Guiding the Metro

Metro fishing can be some of the most difficult fishing out there. There are real limits to it: limited lakes, limited fish in the lake, and often limited patience with the crowds (which seem to be the only thing not limited). The shorelines are dotted with houses and the boat ramps are crowded with pleasure crafts. These lakes aren’t the ones on the Saturday morning fishing shows.

                  However, even with notable challenges, many metro lakes offer excellent fishing. They are pressured for a reason. Some of the biggest unsung heroes of the fishing industry are the guides who call these waters home. These people choose to make their living taking clients onto these overcrowded waters and consistently catch fish. One of these heroes is Tuned Up Custom Rods Pro-Staff member Larry Hanson.

                  Larry Hanson has spent the past 3 decades honing his skills on the waters of Lake Minnetonka and other hidden gems around the Twin Cities metro area, guiding more than 200 days a year. I had the opportunity to spend a morning with Hanson on a little Lake X in the metro recently. We were planning on targeting northern pike using iFish Pros, sucker minnows and Tuned Up Custom Rods. Tip up fishing is something that I have very little experience with, so I was pumped to learn a thing or two that I could use on my own.

                  Our first half hour of the day was spent marking and drilling a triangular pattern of holes over a subtle underwater point that Hanson has been fishing for years. We stopped back at the trucks to remove our unnecessary coats (it was just before the polar vortex arrived) and to rig up a TUCR Deadstick. I noticed a pair of women making their way across the small lake, right towards us. Knowing how friendly people are on the ice, we waited to chat with them and see if they had any questions. We learned the one, Rachelle, had just moved to the Twin Cities in August and her mother, Michelle, was in town visiting. Rachelle explained that she had seen people fishing on the frozen lake and wanted to see what it was all about.

While Rachelle was talking, I noticed that Hanson’s expression had changed to a broader smile. When she finished, he looked at her and said, “I guided you on Minnetonka this summer, didn’t I?” Rachelle was surprised, but then recognition set in for her as well. As it turned out, Rachelle, her father, and her son had booked a guided trip with Hanson this past summer and had a blast. Both agreed that it was a crazy coincidence. Without missing a beat, Hanson asked if they wanted to help set up the iFish Pros and chase flags.

                  Rachelle and Michelle spent the next hour chasing flag after flag, setting the hook and reeling in both pike and bass, all with the help of Larry Hanson. It was awesome! Soon they took their leave, but only long enough to go to the house and return with son, Lowden, who immediately got into the act – landing a nice pike.

                  The chance meeting isn’t as rare as you would think for Hanson. Guiding for so long and so frequently, you are bound to bump into clients, he told me. His graciousness and willingness to invite the newcomers into his day was exceptional. And the fishing wasn’t too shabby either.

If you are looking to get out onto the open or frozen water to find unlimited enjoyment without having to drive for hours, I recommend Larry Hanson of “Larry Hanson Outdoors and Guide Masters.”

Tight Lines,

Dan Baker


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