Sleepy Eye men build their own ice fishing house

Aaron Schauman, right, ice fishes with his family in the Sleepy Eye Sportsmens Club Fishing Derby Feb. 3.

Mike Schauman has participated in just about every Sleepy Eye Sportsman’s Club Fishing Derby over more than three decades.

A retired 3M employee, Schauman said he would ice fish the lake during the day when just about nobody else was on the lake.

“It’s a lot better fishing when there isn’t much traffic on the lake,” Schauman said. “A coupe years ago, I got caught 10 nice, three to five-pound northerns in a week. I had a hay-day, catching crappies and perch too. It’s been slower fishing this year.”

Still, the Schaumans made ice fishing a family affair on the weekend of the Sleepy Eye Sportsman’s Club Fishing Derby, which seems to get bigger each year.

The Schaumans took turns on Saturday and Sunday, fishing outside and using a ice fishing house they made themselves.

Mike Schauman of Sleepy Eye ice fishes on Sleepy Eye Lake Feb. 3

The Schaumans were among about 1,000 people fishing in the Sleepy Eye contest this year. An estimated 2,500 people were on the ice on Super Bowl Sunday.

Last year, Mike and his son Aaron, both construction contractors, bought a camping trailer near Alexandria that was heavily damaged when a tree fell on it. They converted the trailer into a 20-foot-long ice fishing house.

Mike Schauman said he enjoys ice fishing at Lake Hanska and the annual tournament at Clear Lake, south of New Ulm.

A few weeks ago, he slipped on the ice on Sleepy Eye and dislocated a shoulder.

“I drilled a fishing hole in the ice before there was snow in it, water came up on the ice and I went down before I could put a line into the hole to check the depth,” Schauman said.

From left, Max Goettl, Owatonna; Mike Schauman, (partially hidden) and Adrian Ludewig, both of Sleepy Eye, participate in the Sleepy Eye Sportsmans Club Fishing Derby at Sleepy Eye Lake Feb. 3.

Aaron Schauman said he and his family use their new ice fishing house for ice fishing in and around Brown County. In the summer, they’ll take a boat along, camping and fishing throughout Minnesota.

Schauman said he has fished a river on a company trip in a remote part of Canada where there is no electrical power.

“You rent a cabin and you are the only people on the lake. We caught a lot of walleyes,” Schauman said. “We fried them up, ate them all up and went out again.”

Another favorite trip is going to JR’s Corner Landing at Red Lake, where fishermen can get their fish fried up and get French fries for $5 a person.

Some of Aaron’s other favorite fishing memories are family fishing trips to parts of the Cottonwood River.

Mike and Aaron Schauman of Sleepy Eye were among the multitudes of fishing enthusiasts on Sleepy Eye Lake for the fishing derby. What set them apart is that they built their own ice fishing house (below) from a damaged camping trailer.

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