WARROAD, Minn. - The first bite on a line resulted in the biggest haul of the weekend as the redshirts on the UND men’s basketball reminisced on their adventures on the frozen lakes of Minnesota.
That line belonged to rookie ice fishermen Spencer Goodman, who reeled in a 3.5-pound, 23-inch walleye early on Saturday morning. Goodman had just polished off a couple of the best caramel rolls East of the Red River before he brought in the best catch of the weekend.
Of course Mitch Wilmer is a little biased about his mother’s cooking, but the redshirts were nonetheless well taken care of during their excursion to the six-foot-11 center’s hometown, just shy of the Canadian border in Minnesota.
The trip started with a stop at Strieff’s Sporting Goods on Friday night to pick up fishing licenses for Goodman and his fellow rookies, Jordan Allard and Doug Archer. Only five of the seven redshirts were able to make the trip, but the quintet came away with a new outlook on ice fishing, a few extra pounds from some nice home-cooked meals and the desire to do it again real soon.
Nick Haugen, who along with Wilmer had ice fished before, apparently had to eat a little crow over the course of the weekend. Prior to the trip, the point guard in-training was eager to see how the Missouri boys - Goodman and Archer - would fare on the ice.
The results from the weekend will be posted a little later in this blog, but Haugen did not have to take either of his gloves off to count how many fish he had caught by the end of the first day.
Saturday began with Wilmer, Haugen and Goodman, who is an avid fisherman on unfrozen lakes and ponds back in his home state of Missouri, going out to the ice to set up the portable tents. They also took five chairs, a couple of propane tanks and the fishing rods to start prepping for the day.
Allard and Archer, along with the caramel rolls, showed up about an hour later. Wilmer spent most of the early morning making sure his teammates were getting a hang of ice-fishing and before he knew it Goodman was reeling in his 3.5-pounder.
Some might call it beginner’s luck, but the trio of rookies all seemed to enjoy themselves, especially when Archer was participating and not taking a quick snooze.
The quickest study was Allard, who ended up with the most fish on the weekend and he did not even go out Sunday morning with the rest of his teammates. The Fargo native and future wing for the Sioux, caught eight fish, one more than Goodman and two more than his instructor, Wilmer.
“I don't know how I ended up with the most fish, I was just doing what Mitch told me to do,” Allard, who admitted to focusing more on the next meal Mrs. Wilmer was going to bring out than fishing, said. “It took me a little while to get the hang of it. I got the lines tangled up a couple of times, but Mitch helped me out.
“It was easier then I expected, but one long day of fishing was good enough for me and Doug,” Allard added. “We slept all of the second day while the other guys went out fishing early again.”
To Wilmer’s credit, he endured to finish with six fish on the weekend despite spending a majority of his time helping the other guys out.
As for Archer, he was the first of the five to want to call it a day. According to Goodman, that was about 30 minutes into Saturday morning, but between a few naps throughout the day, Archer caught a pair of fish. Of course that total was two more than Haugen reeled in and that point was made clear with a little harmless razzing.
Allard said Haugen handled the disappointment of being shutout fairly well, but if he had not come through with a fish on Sunday morning, he would have heard a lot more heckling from his teammates.
After the 10-hour day on the ice, the redshirts went back to Wilmer’s before his Mom cooked up another meal. This time it was the nine keepers the boys caught throughout the day. Mrs. Wilmer was kind enough to share just how to prep the walleye for those Sioux fans interested.
Recipe: Get the frying pan fired up to about 350 degrees. Then, take the filets and wet them with whisked eggs. Next, roll the filets in corn flake crumbs, put in the pan and flip when sides are getting crispy. The filet should be white and flaky. The biggest part of the recipe is to enjoy!
The memories of the adventure to the lakes of Minnesota will last a lifetime and head coach Brian Jones was eager to find out just how his prognostications played out. The third-year coach accurately selected Allard with catching the most fish.
Jones, however, missed on Haugen bringing in the first fish (Goodman) and was way off in predicting Goodman would get shut out. That dubious distinction belonged to Haugen until late in the trip on Sunday morning.
The boys were eager to get back to Grand Forks on Sunday to watch the Steelers pull out a thrilling victory over Arizona in the Super Bowl or there might have been more fish tales to talk about. Luckily, they filled up on some of the best waffles any of them had ever tasted before leaving Warroad for the friendly confines of Grand Forks.
This is the first installment of a series of blogs that will introduce the seven redshirts on the UND men’s basketball team as the Sioux transition from Division II to Division I this season. This the first class Jones and his recruiting class recruited for this level of play and the staff and players a like are excited about what the future holds for these young men.