Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Connecting a British rock band & ice fishing in Minnesota February 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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The rock band name on this shed leaves the unanswered question, "Why?"

The rock band name on this shed leaves the unanswered question, “Why?”

IN A SOUTHWEST FARIBAULT backyard rests a shed emblazoned with the name of an English rock band, Led Zeppelin.

This might be more than a shed. It looks like an ice fishing house. For those of you from warm weather states unfamiliar with such a shelter, here’s the deal. In the frigid cold of winter, anglers walk or drive onto frozen lakes to fish. Yes, you read that right. Drive. Once there, they hunker down in the open air or in mini houses to fish through holes drilled into the ice.

Houses can range from mass-produced collapsible fabric to homemade from plywood to massive homey shelters resembling mini cabins.


Led Zeppelin name on shed 61 close-up


I’ve only ever fished in an ice house similar to the Led Zeppelin one. That was decades ago when I was in my late twenties, newly-married and slightly interested in the sport.

But many Minnesotans take ice fishing seriously. This past weekend, thousands of anglers converged on frozen Gull Lake in northern Minnesota for the Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravganza, the largest ice fishing tournament in the world. The winner, a Chaska man, hooked a 5.33 pound walleye to land the grand prize of a GMC pick-up truck. Not bad for a day of fishing.

See how thoughts thread together, how the name of a rock band on a shed in Faribault can lead me to expound on ice fishing in Minnesota? Yes, winter is growing long.

Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


35 Responses to “Connecting a British rock band & ice fishing in Minnesota”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    This is a prime example of making the best of winter. There are several ice fishing contests scatter across the state. Eel Pout fest in Walker, MN is an interesting event attended by numerous interesting folks in late February.

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    Why isn’t it on the ice. Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    Ice houses are not just for fishing. They are also for art.

    Audrey, forgive me for dropping a shameless plug on your website but for those of us who feel that ice houses are a native Minnesota artform, I cannot help myself. I encourage everyone to go see The Art Shanty Project on White Bear Lake. It is a whole lot of fun, especially for kids and best of all my daughter has an entry there.

    “Boiler Room Shanty (Artist:: Clara Schiller and Amelia Foster) This shanty is designed to give visitors an external and internal peek at the rarely accessible space of a municipal boiler room. A custodian in uniform presents each guest with an official “Authorized Visitor” sticker inviting entrance to a room full of enigmatic boiler features: concrete floor, painted yellow lines, industrial signs, chain link fence, hanging light bulbs, dials, switches, breaker boxes, and pipes made of steel, copper and PVC.”

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    My first thought is that ice shack probably welcomes some pot smokers and alcohol drinkers. I never liked Led Zeppelin – the music was strangely dark, which I found depressing. The group was popular during my teenage years, and so was pot and copious amounts of alcohol. Aside from all of that, when I lived in Nebraska I did ice fish in the winters, but had no shack, just sat on a 5-gallon bucket, freezing, and not catching many fish.

    • I grew up in the same era. I had to ask my husband about Led Zeppelin. I actually thought it was a person and not the name of a band. That shows how much I don’t know about music. He answered, “Stairway to Heaven.” Ah, yes, I remember that song.

      You are an authentic ice angler having fished in the open sitting on an overturned five-gallon bucket. That’s dedication or…

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Eeeehhhh you just stirred up childhood nightmares. I will never forget the torturers of ice fishing. Maybe thus is why I spend so much time knitting hats.

  6. Watch the movie Grumpy Old Men and they will show you how to ice fish – ha! I am not a fan when the ice cracks and will not drive or snowmobile on it either. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  7. I always admired the name Led Zeppelin.. The creativity was not lost on me and their music was pretty rockin’ too.

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    Sorry to hear your winter is becoming a drag. It’s been so hot in Sydney the last couple of days. And I’ve been out in it to the point of feeling quite faint and dehydrated. Spent yesterday at Alfie’s swimming carnival where I was time-keeping and there was almost no shade and it was nearly 100F. I kept wishing someone would push me into the pool. As you might have imagined, I have never tried ice fishing! I have heard of it and I’ve seen a documentary with some of those ‘houses’ on the ice. Not sure that it’s a sport I can ‘warm’ to (sorry – couldn’t resist!) xx

  9. I’ve met some ice fishermen, but I’ve never had any desire to fish, ice or otherwise. I like more action in my activities I guess. I did hear that some cars fell through the ice in Lake Geneva WI last week.

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