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Aitkin's Rippleside Students on Hanging Kettle Lake

AITKIN -- The consensus among the adults at the Rippleside Elementary Ice Fishing adventure Wednesday, Feb. 20, on Hanging Kettle Lake was children need to spend more time in the outdoors. This year, 99 students from Rippleside Elementary in Aitkin spent the day on the lake in the fresh snow learning ice safety from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They studied fish electronics inside several portable shelters supplied by portable fish house maker Clam, learned how to use rods and reels given by the Women Anglers of Minnesota, learned proper technique for tip-up ice fishing by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and played ice games hosted by the DNR Fisheries Division. The Aitkin Lions Club donated money for bait and tackle and tip-ups and several volunteers donated money and fishing rods. According to Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida, the idea originated with a program from the DNR on taking kids fishing. “For some reason the program went away so we decided to pick it up and run it ourselves,” Guida said. “We just wanted to have the kids to enjoy ice fishing instead of waiting for summer.” For about five years, children from McGregor Elementary School fished on a frozen lake in the McGregor area and for the past three years the Rippleside kids went to Hanging Kettle for their adventure. This year, the program was coordinated by Aitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Asmus and Andy Walsh, probation officer with Aitkin County.