The Women Ice Angler Project (WIAP) hosted Women on Ice on Lake Minnetonka last week and every point but one was a huge success. Dialed in sleeping on the ice in portable hub-style shacks from Clam? Check. Safe ice with no issues or injuries? Check. Jigging up a plethora of bluegills, crappies and perch while the tip up flags flew for largemouth bass and Northern pike? Check and check. Creating community and camaraderie while enjoying mild winter temperatures? Finally…check!
What’s the one disappointment? “We were really hoping to bring in a walleye or two,” Barb Carey said. “They eluded us, but everything else was incredible. It was such an amazing weekend spent with this crew of women—both the WIAP team and the women who fished with us on Saturday.”
The women dialed in camping on the ice without having to rely on a wheel-house to do it, all while showcasing sponsor products from camp chairs to sleeping bags to portable fire pits to all the ice fishing gear: augers, electronics, shelters, tackle, clothing and more.
The first Facebook Live video soared to more than 13,000 views in just hours. Media arrived to gather tips and hacks around camping and ice fishing stories. On Friday night, the VIP attendees gathered for a Meet-and-Greet with the WIAP Team. Each team member dug deep to share a little bit of their fishing (and life) stories. “There were goosebumps,” Carey said. “They shared anecdotes of the fears they overcame, the heartbreak of loved ones lost, reunions with family members, and now life-long bonds created. This is bigger than catching fish; we’re empowering and encouraging women through fishing.”
On Saturday the public fished in the newly created Phelps Bay community and met up for lunch. Some arrived self-sufficient with their pop-up shelters and all their own gear—their proficiency evident in their independence and success catching fish. Others took advantage of the warm wheel-house spots arranged through a local guide, Todd Stauffer with Set the Hook Guide Service. The WIAP team members taught skill-building sessions on jigging techniques, mapping, electronics (sonar and underwater cameras), tip-ups, ice safety and auger use.
“This community supports growing and learning – and it isn’t just about catching fish,” Carey said. “Watching women accomplish things they never thought they could; it’s impressive to witness. Many said we gave them goosebumps with our stories on Friday night, but they give us goosebumps with their passion and encouragement.”
Women teaching women is part of the special sauce. A bonus? When women ice fish, entire families ice fish. That’s good for the entire industry.
Sponsors this year included: Vexilar, Clam, Jiffy, Raymarine, Women Anglers of Minnesota (WAM), Fish On Kids Books, Woman Angler & Adventurer, WI Women Fish, Outdoors First Media, Aqua Vu, GCI Outdoors, Briggs and Stratton, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, Fireside Industries, St. Croix Rods, Fish Monkey, Recycled Fish, Frabill, Life is Short Movement, Muck Boots, Vexan Fishing, Yetti Outdoors and Pursuit Energy Drink. Local partners included Todd Stauffer at setthehookguide.com, the Narrows Saloon of Navarre and Jimmy’s Lounge at the Lake Room also of Navarre.
The 2020 WIAP team included: Barb Carey, Brittany Hoffman, Shelly Holland, Kristine (K.J.) Houtman, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, Rikki Pardun, Jana Rewey, Bonnie Timm, Dena Vick, and Shantel Wittstruck.
Contact Barb Carey for more information via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-692-7386. Higher resolution images are available upon request. See www.womenonice.com for additional event and team information.