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Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing event held at Lake Bemidji State Park

Over the long weekend, children under the age of 15 could fish for free during Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend at state parks all across Minnesota.

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Participant Kate Kado, 10, tries ice fishing for the first time during a Take a Kid Fishing event on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, on Lake Bemidji.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — Before this past weekend, 10-year-old Kate Kado had never been ice fishing.

But that all changed on Saturday, Jan. 14, thanks to a program held at Lake Bemidji State Park.

Over the long weekend, children under the age of 15 could fish for free during Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend at state parks all across Minnesota.

Lake Bemidji State Park held its own event called “Brrrmidji Kids Can Ice Fish” where any interested participants could come to the state park, learn more about ice fishing and even try it for themselves.

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Two fish houses were set up on Lake Bemidji just in front of the state park on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, as part of a Take a Kid fishing event.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Although the turnout was less than expected, Kado still had fun learning the ropes from Lake Bemidji State Park employees Pete Harrison and Christa Drake.

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“I’ve never (ice fished) before,” Kado said. “All my family members said they’ve done it so I wanted to learn, too.”

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Lake Bemidji State Park Manager Pete Harrison helps attendee Kate Kado bait her hook during a Take a Kid Fishing event on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, on Lake Bemidji.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

But Kado wasn’t the only one new to the sport, Lake Bemidji State Park naturalist Shannon Bungart also admitted she had never ice fished before, as she hails from Florida.

Kado, Bungart, Drake and Harrison hunkered down in a fish house just in front of the state park with their lines in the water, hoping to catch a fish — but Kado quickly learned that patience is one of the most important components of the activity.

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Participant Kate Kado, 10, listens to some fishing tips during a Take a Kid Fishing event on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, on Lake Bemidji.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Though she didn't catch a fish that afternoon, she learned a variety of valuable tips and looks forward to making ice fishing a more regular thing.

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Lake Bemidji State Park naturalist Christa Drake, left, helps naturalist Shannon Bungart bait her hook during a Take a Kid Fishing event on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, on Lake Bemidji.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Maggi is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on outdoor and human interest stories. Raised in Aitkin, Minnesota, Maggi is a graduate of Bemidji State University's class of 2022 with a degree in Mass Communication.
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