An Ode to Ice Fishing Part 2: It’s all Fun and Games Until You’re Hungover, Shitting in a Bucket on a Frozen Lake During a Blizzard.


If you’re like me, after reading my colleague Evan Bates’ recent blog An Ode to Ice Fishing: A Thrill Unlike Any Other, I started reminiscing about my 25+ years of ice fishing in Minnesota…99% of it done on Lake of the Woods. Specifically out of Warroad, where my dad has lived for years.

I’ve also spent that same time finding out that the ice fishing Gods are fickle, vindictive, and cruel. Sometimes everything can start rolling down-hill REAL fast and you’ll end up like someone in Bates’ group “puking their fucking guts out by 9 am from the back of a SnoBear.” Hell on Earth.

So here’s some…let’s say, “lessons learned.” Hopefully, they’ll help you someday, or maybe even totally prevent you from doing something stupid…which I have excelled at for years.

You do NOT want to be the guy I described in the title of this blog…a person in a dark inescapable hellscape of pain and cold with their ass hanging over a plastic bag in a bucket outside on a lake during a blizzard.

This picture was taken me the morning after an especially hard night of drinking.

*Note to reader. I always stay and sleep on the lake at least 2 days. So adjust your reality if you’re a person that stays in a nice hotel and goes back to it every night. Showers don’t exist out on the ice.*

Who the Hell am I Getting Stuck With and Where am I Sleeping??

This is pretty standard. Sitting in a car with someone, maybe sharing a cheap shitty hotel room with a good friend or two should be fine. But being in an ice house of any size can make enemies out of friends.

Particularly with everyone’s close friends Dennis Booze and Billy Beer always showing up and throwing down. No matter where you’re fishing, you’ll be in their company out on the ice. I’ll tell you what though, it wouldn’t be real ice fishin’ without those two troublemakers.

Just keep in mind if you go to war with someone you drove with because they were farting in the icehouse, inevitably that car ride home is gonna SUUUUUUUCK. Especially if they just KEEP farting.

You get top bunk, bitch! You are also guaranteed to injure yourself trying to drunkenly climb up to bed. You’ll be lucky if it’s close to as nice as this picture.

But……Maybe you’ll be sleeping in a lil camper with 3 other people. Now look at you…you’re sleeping in the bunk-like-bed that’s about the size of a coffin! Get ready to bang your head when you wake up!!

Plus, all that heat that you’ve been crankin’ out rises to the top of the interior of the icehouse… which is exactly where your bed is!

It’s really fucking great being cold all day, only to go to bed and sweat like a menopausal woman all night long!

Just watch the hangovers. They behave as television does. But instead of adding 15 lbs, hangovers increase in intensity by 55% when you are ice fishing. IN A SMALL HUT, with other hungover people.

THAT, folks, is a recipe for disaster….which leads me to my next topic…

Don’t Drink any Fireball while Ice Fishing. EVER…..You Fuckin IDIOTS.

From the time you leave your house until you get back home. Don’t let any of that Spicy Cinnamon Sauce Sent from Satan touch your lips.

However, someday you will and you’ll be a sad sack of shit in the morning.

Come on people, it’s got a fucking demon on the front of the bottle. You should probably just stick to your Black Velvet diets or Busch light.

Now is Not the Time to be Forgetful.

Now obviously the main concern is warm clothes, big ol boots, and SUNGLASSES. I swear looking straight into the sun isn’t as bad as being 10 miles out on Lake of the Wood with no sunny g’s.

The “Leader” of the group will usually be the one all organized, who gets up right on time. All the time he’s getting ready he’s acting like a prick telling everyone to “get outta bed you dumbasses!” followed by “get the fuck in the shower, let’s get on the ice guys, NOW!”

Or it could just be your impatient dad yelling this at you…

This person hates nothing ON EARTH more than having to turn and go back to get somebodies fuckin’ smokes. Or their goddamn bottle of orange fucking Gatorade that their hungover ass just has to have.

Or it could be your impatient dad getting pissed at you.

The big thing to remember is not neglecting to visit the ol crapper before getting on the ice for an extended period of time.

But if you’re going to be out there for days, be ready for the wonderfully ironically named honey-bucket.

All you need is a bucket like this one and an extra grocery bag to take the most uncomfortable shit of your life.

Be Prepared to Not Catch a Goddamn Thing. Nothing.

Even worse than nothing, is pulling in an Eel Pout, thinking it was one of those ugly alien fuckers from The Predator movies. To which I reacted by aimlessly wasting all my weapon’s ammunition shooting into the trees around me.

It may sound obvious now, or maybe not that obvious…You’ll catch something, you tell yourself. Then after going into a trance staring at your bobber not move for 2 days start talking to yourself, then by the third day you’re anwsering yourself. After the 3rd day, the murdering begins.

The Legend of the Green Hornet Fishing Rod.

“The Green Hornet has caught more fish than you’ve lied about.”

Max Goldman on his legendary rod.

Every Minnesota ice fisher should know the story of Minnesota’s two most famous ice fishermen: John Gustafson and Max Goldman. The latter of which possessed possibly the most famous ice fishing rod in the history of the entire universe, the Green Hornet (seen pictured below). A documentary was even made in about the events surrounding these men was made years ago.

Sadly, Max left the rod unattended one fateful day.

A fish hit the line hard, and despite Max’s best efforts the Green Hornet was pulled into the hole, thought to be lost forever.

Shortly after this, in what the people of Wabash have described as a miracle, Max’s neighbor and longtime foe John Gustafson managed to hook and reel in the Hornet, by simply having a stroke of dumb luck.

In a fit of rage following a physical altercation (seen above) between the two grumpy old guys men, John broke the Green Hornet over his knee when he returned home.

The rod’s whereabouts have been unknown ever since.

Do NOT let Kenny Thunder in your Ice House.

Seriously, Kenny and his 64-ounce insulated mug full of whiskey and water have been known to RUIN a perfectly good time. Rambling stories, chain-smoking cigarettes, and just completely pissing me off are his specialties. Look the fuck out.

And yes, he’s real. And he is terrible. You may not know him now, but you better be hoping you don’t know him at any time in the future.

There you have it folks! Until next time…

Enjoy the legendary Harry Nilsson, singing his hit, the “Fuck You Song.”