BAUDETTE -- When you think of a weekend ice fishing trip on Lake of the Woods the word Geo is as far from your mind as work the day before.
That wasn't the case a week ago Saturday at zero dark thirty at Arnesen's Rocky Point Resort Lodge near Baudette. As I and five other Brainerd residents stood near the lodge waiting for a ride to a fish house the guides said we would have to wait for a Geo.
"What the heck is a Geo,?" I asked myself.
Minutes later, headlights from a small jeep-like vehicle pulling a trailer were seen heading toward the landing where we stood. The Geo was a Geo Tracker two-door convertible four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle with chains on its tires.
Brainerd residents Jack Meyer (left), Glen Brown, Dave Wentzel and John Hoffman shared a laugh while heading for a fish house rented by Arnesen's Rocky Point resort. The trailer they rode in had a propane heater and, like this one, even had a propane light.
The trailer in which we rode to our fish house was a 8 x 10 fish house-looking structure mounted on a frame with four ATV tires. It even had a propane heater. Some had propane-powered lights.
Paul Arnesen, reef consultant and guide, said the Geos were used instead of Bombardiers or tracked vans because of ice cracks and because ice thickness varied.
"A Geo doesn't weigh much and they're a rugged little four-wheel drive," Arnesen said as he drove to our fish house on nearly glare ice that looked like a moonscape.
The resort has rental houses in two different groups. Ours was in a group about two miles from the lodge. The other group was about five miles from the lodge in the other direction.
John Hoffman was the last person in a six-man group to walk across a bridge over an 8-inch crack in the ice. Anglers had to leave the trailer because of weight concerns.
Arnesen said tracked vehicles could be used because the drivers didn't have to contend with pressure ridges. He added that the resort began using Geos when the ice thickness was only 8 to 10 inches. Ice must be at least 18 inches thick to use tracked vehicles.
"We would just as soon use the Geo," he said.
Another guide, John Webb, agreed.
"Actually, I'm impressed, they're tough little buggers," Webb said.
Paul Arnesen, a guide at the resort, stays in contact with other guides with a marine band radio mounted in his Geo Tracker, a lighweight SUV that is used when ice won't support larger tracked vehicles.
He said he used a Geo to pull fish houses four to five miles, the entire time in first gear.
A Tracker weighs less than 2,500 pounds and is powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder, multi-port fuel injection engine. It has a truck-type suspension and ladder frame.
Arnesen, like all guides, drills holes for ice anglers. He transports his auger in the back of the Geo.
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