Water is a magical material. Unlike most substances, it expands when it freezes. For this reason, ice floats rather than sinks, and, where the winters are cold, fishermen can walk out to the fish they hope to catch. People have been doing this for thousands of years as a way of enduring harsh winters. But today, ice fishing is as much about fun as it is tradition. Where the winters are long, it provides a reason to brave the cold.
And thanks to new technology, ice anglers are better equipped to find fish, making for more exciting outings.
First, ice marks the start of the ice fishing season in the northern states and Canada. It’s when over-night, the ice on a nearby pond or lake creaks and groans until it fuses together. The next morning, it is several inches thick—and clear as glass. After making sure it’s strong enough to walk on (at least 4 to 5 inches [10 to 13 centimeters]), fishermen make their way from the shore to the weedy shallows, where fish feed on plankton, other fish, and, hopefully, bait.
The basic idea of ice fishing hasn’t changed much through history. Native Americans used to chisel out holes in the ice, drop a homemade wooden fish into the water, cover themselves with a blanket to illuminate the hole, and then wait for a fish to appear. Then they would spear the fish. They also used fishing lines attached to short sticks—similar to the jigs used today.
That single-hole jigging tradition, which depended on knowledge of the lake and a little luck continued until recently. Today, sonar aids fishermen in predicting good fishing spots—and power augers allow them to try their luck at several holes. With ice fishermen now as mobile as their summer counterparts, the sport is growing in popularity. But many traditions, such as spearfishing through an illuminated hole in the ice, remain.
Ice fishing culture varies slightly from place to place. In Minnesota, fishermen seek walleye. In Wisconsin, some people spear sturgeon, a giant prehistoric fish. Alaskans catch salmon. Northwestern fishermen try for trout. Other fishermen are happy with a bucketful of panfish.
Whatever the catch of the day, many fishermen think fish tastes best when caught in icy waters.
Whether you grew up ice fishing with your family or are new to hard water fishing altogether, this book will help you become a more efficient modern ice fishing angler.
Table of Content
- Chapter 1
- Where To Ice Fish And
- How To Be Safe
- Chapter 2
- What To Bring: From Basic
- To High-tech Equipment
- Chapter 3
- How To Ice Fish: The Basics
- Chapter 4
- How To Catch Panfish And Game Fish
- For More Information
- For Further Reading