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What is Ice fishing and how is it done? Definition

In countries where cold temperatures predominate and it is common to find rivers and lakes completely frozen, is where a practice known as ice fishing, or also known in English as ice fishing. This is nothing less than a type of fishing whose peculiarity lies in the fact that the fisherman must cut a layer of ice to catch the pieces that move through the water that is not frozen.

Very common in places like Lapland or Finland, it requires the person in question to carry something with which to cut a block of ice to leave a hole. That is the place where he will insert the fishing rod string to catch all the fish moving under it. It requires a lot of patience, as well as endurance due to the very low temperatures, but it is one of the most original and different manifestations of an ancestral activity.

However, it also has its risks. Before starting to practice ice fishing, it is important to check several things, such as the thickness of the ice layer that covers the water extension is big enough to support the weight of one or several people with the equipment they carry and the pieces they manage to catch.

This being said, it is also extremely important to know that the movements must be made smoothly and without any kind of abruptness, as there are likely to be areas where the frozen layer is less thick and may increase the risk of breaking.

It is practised in few countries, as it requires very specific climatic conditions, as well as geographical conditions, low temperatures to freeze lakes, lagoons or rivers of a significant width. However, this does not mean that it is not an activity that has both a sporting and a commercial branch.

Materials and tools needed for successful icefishing

The first thing you need to be able to not only succeed, but also to be able to practice ice fishing without having a bad time, is to wear good warm clothes. The angler will spend a lot of time quietly in a place where the temperatures are anything but friendly, so it is important, apart from wearing several layers, to also carry some kind of thermal garment to fight the cold better. Of course, gloves and a hat are a must.

As for the tool used to open the hole in the ice, what is most used is a specialized drill, a kind of tourniquet more than a meter high that the user nails to the frozen surface of the water and turns through a simple crank system to rotate and drill the floor. Given the thickness of this device, the resulting hole has a perfect diameter to introduce the thread and to be able to take out the captured pieces without any problem.

On the other hand, the rod to be used is quite small, since the usual thing is that the angler places himself practically on top of the hole. It is not necessary to have a too big rig, nor that the thread is of many meters. Since the line is not going to be cast as in a river or a swamp, it is only necessary that it has a medium-low length in order to fulfill its purpose well. Enough to be able to lower the hook enough, since this way it will be possible to arrive at the zones with warmer water, where the fish will be.

The hooks must be very light and, if possible, they must also carry some kind of larvae as bait because it is easy to extract them once a piece is caught.

What types of species are caught in ice fishing?

Temperature is a determining factor for the habitability of an aquatic area for the different species of fish that exist. There are those that cannot live in cold waters directly; also those that, although with difficulties that are reflected in their movement and attitude, manage to live in areas with low temperatures and, finally, those that resist with almost total normality these so low thermometers that are registered in countries like those previously mentioned, Lapland and/or Finland.

The fish that can really be found in frozen areas are those that are more resistant and tougher in general. Pike, pikeperch, rainbow trout, lotas and even whitefish. All these species are caught, for example, in Finland, some of them being very common not only when doing sport fishing, but also when talking about gastronomy.

All of them are known to be caught throughout the year, being especially easy to see in summer, when temperatures are a little more lenient with the flora and fauna. When the cold weather arrives and the waters start to freeze, most of them move to the deepest areas, trying to find the warm currents that allow them to live as normally as possible.

There are more varieties that move in the frozen areas of the planet, but these are the most frequent in the countries where ice fishing is practiced regularly.

How to make a hole in the ice for fishing?

In order to make a hole in the ice with the intention of trying your luck with this type of fishing, the first thing you must do is detect the appropriate aquatic area. Find out about lakes or lagoons where the ice that forms is thick enough to support the weight of people, as well as the safest areas of these sites. Ice sheets are not always homogeneous, and there may be places where they are much thinner and can pose a risk.

In addition, if you go fishing in company, it is advisable and almost mandatory that each fisherman is approximately 20 meters away from the other. Accumulating a lot of load in the same area of these ice layers can be a danger of breakage with fatal consequences. It is necessary to always be extremely concerned.

With these two factors in mind, you can start with the creation of the hole in which you will put the line to practice icefishing. Once you reach the area where you want to fish, you only have to take the hole or special drill and stick it in the ground, without using your feet. Once nailed, the rest is just to turn it until little by little it perforates the surface and the desired hole is made.

Once finished with this device, extracting it vertically, it is recommended to “clean” the surroundings of the hole with some flat utensil and with a handle (a kitchen skimmer may be useful). Remove the ice to leave the hole uncovered and you can start fishing.

Although the steps are simple, it is also advisable to take them patiently. Sometimes, it can take a few minutes to open that hole in the ice and, since you should not make any sudden movements, you should proceed as calmly as possible to avoid any danger.