Ice Team University, an ice fishing getaway weekend hosted by ice fishing giant Clam Outdoors and their “Ice Team” of expert ice anglers, was held west of St. Cloud at Bug-Bee Hive Resort in Paynesville on Lake Koronis last month. The event has been held for a number of years at destination fisheries all across the upper Midwest, but landed in Central Minnesota for easy access to a number of great bites.
“The Horseshoe Chain of Lakes is a great multi-species fishery and gave our anglers a chance at channel catfish. Rice Lake is known for its crappies and bluegills. And Koronis is another multi-species destination, with walleye a primary staple,” Ice Team Manager Matt Johnson explained. With Johnson and fellow ice fishing guides Mike Ferrell and Mike Raetz, participating anglers from several states were able to step in and fish hot spots on all three waterbodies, side by side with some of the best ice anglers in the industry.
The three day event includes food, lodging, a gift bag of ice fishing goodies and the chance to pick the brains of some of the best ice anglers around. Dave Genz headlines the list of seminar speakers and all the professional anglers in attendance take time to pass along tips, give advice, answer questions, and make for an enjoyable weekend. Days start with a hearty breakfast, fishing all day, and end with seminar topics and panel discussions in the evening hours.
Longtime attendee Bruce Allison from suburban Chicago, Illinois and daughter Kate have been coming since Kate put the bug in his ear many years ago. “Kate came to me and asked me about ice fishing. She wanted to try it and this event seemed like a great way to learn,” Bruce told me.
“All these years later and it’s funny that this is one thing in our lives that we look forward to every year. I think what we are now seeing is the getting together of old friends. It’s like going on vacation with an extended family. I tried to spend as much time with Kate as I could when she was growing up and now that she is married, she still wants to be out with dad. It’s such a very special time for both of us. This was the first year we used a two man shack, now we’re never going back to singles. It gave us more time to laugh with each other.”
The 60 spots for this event filled quickly with a lengthy waiting list had anyone cancelled. Accommodations at Bug-Bee Hive Resort were comfortable, the food was good and fishing at this year’s event was excellent. Anglers on Koronis found walleye deep, a few smallmouth bass on rocky structure and a few big tullibee hanging in the deepest holes. Everyone caught channel catfish on Horseshoe Lake, including a couple real whoppers and enough to have an on-ice fish fry. Rice Lake produced abundant crappies, a few sunfish and few giant slab crappies that make for great memories.