Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Recipe for: Ice Fishing on Lake of the Woods Minnesota
Take two parents in their 70’s – one who recently had hernia surgery and isn’t suppose to lift more than 20 pounds and a Mom who wants to help so bad but doesn’t know what to do to help. Add in that both have been ice fishing once maybe twice in their lives with me.
Add one fishing buddy who lives next door, age 60, who after 40 years as a plumber can’t raise his arms about his chest because his shoulders and elbows on both arms have terrible arthritis from all the pipe lifting and fitting he did in those 40 years and now has to be taped up just to be able to use them.
Load Pickup the night before with: Two fish houses, 9 poles, 2 heaters, 1 large propane tank, 3 small propane tanks, 4 chairs, 2 ice scoops, 2 minnow buckets, 4 pails (for fish and well… bathroom breaks), a 5 foot ice pick, and a 10” ice Auger. Tie down well with 40 feet of rope because you don't have anything smaller.
Have your mother prepare lunch for 4 to include: a dozen salami and cheese sandwiches, potato chips, 4 apples, 4 oranges, and just in case someone gets hungry after that 3 dozen slow baked chicken wings. Also include 4 cans of diet coke and make 2 pots of coffee. Let sit overnight.
Next day get up at 4:45am because your fishing buddy is up and waving good morning to one of your parents. Dress accordingly for northern MN weather to include: 2 pairs of socks, boots, long underwear, insulated pants, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, a goose down Jacket, a hat and 2 pairs of gloves.
Load pickup with people and all the clothes that fit in between the two women and drive north 62 miles. Listen closely to all the local news of who had a baby, who died, who is going to get pregnant, and who is dying or should be dead for the next 2 hours. Drive north until you get to a sign that says, “US Border Patrol – Canada Entrance 300 Feet” turn right. Drive another 45 miles along the Canadian Border watching for moose, deer, elk, fox, lynx, cougar, buffalo, snowshoe hares and Amish Buggies.
Once in “Marvin Windows Town” formerly known as Warroad stop at “My gas and bait”. Use restroom and buy 6 dozen minnows and gold jigs with red eyes. Turn left out of gas station and go until you see the Dunspors farm that is next to the railroad. Take a left and go around the bend. Take another left at “the road that looks like the right one” and go approximately 1 mile until you see the “Old Arneson House”. Turn right were the street light is (only one for miles) and pay $7 at the little 2 x 4 shed. This will allow you to use the Arneson’s access to the lake. Travel north through the Arneson’s property until you come to Lake of the Woods.
Once on the lake, take a deep breath and drive on to the ice. Follow the plowed ice road approximately 6.3 miles and look for a blue ice house. Remember there will be around 400 ice houses on the lake that far out so make sure you go to the blue ice house with the name Punky Ostenaa on it. Look north and see Canada approximately 3 miles away by ice.
Once you find the house go 30 yards north to northwest of house and dig through the 24” of snow until you see the ice. Continue to shovel a space 5 feet x 9 feet. Have parents unload the truck and wait. Once ice is clear, check depth and make sure you are between 30 – 32 feet. Place ice house on cleared area and using 5 foot pick, stab the ice where the holes in the house are. Move house off of ice and on to the snow and using ice auger drill four 10” holes.
Don’t worry if the water comes up from the holes and floods your new floor in 3 inches of water, you can throw snow back on to the spot to ‘soak’ up the water. Again, shovel off the water heavy snow.
Move house back over the holes and clean out holes with ice scoop. Put 2 chairs, a heater, 2 dozen minnows in bucket and 4 poles in the house. Set up mother and father to start fishing. Repeat at next location, but this time without added help. Listen for your fishing buddy give your Mom a hard time for already losing a fish as she couldn’t see the line in the ice.
Set up second house by repeating the same process and go tell your dad to go hang out with your fishing buddy. After dropping lines in the water to the bottom of the lake catch first fish. Return him to water if too small. Listen for your father to hauler, “I want bobbers on my lines ‘cause I can’t see those damn red things”. Add bobbers to all lines and go back to your house and sit.
After a few minutes pull in your second fish and a few minutes after that your third fish. Hope and pray your folks do the same. Turn on fish finder.
Run to the other house when you hear your father say “Janice, I need a bucket”! Run to house and see one walleye in the snow. Go back to original house and giggle with your mother for approximately 3 hours with NO bites and wait for your father to say “Janice, I lost one because of this leader thing”. Go over to the house and see what is up and do not be disappointed when you are told the leader caught on the bottom of the hole and a very nice fish got away because your father had reeled the bobber up into the pole.
Go back to house and giggle some more with mother and again pray for her to catch a fish. Wait 3 more hours and if no additional bites, reverse the whole truck unpacking process and drive slowly off the ice.
Stop for gas and a bathroom break and take the back roads all the way home making sure to pay attention to who lives at each corner, how many snowshoe hares were seen in the field, and how many deer and elk were standing at the tree line. Watch again for Amish Buggies. Give father a hard time about the $200 fish he almost caught (4 fish at a total of $200 gas and supplies). Have your father tell you that you better drink champagne like the big shots for what has turned out to be a $50-75 meal per person.
Arrive home around 6:30pm and do NOT unpack the truck, rather bring food inside, heat the 3 dozen chicken wings in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve with egg noodles and biscuits. After eating have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, and walnuts. Be in bed by 8:30pm.
Next morning wake up at 6:30, unload truck and hear your father tell you that “there is no chance in hell he will ever do that again”. At 7:30am go to fishing buddies sons house and look at portable ice house to use on the next trip to Lake of the Woods.
In 30 days repeat the whole process. Next time I will take pictures!
Minnows: $7.50 for 2 dozen
Poles you forgot at home: $20
Fishing adventure with parents and Mike – Priceless!