Friday's Weekend Column
It's Making Ice Now!

by James Glaser
November 29, 2002

Even though our lake froze over about three weeks ago the ice is way too thin for ice fishing. That statement is only true if you are thinking about your personal safety, not true if you are an avid ice fisherman.

Every time I go to town people ask, "Jim is the ice ready yet?" Like I am down on the lake every day making a survey. From up here in the house it looks like a lot of ice and that wind is blowing like heck and with the temperature down in the single digits overnight, it's making ice now.

To tell the truth I have not seen a soul out on the lake this winter, which is unusual because every other year people are out there on Thanksgiving day. Oh, guys have been out there with their portable ice houses and the reports I have received say 1-5 inches. When you dig a hole and find you are standing on one inch of ice, it can get pretty scary.

This morning I saw a couple nuts out there carrying long two by fours. I guess that is so if they go through the two by four will hold them up. I never trusted a little board like that to hold me up when working on a house and think it would snap like a twig falling through the ice. These guys are desperate to kill some fish or themselves

Mr.Avid Ice Fisherman (Farmer Ron) told me today that he went out and found a spot about five inches thick and was getting ready to fish and noticed a dark spot a few feet away and threw his chisel over there and it went right through. He said he sucked all his weight up into his head to make himself lighter and was just amazed at how fast he was off the ice.

This Sunday is the first legal day for spear houses and people are getting them in place along the shore. Spear fisherman are a breed of their own. Many have a one man house, no windows to keep it dark so you can see into a big hole you cut in the ice, and you wait for a fish, spear in hand, and some times you wait all day and never see one. Some guys will spend sixty or more days a year out there. You can pretty well spot those guys, real quiet and tend to stare at one spot all the time.

Those that angle in the big ice houses are way more sociable. Some busy lakes have Prostitutes that move from house to house. Some houses are huge with beds, kitchens, televisions for watching the Vikings, and even a couple holes for fishing. People have even been known to cook up meth in Ice houses.

Our lake just has avid fisherman out there for days at a time, little colonies of houses where on a nice sunny day guys are walking from house to house telling stories and having a good time.

An ice fishing house is different than a spear house. Usually bigger with windows and are really like tiny cabins. Some people put six or seven thousand dollars into theirs and nice home made ones still cost you about fifteen hundred when all is said and done.

Minnesota is cold and in the winter there isn't much to do unless you like it outside and ski, snowmobile, or ice skate. Ice fishing is kind of a inside outside sport. Your out on the lake, but in a warm little house. It is real fun if you like doing something with your kids and you can have some real fine time sitting out there with a friend or friends just talking and fishing. Come to think about it there is just a lot of things to do in Minnesota in the winter and there is the added bonus of no bugs.

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