Adventures in Okoboji – Ice Fishing
Rebecca Peters, Okoboji Tourism Director
Each year thousands of people visit the Iowa Great Lakes to enjoy the amenities our area has to offer. Join me each week as I become a tourist in our backyard to explore a few of the spots that make the Iowa Great Lakes special!
This week was another first for me – fishing! As the ice gets thicker, fish houses pop up across the bays on our lakes. People come from all over to fish the Iowa Great Lakes each winter. It was obviously something I needed to try!
The first step in fishing the Iowa Great Lakes is to have a fishing license. Knowing that license fees in Iowa support local conservation and public access to outdoor opportunities made the purchase even sweeter! Having no experience, or equipment, I decided to hire a guide. Darrin Jones from Big Fin Guide Service assured me I would have fun and catch plenty of fish. We met at a public access ramp and headed out to his fish house. Darrin had everything set up and ready to go. He gave me a few instructions, handed me a pole, and I dropped my line! I was fishing in 12 feet of crystal-clear water. For the first five minutes I patiently watched my bait quiver and quietly repeated, “Here fishy, fishy.” Nothing happened. I asked, “Do people really enjoy this?” I was assured that yes, people really enjoy this, and I should be patient and keep watching for fish.
Very soon a fish swam up! He took a look at my bait and bit! I set the hook and froze. What next? Darrin enthusiastically encouraged me to reel it in. Slow and steady. I could do it. And you know what? I did it! I caught my first fish! He was just a little guy, but I needed a picture. This was the first fish I had ever caught!
From that point on I was as hooked as the fish on my line. I couldn’t wait to get my line back down to lure in another! For the remainder of the afternoon, I patiently watched for fish and hoped they would bite so I could steadily reel them up. Thankfully, they were bigger than the first!
I now understand why so many fish houses pop up across our lakes each winter. If you haven’t already tried ice fishing, you need to! We’re so lucky to have this great fishing opportunity right in our backyard. Get out and enjoy it! Hire a guide or visit one of our area bait shops. They’re very knowledgeable and will help you get set up for a fun and successful time on the ice.