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Ice Fishing With Kids Can Be Like Poking Yourself in the Eye with a Treble Hook.

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First of all, I would like to thank my Dad.

Thank you for the countless years of ice fishing as a child.

Thank you for having patience and teaching not just one, but three kids how to ice fish while somehow maintaining your cool and your sanity.

Thank you for not throttling us and throwing us down the ice fishing holes as bait.

Let me start by saying that I had an incredibly fabulous time on Saturday, taking my two kids ice fishing for the very first time, no word of a lie. I loved seeing how excited they were, how freaked out they got by driving in our truck onto the lake!! and officially starting the process of teaching them how to ice fish.

The day was beautiful, the weather gorgeous, the truck didn’t fall into the lake and the kids behaved themselves.


Trying to get any productive ice fishing done with your children around you is almost impossible. It’s like sticking your hand down the ice fishing hole and waving it around, hoping a northern pike will bite. Which in actual fact might have netted me more fish, in retrospect.

Almost my whole fam-damily and I struck out early Saturday morning and wound our way to Gull Lake, here in Alberta which is about an hour and twenty minutes from Edmonton.

Uncle Wyatt hitched a ride and proceeded to be yet another kid that we couldn’t turn our backs on.

That snowball missed me by a mile, but still. Crafty little bugger.

Auntie Karami and cousin D met us at Gull Lake, chosen because it’s a halfway point for all of us.


Now we have more family members than we can shake a stick at, two trucks, three kids, more ice fishing gear than Bass Pro Shop and a walleye in a pear tree.

Holes are augered, tip-ups are set up and prayers are whispered to the fishing gods above.

I’d love to say that my daughter sat like this the entire day, happy to gaze out onto the vast icy whiteness of the lake, contemplating her first ice fishing catch.

Unfortunately, it was a little more like this.

“Hellloooo fish! Hey! Fish! I have sooooomething for yoooou!”

“Mom? MOM! Why aren’t I catching a fish?”

“I’m hungry”

“Where’s my lunch kit?”

“Auntie Karami kicked me out of the tent Mom! I really was listening! REALLY!”

“Um…Mom? I stepped in the hole…..”

“Eeeeeeenh Mom!! My boot is wet and cold! MOM!! I need another boot!”


(Yes, I heard you. Half the blessed fisherman on the lake heard you.)

“Mom. I’m hungry!!! I ate all my lunch, is there any more food”  <——-repeat this one on a loop the rest of the day.

This one.

Ah, age.

He’s nine.

He’s getting it and it’s so awesome.  He has his own tackle box, he listens, doesn’t wander anywhere and he’s becoming low maintenance.

Thank god.

The only thing I had to do was feed him.

All. Day. Long.

All he really asked for was food.

All. Day. Long.


Between wet boots, cold hands, starving bellies, happy yet busy kids, tangled lines, re-baiting hooks that were jigged with a little too much force, I managed to sneak some time in for myself.

However by the time early afternoon rolled around, a morning of never having our lines in the water longer than 5 minutes began to wear on us. We adults collectively gave a growl of fisherman’s frustration and put my son, daughter and nephew in the back of my truck with snacks and entertainment.

We breathed a sigh of relief as we completely gave up parenting and thought about fishing.

It’s amazing what happens when you can have 30 minutes of peace to yourself to actually concentrate and fish.

Lo and behold, you catch fish.

I caught a gorgeous Northern Pike that sadly had to be released since he was too small and my sister caught a perch.


I wouldn’t give up ice fishing with the kids for anything – though I might trade my soul for just one frosty Saturday morning on the lake without them- and I gained a new appreciation for my parents. I now realize why my Mom always came along with us yet never actually fished. In order for one adult to actually catch something while ice fishing, the other adult has to be watching the kids and helping them. This has to be the reason my Dad actually managed to catch fish when we went out,  besides his well-honed fishing skills.

Sadly, Mike and I both love fishing so I’m thinking my best bet is to get my two trained up quickly in the art of ice fishing and then perhaps my time will be extended to ten minutes of having my line in the water without interruption.

Or simply start being tricky and as we plan to meet my sister again next weekend…..

…simply invite the Grandparents along.


They Won’t Even See It Coming Magpie


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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Michelle79 says

    Very cute article. My kids always hated sticking there hands in the
    bucket the most. Then I heard about this Dry Hands Minnow bucket and it
    dispenses one minnow at a time. Kept their hands virtually dry. Best
    invention ever!

  2. Michelle79 says

    Very cute article. My kids always hated sticking there hands in the
    bucket the most. Then I heard about this Dry Hands Minnow bucket and it
    dispenses one minnow at a time. Kept their hands virtually dry. Best
    invention ever!

  3. Michelle79 says

    Very cute article. My kids always hated sticking there hands in the bucket the most. Then I heard about this Dry Hands Minnow bucket and it dispenses one minnow at a time. Kept their hands virtually dry. Best invention ever!

  4. thekitchenmagpie says

    Oh, I remember countless times being scared as a kid with the truck on the ice…my dad made sure we all had our seatbelts off and were ready to jump out. Kind of a traumatic experience when you think about it..still gives me the heebie jeebies!

  5. The Kitchen Magpie says

    Teresa Spinelli This weekend is great weather! Make plans for then! My sister is coming up with my nephew and we are heading out, it’s going to be around plus 1! And that reminds me, I need to send you an email….

  6. Sabrina Morello Fontaine says

    Thanks Teresa ! Can’t wait !!

  7. Teresa Spinelli says

    I am hoping to take some people who have never stood on a frozen lake ice fishing-well Sabrina Morello Fontaine who is an expert fisherman is going to…I have a feeling it will be alot like your adventure-me? I am staying inside drinking wine and roasting chestnuts!

  8. Nomnomnom says

    LOLOL.. I think the grandparents will see this post online! Great post… best part was your play by play with your daughter lol!!  :D

  9. Mike Johnston says

    LOL. Yes, good times. I think your mom knitting in the truck while the kids are in the back seat hooked up with ipad/pod/tablets should give us 11-12 minutes of fishing time. Woot!

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Oh my! Think of what I could catch with a whole 11 minutes to myself!~

  10. Jenn Ward says

    I remember Ice Fishing with my dad when little and dropping the scoop down the hole. That was torture for the remainder of the trip for me. I bought him one for Christmas years later to try to make it up to him. I to this day don’t really think I have been forgiven.

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