Ice fishing is a popular winter pastime in many northern countries and U.S. states, where long, cold winters freeze lakes and rivers. Anglers drill holes in the ice in order to lower their bait to catch fish.
Ice fishing poses dangers to the angler, mostly relating to thickness of the ice. Experts recommend four inches of ice or more, but many fishermen will venture onto the ice before the ice is thick enough to provide sufficient support. Fish houses, cars, trucks, and snowmobiles can fall through the ice, injuring or even killing ice fishermen and others on the ice or in their vehicles.
Ice shoes or a good pair of grippers to help with traction are a must for all ice anglers, as much of the time on the ice will be spent on foot. Ice fishing also requires warm clothing to help fend off extreme temperatures and wind conditions. Hat, gloves, heavy wool socks, and many layers of clothing are usually necessary to keep out the cold. If you are using a fish house, a heater can be important investment that will help extend your enjoyment on the ice.
Portable ice fishing shelters, or fish houses, have become popular. They can be light in weight, easy to carry or pull onto the ice, and relatively easy to set up. Think of a nylon camping tent squared off, and designed to hold a person or two along with ice fishing equipment and accessories and food and water supply.
Among other popular accessories are electronic depth finders, fish finders, and more. Don’t forget the fishing rod and reel. Many ice anglers prefer to use live bait such as minnows.
Many ice fishing competitions have spring up over the years. Among the largest ice fishing contests are those on Gull Lake, MN, and Hwacheon, South Korea.