In the frozen north, several countries practice a style of angling that is quite a bit different than any other form of recreational fishing. Ice fishing is a slow, sometimes dangerous sport that requires patience and the right equipment.
Ice fishing started in frozen countries such as Canada and Norway, but is not limited to these locations. In fact some lakes in Alaska freeze thick enough to fish on. Like the name states, this form of angling can only occur on frozen lakes thick enough to sustain a lot of weight.
Traditionally, ice fishing equipment amounts to nothing more than a sturdy wooden pole, a long, strong piece of fishing line, hooked and baited, and a stool to sit upon for several hours. Also, some prefer to hunt with a sharpened wooden spear. Although it’s not as widely used or appreciated, the spear is another possible piece of ice fishing equipment.
But, there is more to ice fishing than sitting and waiting. The fisherman also needs to be able to cut a sufficient hole through the frozen lake to get to the water underneath. That’s where the ice spades or ice saw, two specialized articles of ice fishing equipment, comes in. The fisherman uses these tools to cut a hole about five inches in diameter out of the frozen lake. A strainer is another piece of ice fishing equipment used to sift out newly forming chunks of ice within the hole.
There are a few different kinds of angling techniques that can be applied to ice fishing. The first uses small, fast lures and a keen eye, to catch smaller game. The second method requires a special piece of ice fishing equipment known as a ‘tie-up’. Using this method, the angler drags the multi hooked fishing line by hand until it strikes, thus, ‘tying” the fish in a web of hooks. The last method is the spear method, in which the fisherman places decoy fish at the top of the water in the cut hole, then waits until the perfect moment to strike.
As I stated above, ice fishing can be a dangerous sport. Water must be frozen about four inches to support average humans’ weight. Some times the ice is a bit thinner than four inches. Mistakes like misjudging the strength of the ice can be a potentially life threatening error. If one were to fall into a partially frozen lake, he or she would most likely die from hypothermia, if not properly taken care of.
So in conclusion, if you have sufficient knowledge and the right ice fishing equipment, ice angling can be a fun and fulfilling sport that people of all ages can enjoy.