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'You're doing something you love': Minnesota fishing opener the catalyst for a new friendship

Lee Lohff and Nick Singh bonded over their common love of fishing at a business conference and made plans to meet up for the Minnesota fishing opener.

singh and lee fishing.jpg
Nick Singh (left) and Lee Lohff (right) enjoy a morning on Lake Sallie during the 2022 Minnesota fishing opener.
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DETROIT LAKES, MN — Seven months ago, Nick Singh and Lee Lohff were complete strangers.

"We met at a business conference in Reno," Lohff said. "We both loved fishing and being outdoors. When you meet people who love to fish, the first thing you do is bond over fishing."

Singh is from California, Lee from South Dakota. Yet once they found their common passion, the two new friends started talking about a fishing trip.

"Lee over here was bragging about how good the fishing is over here, and of course I was telling him about how horrible it is for us," Singh said. "So we talked about setting something up so I could come here and check it out."

They settled on Detroit Lakes, with the fishing opener weekend a perfect chance to bond. As May got closer, the winter kept getting longer.


"Very weird," said Baxstar Fishing Guide Service owner Brady Baxter. "You're always watching that ice and as I drive to work in Detroit Lakes everyday, I'm looking at Lake Boyer along the way, just waiting for that ice to come off."

"I'd been in somewhat frequent contact with Brady," Lohff said. "'Are we going to be able to even fish?' Because two weeks ago there was ice on so many bodies of water."

Right as April ended, Mother Nature cooperated.

"Man, my stress level went way down," Baxter said.

So the two friends, along with Baxter and Lee's son Kaleb, got to head out onto Lake Sallie in Detroit Lakes after all.

"I just couldn't believe it," Singh. "We took the scenic route up here from South Dakota. It was amazing, the beautiful lakes out here, I'm in awe."

On day one, the group caught a couple of crappies, reeled in a yellow bullhead, threw back a few perches, and even got close to snagging the big prize.

"We had a nice sized walleye hooked up, we ended up losing it, but it was a beautiful fish," Lohff said.


"We had it on the line, we had it to the bone, just couldn't bring it in," Singh said.

What didn’t get away from these two new friends was the memories made doing something that brought them together from half a country away.

"It is awesome man, this has been so much fun," Singh said.

"The people that you're with are your friends and you're doing something you all love to do," Lohff said.

Zach Staton joined WDAY as a sports reporter in 2018. He grew up in Salem, Virginia loving any sport he could play or watch. Staton graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Communication Studies before getting his Master's in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with a Sports Communication Emphasis from Syracuse University.
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