Tricounty News

Minnesota adults fish free with kids during holiday weekend

Adult Minnesotans (18 and older) can try ice fishing without purchasing a license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing during Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend, Feb. 14-16. "This is an opportunity to get outdoors and connect with nature," said Mike Kurre, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mentoring program coordinator. "You've got the chance to try something new and you just might find something for the frying pan." Unlike summertime shore fishing, ice fishing presents some unique challenges. Here are key tips from the DNR's MinnAqua program , which is designed to teach angling recreation and stewardship as well as the ecology and conservation of aquatic habitats. • Dressing in layers is the best way to deal with winter's icy chill. Layers keep you warm in even the coldest conditions by creating pockets of warm air and helping moisture evaporate. • Follow your mom's advice and wear a hat. Almost 90 percent of your heat escapes through your head. • Plopping an ice shelter down in the middle of ice shack city on a nearby lake doesn't guarantee success. Noise and traffic often spook fish, so find a private hole off by yourself. If that's not an option, keep to the outside ring of these "cities on ice." • The only rule of how to fish is that there are no rules. Be willing to try different options. If a slow, methodical jigging motion isn't working, try an aggressive one-or try a lift-and-drop technique. The MinnAqua program also works with the "Ice Team", a group of manufacturers who help educate anglers by providing expert volunteers, hands-on activities and providing equipment for schools, events and mentoring organizations. They also provide ice fishing tips, helpful links, basic ice safety information, and fun stuff for kids to keep them busy on the ice. "There's no better time to introduce somebody to the world of ice fishing than the long holiday weekend," Kurre said. "Help a youngster enjoy the beauty of a Minnesota winter and make a lasting memory."