People ice fishing on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minnesota
© Robert Benson/Cava
An icy extravaganza
We’re just outside Brainerd, Minnesota, for the Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake. Each year in late January, more than 10,000 people will come out to catch as many fish as they can—mostly walleye and northern pike, but all fish species are eligible. The contest is organized and run by volunteers exclusively, and 100 percent of the proceeds—around $150,000—goes to local charities.
Native American tribes in the Upper Midwest practiced ice fishing to gather food for the long, harsh winters. Today, ice fishing is a popular winter recreational activity in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Some anglers even trick out modern-day ice shanties with big-screen TVs, underwater cameras, sonar fish-finders, and bathrooms with hot showers, making it easy to spend entire weekends out on the lake, warm and dry.