The freezing temperatures that are finally hitting us may soon give me the opportunity to participate in what might just be my favorite outdoor activity: ice fishing!
You love him or you hate him. There isn’t much in between. Or maybe some just don’t get it? Mention that you are an ice fisherman and you either get a thumbs-up or a look that suggests you may be suffering from a mental disorder.
Honestly, ice fishing is perhaps my favorite outdoor activity.
I’m not alone. Many of us love – no, cherish – the chance to spend a day on the ice punching holes and dropping frozen lines.
Why love ice fishing, you say? For me, after a long season of hunting deer in almost total solitude, in calm, concentration and deep concentration (which I like by the way), ice fishing is a total and welcome change of pace. to meet up with friends and enjoy some laughs and time outdoors.
Unlike deer hunting, ice fishing is usually a social event, with multiple conversations, jokes, or memories being told at once. Hell, to be honest, sometimes I spend as much time sliding from hole to hole just chatting with people as I do with a line in the water. It’s a part of the sport that I enjoy.
My son, Nicholas, thinks that pulling a grill out on ice to fry some fresh, firm winter fillets is the best thing in the world. He might be right! Fish tastes best when taken from frozen water. The flesh is firm and full of flavor.
For my good friend Jacob Ireland, “Ice fishing is a bit like bow hunting for me. I like the challenge this represents.
And there is a challenge to that. You can’t navigate the lake with side imagery and easily find all the best spots and fish. You have to work for them, drill holes and drag your stuff. But success obtained by effort is always much sweeter than that obtained with ease.
Ice fishing also does something that open water fishing usually doesn’t – it brings fishermen together.
Get up close with a guy who is open water fishing on your favorite lake and you will probably have an ear full of it. On the ice, however, I can shout and ask you to come join us.
Also, let’s be honest, even on the rough and windy days in the middle of winter, Mother Nature still shows her splendid glory. Glimpsing a sunrise or sunset, or the frozen and almost eerie beauty of icicles hanging from tree branches are wonderful sights to behold, and they just don’t look the same through a window. Being fair with them makes you appreciate them more, makes you feel like you are a part of them.
Think of ice fishing as a kind of party on the ice, something akin to sandbanks on lakes during the summer. While it might seem a bit of a stretch, the feeling and the atmosphere can be the same.
The camaraderie, the food, the melted adult drinks and most importantly the opportunity to go fishing in the middle of winter all explain why ice fishermen don’t just wait for freezing temperatures, we longing and begging.
That being said, ice fishing probably isn’t for some people yet. If you don’t like having fun, laughing, or catching fish, you should probably stay away from it.
And on a much less light note, people die from falling through ice in Indiana every year. This should in no way deter you from ice fishing. This should deter you from making stupid decisions.
Always play it safe, first and foremost. Wear the proper safety equipment, never risk venturing onto dangerous or questionable ice, and always know the condition of the ice before stepping on it using a crash bar. If you don’t know how to check if the ice or the conditions are safe, wait until you have someone to accompany you.
If you currently have a valid 2021 fishing license, it is still valid until the end of March 2022.