In the end of September I attended the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers' (AGLOW) annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our host was the Minneapolis Northwest Convention and Visitors Bureau and we were headquartered at the Double Tree Hotel.
The Minneapolis Northwest CVB encompasses the cities of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove, Minnesota, just northwest of the twin cities.
AGLOW has media and corporate members from across the country, reaching from New York to the Dakotas and from Canada down to Florida. It's a great group of outdoor communicators who meet annually and it's more like a family reunion. This year, the Minneapolis Northwest area was a great location for our conference. It didn't take long for me to learn that area offers great fishing and more.
One morning at breakfast, Dave Genz came to sit next to me and talk while we enjoyed our first meal of the day and some really good coffee. Genz is known as Mr. Ice Fishing but I prefer to coin him as the Godfather of Ice Fishing. Genz is the founding father of Clam Outdoors, the maker of fine ice shelters and other ice fishing related products. The Clam headquarters is located in the Minneapolis Northwest area about 15 minutes from our hotel.
As we talked, Genz told me that he bought a new boat, a G-3. But this was not just any aluminum jon boat. Genz had some custom aluminum welding done to add on, of all things, two 8 inch holes in the floor of the boat.
Now this seems a bit odd so it surely peaked my interest. Genz went on to explain that he wanted to use all his knowledge and techniques for ice fishing and apply them in open water situations. So with some help from a friend who was able to do some aluminum welding and design, two custom made holes were made in the boat, complete with 8 inch tubes to fish through. This would be just like a hole drilled in the ice. Plugs were also made to cap the holes so the boat doesn't take on water while moving about. Actually it's pretty neat and when you seen the photos in the photo gallery here, you'll understand the concept.
I couldn't pass up the idea of asking Genz if I could see the boat. Too, I told him that I'd love to do a TV show for Illinois Outdoors fishing out of the boat. Genz jumped on the idea and the next morning we went to Lake Minnewashta, a local lake that's just a little south of Minnetonka.
After a 3 minute boat ride, Genz pulled up over a hump that came up to about 12 feet of water. Anchors, bow and stern were dropped and I soon learned we were on a blue gill hot spot. Genz pulled the plugs on the fishing holes and handed me a 2 ft long ice fishing rod rigged with an ice jig and some wax worms.
"Drop it down the hole and watch the flasher. When you see your jig get to a foot or two off the bottom watch for a gill to come up after the jig." Genz said.
Being courteous he pulled my plug first. And by the time he got back into his seat and had his fishing hole opened, I had two 9 inch blue gills in the boat. This was amazing. Never have I ever seen anything like this nor had a though of doing such a thing.... fishing from a hole in a boat.
You can try doing this over the side of the boat, but it just doesn't work. You have to have the hole that extends below the water's surface. Short ice rods and a flasher make the package complete. We must have caught 30 blue gills, all nice keeper size, 8 - 10 inches long from one spot in a couple hours that morning. I have to say it again, it was amazing. (Continued below gallery)
Lake Minnewashta is a pretty lake. And from what I learned, it offers some great fishing too. One evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner on the shores of Lake Minnetonka at the Bayview Event Center. When visiting the Minneapolis Northwest area, this is a must stop destination. There's a marina, dining, and outdoor lounge, all with a gorgeous view of the lake. The Bayview Event Center, the Queen of Excelsior cruises, the Bayview Charter Cruises and the Bayside Grille, brings visitors something for the whole family to enjoy. Did I mention that the dinner we had was great?
I mentioned that the Clam Headquarters is near by, Well, they were host of the Clam Outdoors Kick Off
Reception one evening. That was followed by the Minneapolis Northwest Dinner where we enjoyed some great BBQ from a local Famous Dave's. Actually I've eaten at that Famous Dave's while traveling through the area. As we say in Chicago, Good Q.
The visit to the Clam headquarters was followed by a day where AGLOW members gathered visited the Forest Lake Sportsmens Club. What a nice shooting club it is with nice variety of outdoor shooting ranges. This was sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Members got to try out and shoot firearms from handguns to high powered rifles. What a fun afternoon.
There's so much to see and do in the Minneapolis Northwest area that makes it a great destination for the family to enjoy. Whether you want a visit Minneapolis Northwest for a fishing vacation, as a place to enjoy boating, sight seeing, or more, visit the Minneapolis Northwest Convention and Visitor's Bureau website at www.MinneapolisNorthwest.com or give them a call at 800.541.4364. They'll be glad to answer all of your questions and help you arrange a fun filled vacation. They will also send you a visitor's guide and coupons for discounts at local attractions.
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