Free is good. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announces their annual Take-a-Kid-Ice-Fishing Weekend will take place Saturday, January 16 through Monday, January 18. In a news release, the DNR says, "During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without a an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing."

Volunteer mentor program coordinator for the DNR Benji Kohn says, "Ice fishing is lots of fun and is another way to enjoy the outdoors. If you're looking to start ice fishing, check out our helpful information online."

The DNR cautions, "ice conditions vary and there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice. Always check local ice conditions before heading out to a lake or river." Visit the DNR's ice safety page.

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In a related note, Owatonna Parks and Recreation will host a family ice fishing day during the Winter Weekend Out January 29-31. The ice fishing event is scheduled for Sunday, January 31 and you need to sign up for a time slot. Those are 1 to 2 pm, 2:15 to 3:15 pm, or 3:30 to 4:30 pm.

The event announcement trumpets, "Enjoy a Minnesota winter past-time, ice fishing! We'll have holes drilled for you and provide bait and equipment (limited equipment available). Everyone who registers will receive one ticket and each fish caught earns another ticket for a drawing for various prizes!"

Other events for the Winter Weekend Out include a snowman building contest (all January long), Snowman Clue - Who Melted Frosty? (January 15 thru 31), cardboard sled races at West Hills (January 30), and a snow sculpture exhibition.

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