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A Return To Ice Fishing (Part 1)

January 28, 2018

January 19, 2018

Something missing over the last several years has been a noticeable lack of ice fishing activity on my part.   Hopefully, that will change.

Found myself heading to Grand Rapids, MN, for a hockey tournament that my son’s team was participating in.  Fortunately the weather took an unusually warm turn and I was making last minute preparations to sneak in some ice fishing.  Hockey and ice fishing in the north woods, what more can you ask for?

Car packed and ready to go.  Minnow bucket.  Vexilar.  Rods.  Auger. Tip up.  Bait Bucket. Heater.  Propane. Caramel Corn.  Shovel. Portable. Ice Scoop.  Just add bait.IMG_2539

What would a trip be without a wrong turn?

Not an adventure.

Took a wrong turn out of Aitkin, MN, after trying, and successfully finding nourishment for my son at Subway.  Twenty minutes later found myself staring at a sign that said “Pavement Ends Ahead.”  Talk about one of those “WTF” moments.  20 plus miles on an icy, curvy, gravel road, two owls, a bald eagle and a mink, and 45 minutes of extra travel time later we returned to Hwy 169 and made like a bat out of hell to Grand Rapids.

Dropped hockey player at rink at predesignated time, which allowed for a hour to get bait and wet a line on Hale Lake.  Pulled in to parking lot at Ben’s Bait & Tackle, parked the van, got out and right away heard bubbles from the driver’s side front tire as it was resting in a puddle.  Flat tire.  Ran to Jack’s BP where the helpful staff jumped in the tow truck, pulled me to the shop, and patched up the puncture courtesy of a rock.  Made it to the rink by game time.  Thank goodness it didn’t go flat on the gravel road.  We might still be there.

Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Went to Hale Lake for about half an hour before my son’s 8 a.m. game.  Beautiful morning.  Calm and moderate temperature.  Parked on the southwest corner near a city water facility and walked onto the lake.  Marked fish in a deep hole in the south end but got skunked.

View down Hale Lake –


Fished for about an hour and a half on Saturday afternoon on Siseebakwet and caught zilch, as anticipated.  Too clear.  Few weeds.  Early morning/evening type of lake.  Good time though as two of the hockey dads, one of whom had never ice fished, joined me on the lake. Should have gone to Tioga Bay on Pokegama as suggested by Ben’s Bait.


Went to McKinney before the 5:50 p.m. per the recommendation of the helpful staff at Ben’s Bait & Tackle where they have a good selection of ice fishing tackle and bait.  Just a good ol’ classic bait shop. McKinney is another small lake in the City of Grand Rapids.  Walked out on the ice as they were flooding for an upcoming pond hockey event.   Kind of slushy by the access and didn’t want to get stuck. Caught several small crappies in 33 feet of water.  Ice fishing and cold beer.  Great day to be on the water.  Sammy’s Pizza after the game.  What could be better?


– Hats





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