Ice Fishing for a Good Cause

Posted by MNAngler On February - 8 - 2011

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to fish two different ice fishing tournaments. The problem was, they were at the same time. So I had to make a choice. I opted for the closer tournament that looked like it might have fewer people. Not to mention that it was for a good cause.

The tournament I picked was the Holes for Heroes tournament on Medicine Lake in Plymouth. It was mainly a fundraiser for the Fishing for Life organization, but was also intended to highlight the armed forces and what they do for us.

I first heard about this tournament from a post by Bass Pundit a few weeks ago. I had never been to an ice fishing tournament before, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. It turns out, I was wholly unprepared.

When I first got there, I saw a bunch of cars on the ice, but I wasn’t sure my Toyota Camry could get around in the deep snow very well, so I parked on the street. While I did see a bunch of cars on the ice, what I didn’t realize is that the organizers had plowed a road.

Yes, Virginia, those cars are parked on a frozen lake.

I walked to where the action was and found ice fishermen galore. They all had their own set ups with shelters, Vexilars, and bait. Not knowing what to expect, I only brought a single rod and a container with three different jigs (I haven’t fully committed to the ice fishing thing yet).

I checked in at the registration desk, got my badge and entry number (#87), and went off to find a hole. Some of the holes were open water while others had some snow and ice knocked into them. My ice scoop was in my car, along with my ice bucket that I could sit on, but I was too lazy to walk all the way back to get them. I tried a couple of different holes and half heartedly trying to jig, but I really felt outclassed with all the fancy equipment all around me.


I saw a couple of people peering down the holes. My friend, Mark, did that at one of our ice fishing outings last year and thought he was crazy. This time, I decided to try it. Amazingly, I was able to see bottom. I also saw my jig hanging there like a lone wolf (I tried to take a picture, but it didn’t turn out). There wasn’t a sign of life anywhere near it. The same thing happened at a different hole. I even jigged it a bit while watching and I might as well have been jigging in a bucket full of sand. It looked about the same.

The entertaining part of the day was the emcee. He was pretty enthusiastic. At times a little over the top. He was on the speaker every few minutes giving away t-shirts and hats to registered ice fisherman and was promoting an extra cost raffle for bigger prizes. One drawing involved a Frabill multi-tool with lanyard. He kept emphasizing the lanyard like it was made out of gold. I thought to myself that if he got that excited about a lanyard, he must be really easy to shop for at Christmas.

He did, however, talk about a 30.25″, 7 lb Northern that someone had caught. Poor thing couldn’t even stretch out in the container.


That pic on the right is of a makeshift ice house town that had nothing to do with the ice fishing tournament. Apparently, Medicine Lake is a popular lake even without a tournament.

Not feeling lucky in the fishing or the drawings, I left about 15 minutes before the contest was scheduled to end. The other tournament I could have attended said they would provide bait, so that might have been the better tournament to go to for me. But this was a good experience to see what an ice fishing tournament was like. I’ll pay more attention to the descriptions and will be better prepared next time.

This was touted as the “first annual” fishing tournament on Medicine Lake for the armed forces. I look forward to seeing many more. My advice to the organizers, however, is to reconsider the name. It could really be misconstrued if heard out of context.

5 Responses to “Ice Fishing for a Good Cause”

  1. Bass Pundit says:

    FYI- Not all ice fishing contests are the same. Some allow electronics, some don’t. Some allow you to bring a shelter, most don’t. It’s generally a good idea to get a hold of the rules before hand if you can.

  2. Michelle says:

    I attended my first ice fishing tourney last year on Forest Lake. WOW!! The amount of people, cars, ice fishing “stuff” was amazing. I had no idea ice fishing was that awesome.

    • MNAngler says:

      I’m going to go to that tournament this year. As an ad-hoc reporter if not as a participant. Hunt.Fish.Feed isn’t going to make it back this year?

  3. I didn’t know that ice fishing was so popular…maybe something that I need to try…Heck, I like skiing!!!

Leave a Reply