BAYFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) – A popular fishing guide, Jim Hudson, died after he fell through the Lake Superior ice on his snowmobile.
He was 34 years old.
It’s a huge loss in the Wisconsin ice fishing community.
“Being good isn’t just about knowing how to ice fish,” said friend Steve Geertsen. “It’s about being a good teacher and he was one of the most loving guys you’ve ever met.”
Hudson had been leading a fishing trip in Bayfield when his snowmobile broke through the ice on a channel between Bayfield and Long Island. Rescue crews say he was in the 33-degree water for at least 30 minutes. He was later airlifted to Essentia Health in Duluth, where was pronounced dead.
Longtime friend Mike Smith ice fished with others Sunday afternoon on Pelican Lake in Monticello. He said there was a lot of sorrow on the ice.
“(He was) a teddy bear, sweetest man in the world, give you the shirt off his back,” Smith said.
Thousands of people posted Facebook messages about Hudson after his wife, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, posted the news online. She had gained attention this past summer after she took a famous photo of a man and his dog, Schoep, swimming in Bayfield.
Friends say Hudson was one of the best ice-fishers in the country. He was part of Clam Outdoors Pro Staff – a group of 25 elite ice-fishermen who travelled to teach others about the sport.
“Jim is right there at the top,” said Matt Johnson. “There’s guys that can fish, guys that can talk to people, but he had such an overall outstanding package.”
Hudson was a fourth generation Lake Superior fisherman. He ran Hudson’s On the Spot guide service and was a US Coast Guard Captain.
“Why does this happen to someone like that?” Smith asked. “It’s shocking. It’s shocking.”
Foul play is not suspected, but the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are investigating.