Ice fishing is a great sport for anglers in northern climates who need to get their fishing fix all year long. While it can present some unique challenges, ice fishing is getting more attention every year, with more anglers bundling up and heading out to their favorite fishing spots no matter how cold it gets...
It seems that the more time you spend talking with anglers, the more you hear stories about massive trophies being pulled out of holes in the ice. By many accounts, ice fishing is gaining popularity throughout the U.S., giving anglers the opportunity to catch more fish all year long.
WHAT MAKES ICE FISHING SPECIAL?
There are many parts of ice fishing that people enjoy. As we said earlier, it gives anglers in northern climates the chance to keep fishing, without waiting out the winter months. Instead of sitting inside and counting your lures, you can gear up, head to the lake, and try to catch a winter trophy.
Although there can be lots of equipment involved, ice fishing requires smaller fishing gear, which may explain why some many anglers find the sport more attractive. Instead of a 7-foot rod, you can ice fish with a pole that is about two feet long, making for easier storage and transportation.
But probably the biggest reason is the fact that ice fishing can be very exciting. There’s something about pulling a giant northern pike out of a small hole on a frozen remote lake that really gets your heart pumping. If the fish are active, it can be one of the most enjoyable fishing experiences you’ll ever have.
COMMON SPECIES FOR ICE FISHING
Just about any freshwater fish that swims in cold climates will be caught during ice fishing season, but because of the sport’s popularity in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Maine, where the ice fishing season can last four or five months, the most common ice fishing species are walleye, northern pike, trout, and other fish are found in these states. You can catch everything from small panfish like bluegills and crappie to king-sized muskellunge. If you can catch it during the summer, there’s a good chance you can catch it during the winter too.
WHY THE RISE IN ICE FISHING POPULARITY?
There are many reasons that could explain the recent rise in ice fishing popularity, but it probably has a lot to do with the advancement in modern fishing gear and equipment, which has made ice fishing easier and more convenient. There are lighter, more powerful ice augers, smaller and stronger ice fishing rods, and portable shelters that make ice fishing almost as comfortable as sitting in your living room.
One of the most important advancements in ice fishing is the invention of the “tip-up”, a spring-loaded mechanical system that releases a flag when a fish pulls at the end of a line. These simple yet effective machines have made ice fishing a sport that is less labor intensive, allowing ice anglers to sip hot cocoa, grill some food, or simply enjoy the company of their friends.