Holes For Heroes Ice Fishing Event

Earlier today I stopped by the 2nd Annual Holes For Heroes ice fishing event to watch some of the action.   The event was held on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN and is held to honor those veterans who have served, as well those currently serving in the military overseas.   The event was sponsored by Fishing for Life.

One of the keystone elements of the event is the Hero Holes tent which featured live video conferencing with service members stationed overseas.   Inside this tent families could sit and ice fish while chatting with their loved one half-way across the world.   As you can imagine, making the connection from the middle of a Minnesota lake presents some unique challenges and it didn’t always work as planned, but while I checked in a mother and young son were able to connect with their loved one stationed in the Middle East.


A mother and her son ice fish while videoconferencing with their loved one stationed overseas.

The event was a great opportunity for citizens to come out and show their support for the troops.   In fact, I parked my truck and struck up a conversation with Tim Watts, founder of the group $20 For The Troops.   He was at the event mostly for videography as one of the shows he produces can be found on a local community cable TV channel.


Technology allows this soldier to communicate with loved ones from the middle of a Minnesota lake.

Throughout the afternoon I witnessed great camaraderie among those attending wearing the uniform and average citizens out for a fun-filled afternoon activity on a warm winter day.

Yet, there was another big component to the ice fishing event that isn’t obvious in the name.   It was also the goal of the organizers to reach out to youth—particularly inner city kids who don’t often get to experience the outdoors in this way.   Here, there were adults available to mentor kids and show them how to begin a lifetime fascination with ice fishing.

All in all it was a great afternoon spent on a frozen Minnesota lake.   Given the warm weather we’ve been experiencing most of the winter, it was a bit touch and go whether the event could be held.   But several days ago the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office did some testing and determined the ice thickness was adequate (averaging 14.5”) and uniform so the event could go on as planned.

What follows are some random pictures showing activities from the day.   Hope you enjoy and get a better feel for what happened at the event.



Over 350 ice anglers pre-registered for the event with many same-day walk-up registrants.


Great to see youth being mentored and introduced to new things outdoors.


Even though it was near perfect conditions for on ice angling, some chose to use their shelters.


Others just toughed it out waiting for the winning catch.


Many vendors and supporting businesses were on display to make the event more exciting.


The weighing station was one of the more exciting locations during the day.


Here, Mike "Cold Front" Kurre from the MN DNR and KFAN Outdoors Radio interviews a youth who just registered his hopeful fish.


Early on the leader board still showed plenty of opportunity to win something big.


Lots of prizes were on display which encouraged angler success.


This angler used a tip-up so he could participate in the competition and better socialize.


Seriously, what event here in the Northland would be complete without a minnow race?

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.