Otter Tail County, Minn. – -(Ammoland.com)- With day one in the books for The Women Ice Angler Project, one fact has been proven: this county of 1048 lakes can back up its claim of Panfish Paradise.
Within five minutes of the first Vexilar going through the K-Drill and Jiffy drilled holes, at a still temp of -8 degrees, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson dropped a “lucky” jig down and brought a 14” 1.77 lb. crappie through the ice. She wasn’t even in a Clam shack yet, just outside with her camera equipment grabbing photos of the gals doing set up.
“We’ve gotten into some crappies that size in Canada before,” said Kristine Houtman, “but I had no idea we could get into slabs like that right here in my home state of Minnesota.”
But wait—there’s more.
In late-night infomercial fashion, local guide in Otter Tail County kept the promises coming. “We have some BIG ‘gills here,” Garett Svir a local guide in Otter Tail County boasted. The ladies definitely experienced quantity of what each would call “big ‘gills” at home. “We were catching and releasing dozens of bluegills that were up to 8” all day long. They were nice bluegills,” said Barb Carey. “But we were on the hunt for 9” to 11” bluegills and the end of the day didn’t disappoint.” Kristine Houtman brought up a just-shy-of 11” bluegill at the 12-hour mark for the ladies’ quest. “We worked hard all day today,” said Barb, “but it was really fun work. We moved around from one lake to another and tried to maximize the bite here and there and it worked for us.” Plenty of pike, bass and perch were caught in addition to the big crappies and bluegills.
A lovely area restaurant hosted the ice anglers to show off local hospitality, Willy T’s of Ottertail, Minn. “What a nice place to fish and enjoy this area,” said Shelly Holland. “I’m glad we still have two more days here.”
Sponsors include Clam Outdoors, Vexilar, Jiffy, Orion Coolers, Ray Marine Electronics, Acme Tackle, K-Drill, Kahtoola, Camp Chef, The Nest of Perham along with media partners Outdoors First, Larry Smith Outdoors and GrassFed Media. Local hosts include Otter Tail Lakes Country Association (OTLCA) and East Silent Lake Resort.
Special activities continue throughout the weekend including a special meet-and-greet event at The Nest in Perham on Friday evening, Feb. 9 to meet the eight #womenonice anglers and enjoy a freshly made fish chowder with a few of the “eater” panfish the ladies caught and cleaned. On Saturday, Feb. 10, Garret and other local guides are taking nearly 30 women fishing. Additional spots are available by contacting 1-320-428-5174. Rates include $100 for guided fishing day and $50 for D-I-Y unguided fishing (but with the group).
In addition to Carey, the following ladies will fish in #womenonice this year: pro-staff anglers Shelly Holland, Bonnie Timm, Shantel Wittstruck Rikki Pardun; outdoor photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson and outdoor writer Kristine (K.J.) Houtman and Dorothy Rietzler.
The goal of the Women Ice Angler Project is to encourage women to try ice fishing as well as mentor those who already enjoy the adventure sport and want to improve their skills.
An additional plus has been moving the industry forward to show women ice anglers in corporate marketing efforts and social media. The impact in just four years to showcase women’s visibility has been very powerful.
For the entire winter, all women anglers are encouraged to post their ice fishing photos and share their stories with #womenonice and follow theiceangler.com. “Our sponsors totally support women in this great sport,” Carey concluded. The Women Ice Angler Project sponsors include Clam Outdoors, Vexilar, K-Drill, Jiffy, Outdoor First Media, Larry Smith Outdoors, Grassfed Media, The Great Wild Radio Show, Fish On Kids Books, Stonehouse Photography, WI Women Fish, Orion Coolers, Ray Marine Electronics, Acme Tackle. Kahtoola, Camp Chef, the Nest of Perham, and hosts Otter Tail Lakes Country Association (OTLCA) and East Silent Lake Resort.