Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

How are the fish biting on Central? December 10, 2013

Pawn Minnesota often displays merchandise, including this fish house, outside its downtown Faribault store.

Pawn Minnesota often displays merchandise, like the red fish house, outside its downtown Faribault store.

IT’S NOT EVERY DAY you spot a fish house positioned on a street corner in an historic business district.

But then this is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and home to lots of fishing enthusiasts who can’t wait for lakes to freeze thick enough for ice fishing. Yes, in Minnesota we do walk and drive onto frozen lakes to fish.

Outdoor merchandising...

Outdoor seasonal merchandising…

That said, Pawn Minnesota likely grabbed the attention of shoppers with the Quickfish 3 pop-up portable fish house set up outside the business at 230 Central Avenue in downtown Faribault Saturday afternoon.

To make this even more noteworthy, the pawn shop is housed in the former Poirier Drug Store featured in the 1993 movie Grumpy Old Men. In that film, co-stars and ice fishermen Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon visit the then old-fashioned pharmacy.

In an ironic twist, the now-closed Dandelet Jewelry across the street was converted into a pawn shop for the movie. And now there’s a real pawn shop in what was once the drugstore.

If this sounds a bit confusing, consider also that Matthau and Lemmon ice fished in Grumpy Old Men. Thus the fish house erected outside the former drugstore seems especially fitting.

Minnesota weather appropriate merchandise outside the pawn shop.

Minnesota weather appropriate merchandise showcased in historic downtown Faribault.

That’s how my thoughts wandered when I spied that fish house on the corner with two snowblowers parked next to it. Now if you tell me the fish are biting there…

FYI: If you think my brain cells are frozen, then click here to read about the annual Grumpy Old Men Festival set for February in Wabasha. The fest includes, among other activities, an ice fishing contest and an “Ice shacks n’ Plaid Parade.”

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


21 Responses to “How are the fish biting on Central?”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    What a great thing to see on the street!!! That is awesome and yes—very appropriate for the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Has anyone taken up residence in them yet???? Perfect place to get out of the weather. 🙂

  2. Thread crazy Says:

    Yes I do remember those ice fishing days on lake erie! While taking my panio lessons I would look out and watch the ice fishermen. What a neat looking tent. Loved the movie grumpy old men…

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It’s been decades since I ice fished.

      The depot in the opening scene of Grumpy Old Men is the old depot in Faribault, now a restaurant and bar appropriately named The Depot.

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    The very thought of ice fishing gives me chills!!! I grew up with it and DH and I did some in the early days of our marriage, when we still lived in the Twin Cities. Driving on a frozen lake, no matter how thick the ice is, is way too counter-intuitive and just plain WRONG!!!! Great post….and I did follow your thought train (what does THAT mean???!!!!!) Hugs………

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Great minds think alike. That’s what that means, dear friend.

      Randy and I fished early in our marriage, too, but have not since. It’s the cracking of the ice that finally got to me. And I’m totally with you in thinking that driving on a frozen lake just doesn’t make sense.

  4. A smaller; more personal-sized one would be very handy for walking about these last few days. The wind cuts right through you. It’s a good thing I have some extra insulation 🙂

  5. Love it and loved the movie Grumpy Old Men:) I can say I have been ice fishing and once was good enough for me – ha! Happy Tuesday

  6. Love it! The ice fishermen have shown up here too.

  7. Jackie Says:

    Ah, Love it, my son ice fishes, and I did some of that as a kid up north. I wouldnt want to be out on the lake this week….. too cold even for me 🙂

  8. Hotly Spiced Says:

    I just can’t imagine water being so frozen you can drive on it! Sounds incredible to me. And I don’t know how any ice fisherman could stay warm enough to be out there for more than just a couple of minutes xx

    • I know. Driving and fishing on a frozen lake sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But most of these fish houses are like mini houses, constructed of wood and other materials. They have kitchens, beds, tables, etc., and are carpeted and heated. I’ve never been in one that fancy.

      Also, up on one of our major lakes in central Minnesota, “roads” are plowed through the snow on the lake. I suppose this does all sound crazy and dangerous. And, yes, we Minnesotans know that a frozen lake is never 100 percent safe. Every year vehicles plunge through the ice and sometimes lives are lost. Anglers really need to know the lakes they are fishing and understand when ice is safe and when it isn’t.

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