Ice fishing is now becoming one of our top outdoor family activities for the winter. We are just learning to ice fish in our second Minnesota winter and we are enjoying the heck out of it. It has been a great way to get the kids outside for some fresh air in the winter and keep them active. My kids are 4 and 6 years of age, so it can be challenging to do some serious ice fishing, but it is just great getting out there and experiencing the outdoors with the whole family. I believe it is real important to challenge your kids and put as many adventures and experiences as you can in front of them.
We started out last year with a 6″ Mora Hand Auger and a couple of cheap ice jigging poles. We had some success with blue gill and the kids had a great time. I ended up adding a couple of nicer ice rods to our limited gear so we all had a rod to use. Kyle really got into it right from the get go and caught fish each time we went. Reid was good for about an hour before getting a little antsy, but he enjoyed scooping the slush out of the holes. We were having a great time with it, but after cutting holes through 2 feet of ice with the hand auger, we decided that we should go ahead and get a power auger when they went on sale at the end of the season. Wow, was that worth it! We started out this year by adding a cheap ice shelter from Menards to keep the wind off of us, which was a huge help. For Christmas, we added the Little Buddy heater from Mr. Heater and Santa brought the boys new rods, since the original cheap ones were no longer working well.
The first couple trips out this year, I started out with some bluegill and sunfish, then decided to go ahead and find some crappie. My first night out for crappie, I actually found a good hole and ended up calling Lynn and the boys to meet me at the lake so the boys could catch some crappie. We had a good time and the boys were hooked on the ice fishing again. We’ve had good luck this year with crappie in a couple different holes. I love perch, and we were also able to find some nice size perch on a couple of trips out. I honestly like pretty much any fish and it has been fun learning how to catch the different fish.
We keep expanding our horizons in the ice fishing arena, looking for different fish and trying out new lakes. We don’t have any electronics for fishing yet, but I think it is good to teach the boys how to count out the line and try to find the suspended fish the old school way. Next year, I think we’ll try to find some walleye. I figure we’ll take it a step at a time. We didn’t make it out this weekend and probably won’t make it out next weekend either as we are having some extremely frigid weather here in Minnesota. The boys keep asking me when we are going to head out again though. Reid is doing great with it this year and keeps us well entertained out on the lake. Kyle is real serious about it and is the one always keeping track of who caught the most and biggest fish.
The ice fishing has been great and it is always fun to add another outdoor experience to our family. I just love teaching my wife and kids new things and learning how to do new things myself. What are some of your winter hobbies? Do you ice fish?