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A chilly pastime

Students and faculty share a passion for ice fishing

“They just kept coming and coming,” said freshman Cole McKinney, referring to the sunfish he was reeling in one morning up in northern Minnesota.

“All of a sudden my rod began to bend and it looked like it was going to snap right in half. I could tell there was a monster fish on the other end,” he said. “What I didn’t know was that a walleye was going to come through that hole, with my small sunfish jig on it.”

Ice fishing is a unique pastime that requires facing cold winds and patience.

However, many enjoy the different methods and results of ice fishing compared to fishing during the summer months.

French teacher Mark Norlander said that it was unique to be out in the middle of the wilderness, far from any people or civilization, catching fish and surviving outdoors in the middle of winter.

With a temperature of -28°F, a six-mile hike to their secret fishing spot in the Boundary Waters took a full day for Norlander and one of his friends.

“It took us almost all day because of frequent stops to hack off heavy ice from the slushy conditions on the lake,” he said. “The next morning when the sun was shining, I made a few holes and started fishing. The trout were super aggressive and were hitting my spoons and jigs, just three feet below the bottom of the ice.”

Both fishing in the summer and the winter months always requires patience. However, where the two pastimes differ are in the methods to reel in fish. One difference is staying in one spot during ice fishing rather than moving around to where the fish are most active.

Also unique to ice fishing is a tip-up device that lets the fisher set their bait at depth, then notifies them when a fish strikes, all without having to hold on to the pole.

Regardless of having to endure the cold wind, ice fishing is a fun way to pass the time with family and friends.

“You can tell stories while hanging out around the hole,” said freshman Drew Carlson. “If the line  isn’t in the water you’re not going to catch any fish, so get out there and fish, anyway possible.”

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