Making Ice on Thanksgiving

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner at Skyport Lodge for our relatives from Iowa was a great success, with nice weather and plenty of snow for them to play in. The men ice fished, rode snowmobiles and four wheelers, while the ladies decided to stay warm by the fire as they decorated the lodge with Christmas lights and garland.

I was surprised to see that my brothers had already bought the last dozen minnows in town and were drilling holes in front of the lodge before I had a chance to give them any advice. Their ambition was commendable, but it did not reward them with any fish – however, the six inches of hard ice they discovered gave me enough confidence to try another lake.

The next morning, we took a short drive up the Gunflint Trail to Elbow Lake, hoping to find some hungry perch big enough for the frying pan. The ice was four inches thick everywhere we drilled a hole, but the fish were not cooperating. I caught a small northern pike, and my brother caught a little perch before it began raining enough to soak into our bibs and change our minds about catching lunch for everyone.

Cold, wet, and slightly disappointed from the lack of action we decided to drive farther up the Trail hoping to see a moose. We made it as far as Gunflint Lodge before turning around, and my brothers were amazed and slightly frightened to discover that Gunflint Lake had not even begun to freeze. Waves were lapping against the shoreline as they would in June, and we were only a 20-minute drive from Elbow Lake where we had just been standing on four inches of ice.

No moose were spotted on our drive, but it was still a great day with my family.

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