Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods


Winter Fun on Lake Kabetogama

Ice fishing on Kabetogama

Winter is in retreat and the sun is starting to race to the north. We’ve passed perihelion – the earth’s closest approach to the sun – and the days are getting longer a few minutes at a time. Sounds like Spring is just around the corner…

Well, it’s a little further away than that, but I can dream, can’t I? So, what else is there to do in the waning days of winter when cabin fever is about ready to drive you nuts? I would say that it is high time to try some outdoor activities for some winter fun. How about a little ice fishing?

Off to Northern Minnesota

I used to be a “fair weather” fisherman, meaning that I only went fishing when the weather was warm and I could get my boat out on the water.  But a number of years ago, I actually drove to northern Minnesota to spend New Year’s Eve at a resort on Lake Kabetogama that stayed open all winter .

Since the lake was sufficiently frozen and the temperature was not insanely cold, I decided that as long as I was there, why not give it a shot?  The owner was kind enough to auger a couple of holes for me about a hundred yards out and I dropped a line into the frigid water.  All I had was a small three-legged stool to sit on — not even a wind-break — and a small child’s pole that I adapted for the trip.

I was thankful that there was no wind on that particular day. I’m sure that I would have lasted a total of about 9 minutes outdoors in less favorable conditions.  The quiet was deafening and the serene solitude was incredible.  I only caught one perch that day, but it was I who got hooked.

Sitting on ice

Are You Serious?

Now, if you are going to get really serious about this, there are a ton of things that you will need to acquire… at least at some point in time. But most of you out there who already are hooked on the fun of ice fishing know that.

I’m directing this at those of you who may not have tried this side of fishing as of yet. My suggestion would be to simply check out some sites on the Internet that advertise ice fishing — and there are a bunch of them — and give them a call.

Find a place that is not too far from your home that will supply you with a heated shanty, equipment and bait and give it a try. At this point in the winter, the ice on most lakes is thick enough to at least be out on foot. For more information on ice fishing gear, check out my article on equipment.

Rookies Take Heed

Many lakes are frozen to a depth that will even allow vehicles to drive on it. But if you are a rookie, DO NOT drive out onto any lake unless a knowledgeable guide from that lake has first been consulted or, better yet, is accompanying you. I have heard far too many horror stories about cars and other vehicles going through the ice! In any case, this is a great way to help cure the winter blues. and fresh fish from your favorite lake is still way better than anything that you might purchase at your local market.

Sliding across ice

Lots of Options

Winter sports are surely not for the faint of heart.  But if the hustle-bustle rat race and other stresses have got you feeling that you want to scream, my suggestion would be to head north for a little getaway.  If fishing is not for you, try some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or even snowmobiling.

We have finally gotten some snow in the mid-west and if you are anything like me, you’ve been looking for the right excuse to get out of the house for a little fun and some exercise.  Before you know it, it will be time to head north to your favorite fishing spot and some more summer fun.  But why wait for the summer?

There are plenty of places out there with great winter rates and winter is just as great a time to enjoy the out-of-doors as the summer is.  I’ve got a little trip planned in about two weeks.  Maybe I’ll see you… On the Lake!


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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl