Welcome, Newcomer Outdoorsmen and Women, to Leech Lake!
We’re entering a year since “lockdown,” “masks” and “COVID-19” became an everyday part of our vocabulary.
Some benefits of the worldwide pandemic? More Americans went outside than ever.
Multiple sources reported a new surge in people hiking, biking and even hunting. Some bait and tackle stores reported that they struggled to keep up with a new demand.
So if that trend continues through the winter — and Outdoor News predicts it will — we’re bound to see more ice fishing on Leech Lake. We’ll also likely see more snowmobiling near Leech Lake, snowshoeing and skiing around Leech Lake, both downhill and cross-country.
We’re happy to host you out on the ice! In fact, we invite you to check out our hotels and resorts near Leech Lake and around it.
But because we do value your patronage, we ask that you follow a few pieces of advice we’ve curated to keep you safe.
Get a buddy:
As Outdoor News suggests, if you’re doing anything new, go with an expert. This is especially true for ice fishing, where you’ll be walking out on the Leech Lake ice and drilling a hole to boot. If it’s possible, get a COVID-19 test before meeting up with your buddy who knows how to drop a line into the frozen water, and with the two of you in close proximity, make sure you stay masked. If your “expert” is a friend or relative, offer to buy them dinner at a Walker restaurant or even a case of beer at the end of the day. You may even offer them a bit of pay.
If you’re snowshoeing or snowmobiling near Leech Lake, have a friend guide you who knows all the trails so you don’t get lost in Minnesota’s wilderness.
Want to get out in the cold but don’t have friends who do? There are many Leech Lake area fishing guides to choose from! If you’re looking to go snowshoeing or snowmobiling near Leech Lake, ask your resort owner about the trails to take and which ones to avoid.
Get some Gear:
Outdoor News suggests to start with safety. You’ll want to buy a spud to check the stability and thickness of the ice, no matter how cold Minnesota is in the winter. With days reaching 40 degrees this winter already, you’ll want this tool especially. Also grab some ice picks, long rope and a life vest or some kind of flotation if worse comes to worst.
Then of course you need an auger to drill the hole in the ice and just the right rod and reel. Talk to your trusted expert about what kind of fish you plan to catch and which fishing gear is best for your ice fishing trip on Leech Lake.
If it’s a snowmobile, snowshoe or ski trip to Leech Lake you’re planning, check out area rentals if you’re not sure about buying all the gear.
You can also find somewhere that allows you to rent the right ski or snow jackets, pants/bibs, boots, gloves and of course a helmet. The best part about snowmobiling is that you’re covered up — you almost don’t even need a mask!
Whether it’s a sled to carry all of this around or a small trailer, we’re happy Outdoor News suggests finding a local retailer to help you buy what you need — and we agree. Check out this guide of shopping in Walker from our friends at the Leech Lake chamber.
Pay attention and Have Fun
If it’s been a few months since you’ve spent a day with someone outside of your house, or if you’re just always up for some good fishing stories, enjoy your day out on the ice. If you’re out on the Leech Lake area trails for the first time, take in that fresh cold air. While you’re doing so, take mental notes about your expert’s processes.
Whether you’ll tackle the tackle on your own next time, or you need a few outings with your expert to learn the ropes, you want to show what you’ve learned the next time around. No guide or friend wants to feel like they’re holding someone’s hand each time they take in the outdoors together. Besides, learning a new skill is always fun!
We mentioned earlier spotting your buddy some beer or dinner near Leech Lake after a day out on the ice or the trails. These times are when it’s the most fun to trade fishing stories! Please do not drink and drive, and instead find somewhere local to stay. With reduced capacities, it may be even more fun to stay at a resort on Leech Lake and enjoy a nice dinner and drinks in the cabin.
However you end your day, we hope you thoroughly enjoyed your winter adventure on Leech Lake!