ice fishing         photo 2

It is a bluebird day today in Prior Lake, Minnesota my hometown on the edge of Prairie.  Today I will take our high energy dog “Major” cross country skiing on the lake and go check up on my husband to remind him to be home in time to take me out for Valentine’s Day dinner.  He left on the snowmobile this afternoon to “fish” in one of his friends ice shanties. 

Every year the lake is speckled with many little ice shanties that form temporary winter villages.  I am told that some even elect a mayor of their ice village (Grumpy Ole Men).  It is not uncommon for the hardiest of sorts to spend the entire winter living in their shanty.  The ice shanties range from a basic plywood shed like structure to RV like trailers with heat, stove, couch, table, beds, bathroom and satellite TV. 

The basic concept is to drill a hole through the ice and have an access panel through the shanty floor for fishing.  The fisherman usually use a miniature version of a fishing pole to “jig” with a tiny white wax worm (caterpillar larvae of wax moth) for crappies and sunfish.  Some use a “rattle reel” which is a large wooden line spool with jingle bells inside mounted on the wall of the shanty.  The line on the “rattle reel” is tipped with a minnow and placed in the ice hole about a foot above the lake weeds for Walleye, Northern Pike and Lake Trout.  When the jingle bells start ringing you have a fish on.

Others will drill holes outside the shanty and place what is called “tip up” over the hole.  A “tip up” has fishing line on a small spool and when the fish bites a minnow and pulls the line it triggers a small flag to rise.  It is a ridiculous and entertaining event seeing grown men tripping and stumbling out of a small ice shanty in literal race for a “tip up” when the flag goes up.  My husband, on occasion, will trip a friends “tip up” flag just to see the fire drill occur.  Uffda...

I really think the goal for most guys is to avoid their weekend chores and play cards with their friends.  I noticed my husband’s ice fishing pole and tackle is still in the garage… 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Best, Lady Loon