How to Cure the MN Sports Blues: Ice Fishing 101


Only a week into 2021 and nothing seems to have changed in Minnesota sports. The MLB offseason has finally started to get moving and the Twins have just been watching. The Vikings finished the season with a participation trophy. The Timberwolves look like the Timber puppies without Towns in the lineup. With Minnesota Sports once again letting us down it’s time you pick up a new hobby. That hobby is ice fishing.

Ice fishing can kill hours of time and entertain you as well. You might undergo heartbreak if you lose a big fish but a beer will help you get over it pretty quick. I’ll give you some basic pointers and some items to help get you fishing on a pond near you.

Ice Auger

If you can borrow a gas/electric auger or get one on sale, I’d urge you to do so. A hand auger is a bitch. It’s fine on shallow ice conditions of 6 inches or so. I last used one on over a foot of ice for 2 holes. Never again. Besides who doesn’t love the smell of gas in the morning.


If it’s going to be a beautiful day in the 30s-40s, just grab a 5-gallon bucket and sit on that sucker. I’d recommend going with a friend that has a flip over house before buying one. If your Mr. Moneybags then fuck it, buy one.

Sometimes you never know what they will bite on. Reeling in a crappie when the Northern latched on.


A Jason Mitchell Outdoors rod is the way to go. Affordable enough to swallow the cost if you don’t like ice fishing and strong enough to last years. Get a medium action rod if possible. Reels don’t seem to matter to me. Just don’t get a super cheap one. 4-pound line should also be good enough.


Minnows, wax worms, and spoons. I’ve always done well with a spoon or treble hook type jig before. You can apply all kinds of bait to it. Just get bigger and smaller jigs. Then you can size up or down for the size of fish in the water. Bright colors are also key.


Again I’d loan one of these from a buddy if possible. This is an expensive but super important item for ice fishing. You have no idea how many fish you missed until you use a Vexilar, Hummingbird, or any other brand of flasher. YouTube will be key to learning how to use one properly.

Beer, lots of beer

Beer is the center of ice fishing. You can’t go ice fishing without it. Actually, God probably considers that a sin.

DNR Lake Finder

For a first-time fisherman, this is a cool tool. You can find it online and search by lake name or county. This would allow you to see species present and the stocking reports. It’s something simple but it allows you to have some kind of guess on what you might be walking into.

I always set up on my own away from the other houses on the ice. But I also know the lakes in my area. If you want you can always venture close enough to other fishermen to see what they might have caught or if your luck might improve. Just loan them a beer and they probably won’t tell you to get lost. Best of luck on the hard water!