Lindsey goes ice fishing for the first time ever. Accompanied by her mother, Rachel, and father,
Kody, the Lucas family was hosted by Hank Kohler on a 3-day adventure on the ice.
The Reel Deal: Snow Dogging for Minnesota Slabs
by Lindsey Lucas
Minnesota is known as the North Star State because it is the northernmost state in the United States. However, Minnesota is better known as The Land of 10,000 Lakes. Almost all 10,000 offer amazing ice fishing and snowmobiling in the dead of winter.
In January I headed to check out some of those Minnesota lakes with my Mom and Dad, Rachel and Kody Lucas. It would be my first time to ice fish. My oldest brother, Dylan, bought the trip for us during a fund-raising auction held for Veterans and Law Enforcement. It was donated by Hank Kohler the author of “One 4 Water”, and Dylan gave the trip to our dad for Father’s Day.
From where we live in Missouri, we would have had a 12-hour drive to Ottertail County, Minnesota. Luckily Hank lives in Iowa at about the halfway mark to his cabin in Minnesota. Hank offered for us to meet him and ride the last half of the trip with him, giving us all a great opportunity to visit and get to know one another.
The next morning at Hank’s cabin was something to see – all of us still trying to wake up, trying to decide what to wear, make our coffee, and do it all before time to head out to the fishing shacks.
Once we stepped out of the cabin it was something to behold, snow as far as the eye could see as we looked across the lake. It was so beautiful and peaceful as we walked to get on Hanks Snow Dog he called “Bernard”. A snow dog is a small machine that looks like a lawnmower on steroids. But instead of instead of having wheels, it has tracks and can really go in the snow.
We rode the Snow Dog out to where we would fish. We sat in sleighs with our gear behind the Snow Dog and Hank pulled us onto the lake to our fishing spots.
My mom and I sat in the comfort of an actual fishing shack while my Dad and Hank sat together in Hank’s Eskimo Fat Fish Shelter. We caught a bunch of bluegills for our morning session before heading into town for some breakfast.
In the afternoon Mom and I heard Dad and Hank getting loud, laughing and yelling about Dad catching a toad of a crappie. Little did they know, Mom and I had already had five nice crappie in our bucket.
On day two Hank took us to a fishing shack owned by his friend, David Hawes. There we caught a whole bunch of crappie. We also got to learn about how well Vexilar flash sonar works for ice fishing.
For our afternoon fishing session we went to a different lake right behind Hanks’s cabin. Hank taught us how to set up a shack, where and how to drill holes with an auger, set each of our poles to the correct depth. And of course, another ride on the snow dog.
We also fished some tip-ups made by Frabill and I quickly caught my very first northern pike. Mom and Dan caught some pike as well, plus Dad caught a largemouth bass that weighed nearly four pounds. Up north that’s a BIG largemouth.
On day three we sat in the pop-up shack we had set up the previous day and caught northern pike like they were going out of style.
On this particular trip, Dad got lucky and caught the largest fish of each species, but Mom and I caught three fish to his one all three days!
Ice fishing is a different type of fishing which is really fun. In one trip we made new friends, met new people, and caught four different species of fish of the five that live there. Walleye was the only species we never landed. I had one on and lost it on the second day.
It was neat learning a new way to fish and catching fish I’d never caught before, but more importantly, we made memories that will never be forgotten. I’m glad I get to share my memories with everyone and hopefully encourage others to try something new.
I also hope you will check out Hank’s book, “One4water.” It is all about his adventures as he paddled in canoes the entire length of the Mississippi River.
(Lindsey Lucas, 15, is obsessed with all things outdoors with dreams of becoming an accomplished outdoor media provider and influencer. She hopes the tips and experiences she shares will prove inspirational for other young men and women in her Gen Z age group.)