Fish FREE Feb. 13-15

by Review Messenger

Minnesotans age 16 or older can try ice fishing without purchasing an angling license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing during Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend on Saturday, Feb. 13, through Monday, Feb. 15.
 
“This is an opportunity to get outdoors with friends and family and connect with nature,” said Mike Kurre, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mentoring program coordinator. “And there are a number of opportunities for people to learn how.”
 
Several Minnesota state parks are offering Take-A-Kid Ice fishing clinics during this special weekend. The clinics offer an indoor presentation on ice fishing safety, gear and techniques.
 But participants should dress for the weather because ice fishing will be part of the fun at most clinics. Kids also will make their own jiggle sticks, which they can take home with them.
 
Clinics are being offered Saturday, Feb. 13, at Lake Bronson near Hallock, Lake Carlos near Alexandria and Bear Head Lake near Ely. Lake Bemidji State Park offers a Berrrmidji Kids’ Ice Fishing event on Sunday, Feb. 14. Kids ages 8-15 can join the Lake Bemidji State Park naturalist for an afternoon of perch fishing on Lake Bemidji.
 
Fort Snelling State Park in the metro area offers a Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend warm up with a hands-on Parent/Child Ice Fishing Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 6. Hayes Lake State Park near Warroad offers its Ice Fishing Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 27.
 
Participants must register for events by contacting the appropriate state park. A daily or annual vehicle permit is required to enter state parks.
 
Unlike summertime shore fishing, ice fishing presents some unique challenges.

 Here are key ice fishing 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.

    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.”

    Try different jigging styles. If a slow, methodical jigging motion isn’t working, try an aggressive one – or try a lift-and-drop technique.
More tips are available online at http://mndnr.gov/minnaqua/icefishing.
 
The MinnAqua program also works with the “Ice Team”, a group of manufactures who help educate anglers by providing expert volunteers, hands-on activities and 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.”
 
Kurre and Mike “Smitty” Smith from the “Ice Team” share insights and information about kids, mentoring and ice fishing in an online podcast audio program available on the DNR website at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/news/podcasts/KidsAndIceFishing.mp3 .a

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