’d probably be complaining. The grass is always greener…

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