MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer are braving the frigid weather and getting out to Minnesota’s lovely, ice-covered lakes every Thursday and Friday until the middle of February.
On Jan. 16, the duo headed out to Lake Mille Lacs, which is about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities. After the drive up, the two found some shelter from the windy weather at Johnson’s Portside Bait and Liquor store. They said the wind was so strong you couldn’t even see the fish houses that dot Minnesota’s second largest in-land lake.
Frank & Chris Greeted By Windy Weather
Lake Mille Lacs is 132,000 acres of great fishing. People come for the walleye, but there are also plenty of perch and northern to go after. There’s also plenty of places to get you ready to ice fish. One is Johnson’s Portside Bait and Liquor.
It’s got poles, bait and beer — the very things that help Minnesotans appreciate the lake’s snowy, crystalline landscape.
“People say it’s probably miles of nothing, but there is very few places in this state that you can sit and look at something like that,” said Eddy Lyback, an ice fisherman.
His family has been building and renting fish houses on Mille Lacs since just after World War II. For his longtime friends from the Twin Cities, ice fishing is a way to keep in touch and share some laughs.
“It’s like they have their own winter cabin,” he said, “but it’s out on the ice and they’re actually fishing while they’re in their cabin.”
Ice fisherman John Allen says being on the lake is more comforting than some might realize.
“It’s relaxing,” he said. “You come up in a house like this, if you don’t own one you can rent one, and just don’t have no worries.”
The comforts of home surround the holes in the floor, and the latest technology brings the hope of an easy catch.
However, catching something comes second to enjoying the season that Minnesotans know best.
“It’s winter,” Lyback said. “We’re going to take it on and we’re going to enjoy it always.”
Frank & Chris Spend Time In Fish Houses
Lake Mille Lacs is one of the most popular lakes in the state, in part because it’s only an hour-and-a-half drive from the Twin Cities.
Speaking of driving, Frank and Chris got the chance to ice fish in a SnoBear — a vehicle that takes the ice fishing experience and puts it on a snowmobile, more or less.
Check it out.
Frank & Chris Get The SnoBear Experience
After a day of ice fishing, the guys headed to the BayView Bar…and played some bingo.
Take a look.
Frank & Chris Play Bingo At Onamia Bar
On Friday, the guys will explore more of Lake Mille Lacs. But here’s where they’re going in the coming weeks:
Jan. 23 & 24: Hackensack, MN
Jan. 30 & 31: Dresser, Wis.
Feb. 6 & 7: Waseca, MN
If you know a place they should go, email us here.