Ice Fishing Resource Guide

While some might think it's crazy to go fishing on the ice, it is actually a popular sport. Each year, many cold-climate communities throughout the world hold huge ice fishing tournaments during their winter season. With the proper gear, including warm clothes, shelter, and basic equipment, the sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages. For the safest and most enjoyable experiences, it is best to be aware of the sport's dangers. This includes knowing when it is safe to go out on the ice. It is also important to remember that fishing on the ice, like all other kinds of fishing, does require the appropriate state licenses.

What is Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing is a term used for fishing on a frozen body of water. Any body of water that freezes over in the winter and where fish reside is a great location to go ice fishing. Normally, this includes lakes and rivers. When someone goes ice fishing, they drill a hole into the ice and put a line down the hole. The hope is to catch an unsuspecting fish swimming underneath the ice in the unfrozen water. Like regular fishing, this can sometimes require extreme amounts of patience.

Ice Fishing Shelters

For those who plan on ice fishing in extremely cold weather, an ice shelter or shanty offers much-needed protection from the cold and the wind. Shanties can be as simple as a wooden box that keeps the wind at bay. Often, they look like tents or little wooden shacks on the ice. Some ice fishing shelters are more complex. Known as luxury ice houses, they might come complete with a big-screen television set and king-sized bed. Some avid ice anglers can live in their ice houses for days or even weeks at a time. Each state has its own regulations regarding ice fishing shelters and when they need to be removed from the ice.

Ice Fishing Gear and Equipment

Equipment for ice fishing can be as simple as dropping a string with a hook on the end of it down a hole that has been drilled or cut through the ice. For those who dare to spend hours on the ice, several layers of warm clothing are part of the absolute essentials. Those who are hardcore ice anglers never venture outdoors without the proper jigs, bait, shelter, augers, and other equipment.

Dangers of Ice Fishing

Whether someone has years of experience fishing on the ice or they are just beginning, it is always important to understand the dangers. One must always make sure the ice is solid enough before going out on it. It is important to know what to do just in case one does fall through the ice. Another danger involves the cold weather, especially when there is wind involved. Even if the temperature is 20 degrees, a north wind might make it feel well below zero. Frostbite and even death could become a possibility when the temperature gets that cold.

Ice Fishing Contests

Ice fishing contests provide a great way for ice anglers from all over the world to come together and create awareness for a sport they love. Some of the world's largest ice fishing contests take place in the United States. One such contest takes place every year in Brainerd, Minnesota, on Gull Lake. The event attracts more than 10,000 anglers who compete for $150,000 in prizes. Another tournament, the World Ice Fishing Championship, is a contest between the best ice anglers in 10 to 15 countries and is held at a different location each year throughout the world.