Fun doesn’t stop on Minnesota’s lakes when it gets too cold for swimming. When a solid layer of ice has formed over the water, Minnesotans find other ways to enjoy life in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.
Fishing doesn’t stop when summer comes to an end. Instead, once the ice becomes thick enough to safely walk (and drive!) on, many anglers from across Minnesota take up ice fishing. Instead of casting bait out on a fishing rod from a boat or on the shoreline, ice fishers drill holes in the lake’s solid surface and drop their fishing lines through the opening. Some prefer to sit out in the open, while others drag small huts onto the ice and relax in the warmth of the shelter. Find out more about ice fishing in Minnesota at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ website, here!
The Polar Plunge
While ice fishing safely is all about staying out of the freezing water, some of the more daring Minnesota residents take part in one of the many “Polar Plunge” cold-water dunking events. The concept is simple but extreme: a hole is cut in the ice of a lake, and then people jump into the freezing water for a few seconds. It sounds crazy, but the events have drawn as many as 15,000 participants across over 20 official events each winter. It can be very dangerous if attempted alone, but organizers behind the Minnesota Polar Plunge ensure that every precaution is taken for the safety of the plungers with on-site medical personnel and warm tents set up nearby to warm up the freezing daredevils. Most importantly, the Polar Plunge is a major fundraising organization for the Special Olympics. As of January 20th 2016, nearly $2,000,000 have been raised by participants and donors for the Polar Plunge. That, and there are still another 13 plunges scheduled across the state this season! To find out more or to join, visit the Minnesota Polar Plunge website here.