On a recent fishing trip with the Mr. Kaufmann's Outdoor Adventures class from Pillager High School, the tip-up was the main focus.
A tip-up is a flat piece of wood with a spool of line and a flag. You set it at the depth you would like, put on a minnow and wait for the flag to go up.
There were at least 16 of us out on the ice, and in the winter, a person can use two lines. An angler will often choose to fish one hole with a rod and reel and put a tip-up in another hole. I had about 10 or 12 tip-ups rigged because I knew it would be fun for them to keep looking around for the flags.
The first fish was caught before we got the whole crew shuttled out to the spot on North Long Lake - a small perch. But it was a fish.
We got everyone out on the ice, and with a little help from some students, we got all the tip-ups set and got everyone a rod that wanted one. Others would choose to hang out in the toasty Sno Bear because they weren't dressed quite right.
Morgan would catch the first fish of significance, a hammer-handle northern. Another northern was iced, and not long after that, we had a small walleye up to the hole, but it got off. It surprised me that it was a walleye because of the area that we were fishing, but it was encouraging.
We caught a couple of perch, and then it went fairly quite for 10 or 15 minutes - until the Arctic Fisherman tip-up flag went up out in the deeper water. A lot of the students were in the Bear, including the gal for whom I had, just 10 minutes earlier, set up the tip-up.
But in hurry-up mode, I forgot whose tip-up it was and grabbed Rachel, who was patiently jigging nearby. She wasn't quite sure what to do, but she had an audience, and we all gave her tips as the spool was turning pretty good.
I pulled the tip-up out of the water, gave the fish some more line and handed the line over to Rachel, who started to pull. We could tell it was something with some weight, and as it got close to the top, I could see a decent-sized head.
I reached down and came up with a beautiful surprise - a 26-inch (give or take) walleye. Wow, were we excited! But then came the "that was my tip-up." Oops, sorry, Alicia.
The couple of hours on the ice with this group was great; really couldn't have been any better. After giving away a few prizes to the winners, the Pillager anglers were on their way. What an ending to a school day.
WALLEYEDAN Eigen may be reached at (218) 839-5598, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.walleyedan.com
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