Spartan Angling is a class at Nashwauk High School that teaches the art and science of Minnesota angling. Originally started on an R3 (Angler Recruitment, Retention, and Re-activation) from the MN DNR, the class has exploded in popularity among students at Nashwauk High School. Students learn fish behavior, fish species and biology, seasonal migration, reading contour maps, interpreting gill net surveys, conservation, rod building, invasive species, shoreline management, and much more! The class aims to create stewards of waterways for generations to come and instill a lifelong bug to fish.
The angling class was due for their second ice outing of the semester at Nashwauk’s famous Blue Lake. The trip was delayed a day due to very cold weather, but in true Minnesota fashion, the next day didn’t warm up much! Students boarded the open air atv trailer at -10 degrees and made the voyage on the plowed road to the spot. Strong winds out of the South were expected to warm up the arctic air later in the day.
The anglers hunkered down in their shacks as the brisk morning air lingered on the lake. Students learned how to set up shacks, read Vexilars, drill holes, bank in houses, jig for crappies, use a set line, safely remove hooks, and other life skills for angling. There is a very fast learning curve using electronics in ice fishing, and the kids figured out swiftly that green is your lure and red is a fish! The morning bite produced a few crappies, but then the lull of the mid day took over. I went out on a scouting mission to try to find some active fish for the youth anglers as the wind really started blowing from the South. It was one of those days when you drill a hole and the snow blows right into it, as avid anglers can relate. I did manage to find a school of fish and we moved the shack over to the top of them. However, it was a different game now with the wind and a hub house. The students quickly learned that setting up an 8X8 hub house in 25 mph winds is not easy. It took a team of four students to successfully bank, anchor, and set up the house. One support pole snapped in the winds upon the set up.
Once the heater was light, it was game on. The active crappies loved set lines with minnows and keepers were caught along with a nice pike that was chasing the panfish. Kids enjoyed the day and slimy memories were made! Spartan Angling is always looking for monetary support, donations, or gear to assist in taking kids fishing. Please see our website for more of what we do and how to donate! www.spartanangling.com Sincerely, Luke Adam, Spartan Angling: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brayden Austad with a chunky pike!
Left to right: Brayden Austad, J.J. Bennett, Ethan Kafut, and Carter Haithcock with crappies.