NOTE: see the bottom of Sunday's Site posts for homes for sale in the area
I have talked before about how Minnesotans love their lakes, and just because frozen winter landscapes only reflect eery memories of summers on the beach doesn't mean we don't love our lakes in the winter as well. Lakes play an important role in Minnesota's sense of place.
As I was showing homes in White Bear Lake yesterday we were re-directed away from the lake and saw signs pointing the way to 'FISHING CONTEST'. Little did I realize at the time the significance of this event, which was part of this last weekend of the St. Paul Winter Carnival...the nation's largest and oldest winter festival.
I learned that White Bear Lake's ice fishing contest began in 1947 as the 'World's Original Ice Fishing Contest' and was featured in LIFE magazine in 1948. I searched for LIFE's aerial photo of the event featuring 2,196 fishermen to no avail. Evidently the event ended due to warm weather in the 1980's and this is the first year it is back as part of the Winter Carnival.
When I stopped by at the end of the afternoon most of the fishermen had already cleared out, but they were still announcing some of the prize winners. There were over 2,000 anglers there over the course of yesterday's event, and more than $100,000 in prizes were awarded including a Grand Prize Dodge 4 x 4 Truck...the first place winner in 1947 took home a trophy and snowsuit!
There were lots of trucks on the ice and I briefly considered driving out for a closer look, then remembered getting stuck on frozen Lake Minnetonka on the opposite side of the metro years ago...and tow trucks wouldn't come on the ice to rescue us!! My husband went knocking on doors until he found a local resident willing to risk coming out with his truck to pull us out...meanwhile, our young son was patiently waiting in the car with me, quietly eating his gingerbread man.
I admit my only experience ice fishing was also years ago. My most vivid memory was of being in the midst of the echoing sound of cracking ice. I think we caught some northern pike, also popular in White Bear Lake, where panfish and walleye are also popular catches.
Don't despair if you missed this ice fishing contest, there are plenty more to come in various locations throughout Minnesota in the the next month. Check out My Fishing Pals for Minnesota fishing tournaments throughout the year.
Click here to see homes currently for sale in the area around White Bear Lake, MN. Please be patient while the link searches for the most current listings...click on the map to zoom in until you see icons on the dots, then pass your cursor over them for property information, click for property details.