One Minnesota fish has a royal, albeit frozen, final home: the St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace.
There, encased in one of the palace's more than 4,000 ice blocks, is a walleye.
Its placement — at just the right height for a child to see along one of the outer walls — is no accident. It's a nod to ice palace history and a display of state pride.
"In 2004 there was a walleye in one of the ice blocks," said Dan Stoltz, co-chairman of the Ice Board of Governors for the St. Paul Winter Carnival. "And just within the last few days of building the ice palace we wanted to give tribute to our state fish."
The block with the walleye wasn't fished from the lake as is. Instead, ice palace builders placed the fish inside one of the blocks from Green Lake in Spicer, Minn. (The 2004 walleye was also staged, placed in a block to make it look like it was chasing a hockey puck. But a block that featured a frozen perch that year was made by nature.)
This year's palace fish doesn't have a name — yet.
Stoltz said he's been getting lots of questions about its moniker, so he may leave it up to the kids.
"We're thinking about doing some kind of a 'name the fish' contest," Stoltz said.
With or without a name, the fish can be seen at the ice palace at Rice Park during the Winter Carnival, which runs through Feb. 10.
Jeyca Maldonado-Medina is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.