It looks as though Dustin Byfuglien will be able to tell a few fish stories at the NHL All-Star Game this weekend, after all.

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This article was published 28/1/2016 (2129 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It looks as though Dustin Byfuglien will be able to tell a few fish stories at the NHL All-Star Game this weekend, after all.

The Winnipeg Jets defenceman — who joked going to Nashville to compete in the skills competition and play in the defence-free game would cut into his ice-fishing time — was able to squeeze in some angling before leaving town.

Byfuglien, accompanied by his agent, Ben Hankinson, who flew in from Minneapolis, spent much of Wednesday hunkered down in a fishing hut on the west side of Lake Winnipeg near Matlock.

"He had a smile on his face the whole day. He caught more fish than me, and I’m a pretty good fisherman," said Todd Longley, who runs City Cats guiding service and organized the Matlock outing.

"We caught some walleye, some pike, perch and a lamprey, which is a little eel that attaches itself to a fish and sucks the life out of it. We kept the walleyes to eat and everything else got released."

Byfuglien, who was born in Roseau, Minn., was so intent on dropping his line through the ice he convinced Longley they shouldn’t let a little snowstorm — visibility was reportedly down to about 100 metres — get in their way.

Longley was originally going to write a story about helicopter fishing trips for Hooked magazine when his editor suggested it would be cool if they could get Byfuglien out ice fishing after hearing his jokes about what he’d rather be doing instead of going to the all-star game.

"We called his agent and he said, ‘Let’s go,’ " Longley said.

Longley’s cousin, Derek Longley, who runs Prairie Helicopters out of Gimli, dropped in and took Byfuglien and Hankinson for a one-hour tour of the Interlake.

"(Byfuglien) wasn’t keen about the helicopter ride at first, but he ended up loving it," he said.

(Longley kept a few details of the trip to himself. Check out the next issue of Hooked at the Mid-Canada Boat Show from March 3 to March 6.)

This isn’t the first time Longley has gone fishing with an athlete. A number of Winnipeg Blue Bombers, including former general manager Lyle Bauer, former original Jets forward Randy Gilhen and former Winnipeg Goldeyes pitcher, Ace Walker, have all been clients, as has actor Rob Lowe.

Longley said Byfuglien was there to fish, so they didn’t badger him with hockey-related questions. "We had a good snicker about the Evander Kane (sweat suit) thing last year, but that was about it," he said.

"Byfuglien is a total stand-up guy. He’s very polite and very down to earth. You’d never know he’s a hockey player."

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca