Friday, January 10, 2014

Up North Living: Let's Go Ice Fishing

Ice fishing:

It's one of those things I never, ever saw myself doing. In fact, the first year I lived in Minnesota I refused to step foot on a frozen lake because ARE YOU KIDDING? I'M NOT STUPID. No.

But after living "up North" for seven years now, I've learned to embrace the culture including outdoor activities of all seasons. One thing Andi's taught me in our life together is to get out there and do things. If we're going to live in a place where lakes are so frozen they support the weight of cars and there's snow on the ground for six out of 12 months (I wish I was joking; last year it snowed from November - May), then we might as well find fun activities to make the best of the weather.

Last year was the first full winter we had the lake cabin and I got my first taste of ice fishing. I mostly watched Andi set out tip ups on the ice near the lake shore and leisurely catch fish from inside the cabin. Every time he'd see the tip up's flag go up (which meant a fish was on the line), he'd hightail it onto the ice in his Ranger ATV to see what he caught. Lazy man's fishing. I dig it. It gave us something to do, at least. A few times last winter, we bundled up in snow gear and stood by a roaring bonfire on land, drank a few beers and fished using the tip ups, too. Pipe Lake isn't the best known lake for ice fishing, but it's fun for the experience if nothing else.

Once last winter, Andi planned an ice fishing day-date in the Twin Cities. It was my first experience with an ice house on a lake and man, those are the way to go. We rented the shack for the afternoon and read books, drank wine, fished and spent time together in a nice, warm structure. It was really fun.

We'd talked about buying an ice house for the cabin, but nothing came to fruition. Then last weekend, we got a call back from someone who accepted a previous offer and it was a done deal. We bought our own ice house! Friday we loaded the kids in the car and drove to Rice Lake to pick it up. Andi spent the afternoon dropping the ice house on the lake, drilling the holes and getting it ready and after Tory's nap we all went out there to try it out. Normally I roll my eyes at Andi's big ideas, but I really think we'll get our money's worth from this purchase. As it was before, Aden and I were spending weekends indoors because he's too tiny to be outside and Andi and Tory were doing fun outdoors activities. This way, the four of us can all go ice fishing together. It's a toasty 72 degrees inside the shack.

I can see our kids growing up ice fishing on the lake. Tory was a little apprehensive about the whole thing at first (likely because it wasn't the type of "fishing off the dock" she knows from summertime). We cautioned her about the heater and the open ice holes inside the shack, so she was nervous to move around much. Of course, Andi and I were both keeping a close eye on her at all times. Soon enough, she was nestled up under Andi's arm, casting her fishing pole (with no hook or line!) into the ice and watching Daddy fish for real. Poor Aden slept the entire time and missed all the action. Next year little buddy!

I'm really excited about this new found hobby of ours. It's easy to get down about winter when spending most of the season cooped up indoors, so this gives us something to look forward to doing together.

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