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Brad Laabs: Introduce someone to ice fishing in 2014

Happy New year and welcome to the 2014 ice fishing season! I was in the metro area and southern Minnesota for the holidays. By the way, the weather is warmer there than we are here.

Much of the conversation with some extended family, friends of extended family, friends, and acquaintances during our trip centered around ice fishing.

I was reminded during this trip how many Minnesotans have never ice fished, and how many have only had a few experiences with the winter sport. It is hard to believe you could grow up in Minnesota, or the Midwest for that matter, and never participate in this unique winter opportunity.

During the summer, I get many clients from warmer states that are always curious about our winters, and this “rumor” they hear about lakes freezing. They have a hard time comprehending that the lakes are covered with enough ice that you can drive on them.

Many have a goal to one day experience getting out and fishing on the ice. For many, their introduction to the concept of ice fishing comes from the series of “Grumpy Old Men” movies.

If you are one of those people that have not had the chance to get out and experience fishing on the ice and would like to give it a try to see if you would like it, our area offers you options. If you are an avid ice angler, these options also offer great experiences for you as well. Within a couple hour drive we have lakes like Leech, Red, Winnibigosh, and Mille Lacs that offer full service ice fishing.

A few miles further travel can get you on famed waters like; Lake of the Woods, or Devils Lake in North Dakota. All of these primo fishing lakes have multiple service providers, and with a few clicks on the Internet, or a few phone calls, and you can set yourself up for your ice trip. Locally, Quality Bait and Tackle has fish house rentals available, contact John or Glenda at 218-844-bait and get yourself set up for your ice fishing experience.

It is always a good thing to get out and try your experience before you start investing in the activity. You can find out if you like the sport, learn about the sport and what you really need if you are going to start to get into the activity.

When you go bowling the first time, you use a house ball. You don’t get your custom fit bowling ball and then go and try bowling to see if you like it and want to start the hobby. If trying tennis, you will probably go with someone that knows the sport, can teach you the rules, and has a racket you can borrow. If you like it, you will go buy your own.

Going ice fishing with someone that has experience can make a huge difference. Getting into a rental fish house can make big difference, as they are set up on top of a bite and can remove all the guess work. Catching a few fish through the ice can make the ice fishing experience even more fun than just the uniqueness of the event itself.

If you are an experienced ice angler, add a New Year’s resolution to your list. Get a person out fishing on the ice that has never been out, or get that angler that hasn’t been out on the ice for a long time back out on the ice.

If you’re a veteran ice angler and have gotten away from the sport, you remember what you are missing. Make a point to get back on the ice, and maybe take that special trip to one of the premier ice destinations right in our back yard.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)