Why would you ice fish?

Drilling a hole
Julie Lane drills a hole outside her fish house on Pokegama Lake in Pine City, Minn. Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News

In the summer, you can find Julie Lane casting for bass. In the winter, Lane parks her "Ice Castle" on a frozen lake in search of panfish.

The "castle" is a camper equipped with holes for ice fishing. It has four bunks, a TV and other comforts that allow Lane to stay out on the ice for a few days.

"Fishing for me is my time away, my time to commune with nature," said Lane, who has been fishing since she was a child.

Lane is not one of those Minnesota anglers who tolerates a day with no bites as long as the beer is flowing. She actively searches for fish, drilling test holes in various locations on a lake and using a fish finder before committing to a spot for the castle.

"I'm really picky about where I'm going to put a house, where I'm going to set up, because it does take a lot to get up and move and drill more holes," she said.

Lane lives on Knife Lake in Mora, Minn., but she often fishes Mille Lacs, Red Lake and Lake Osakis during the winter months.

Julie Lane
Julie Lane, President of Women Anglers of Minnesota, tries her luck fishing on Pokegama Lake in Pine City, Minn. Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. Lane said she has been fishing most of her life.
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News

As president of Women Anglers of Minnesota, Lane participates in group outings and also takes women who have never been fishing out on the ice.

License data from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources indicate more Minnesota women are hunting and fishing, but Lane said it's largely still a men's sport.

"In the summertime when a woman pulls up and she has a bass boat and she's backing it into the lake, everybody looks at us like, what is going on and can she back up a boat?" she said. "In the winter you're usually pretty bundled up, but a woman drilling holes and cranking down a house? Yes, definitely in the minority."