Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Fishing

Ice fishing for the north US + Canada.

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I briefly looked at the fishing topics and didnt see anything addressing ice fishing. Although for most of the country, it is a laughable scenario. For people in the north US and Canada, our lakes might as well be concrete slabs if you dont have a way to get through the ice. Anyone know how the Indians (or other individuals who are allowed to spear fish in the winter) cut those massive blocks of ice? Has anyone ever hand drilled into 14+ inches of ice with just a 8 inch diameter drill? anyone have any ideas for shtf and getting through a crapload of ice? After our 20th hole, we had to tighten the main screw with an allen wrench? I dont think my preps would revolve around just one way to get into the ice, let alone a finicky gas engine.  

While on the lake, drilling 16 to 24 inch deep holes, my twin brother pulled this massive walleye out on the last day of the fishing season (feb 28th, 2010).

We obviously released this behemoth, but wow was it fun. My 2 brothers, dad, and I hauled up a ton of walleye, bass (dont eat), and perch. We release most fish, just enough to make a nice "fillet-o-fish" for each person. I have to yield some of the success of the fishing to those dumb looking and gimmicky underwater aqua views. For years I have hated these things, seen them in sporting good stores, and thought they were only for people that liked to burn money. I know a vexlar or other good system might tell you all you need to know to help land some fish, but that visual confirmation helped complete the picture that the lines sometimes do not. Would you be able to see this with just a vexlar? I spit my beer up laughing so hard when I saw this one...

Fixed up the photos.bartsdad

Where I grew up it was normal to have 36"+ thick ice from early Jan to late March.

If you can get a fishing license you can spear from an ice house.

A good option for spearing is an ice saw  like this one. You can just do 2 corners with the auger then use the saw to cut the rest of the hole it will save you a bunch of time.   Another option is a good ice pick the 4-5 foot long sharpened steel bar This will get you a hole in the ice you can line fish from. It will take alot of work to open the hole the first time but if you open it regularly then there won't be more than a few inches of ice each time you revisit the hole.

I got hooked on ice fishing a several years ago.  It is a blast.  I take my kids and we jig for panfish but usually get a couple bass and pickeral in the process.

However, for the past couple years it has not been getting cold enough to get a good layer of ice that I'm comfortable with for more than a couple weeks.  And of course, during those couple weeks I have things that keep me from getting on the ice.

I agree, ice fishing is a blast.  My wife's family lives on a beautiful lake in northern Wisconsin. I've been hooked since our first winter visit. It's also nice to be able to come back to Louisiana after two weeks of sub zero temps.
Usually there is between 8 and 16 inches of ice.  They use either a hand or gas powered auger to start the holes. Then use an ice chisel to keep the hole open.  it is not unusual for them to use the same whole for an entire season. Of course the have lived on the lake since the 40's and know where the fish are.  While jigging for pan fish is a great way to catch bluegill and perch. I prefer the lazy way.  Catching northern pike and walleye with a tip up, put a minnow on the hook set the spring loaded flag and retreat to the ice shack where it warm for some liquid refreshment. (you can see the tip up in the lowere right by the chisel)

Some people keep their holes covered to help keep their holes from freezing over.

I know that they make tent style shelters and other light weight gear. I would think a sled of some kind would allow you to haul all the need gear for a successfull ice fishing expedition.  I'm sure there is someone on the forums from the arctic (In Louisiana anyplace north of Mississippi is the arctic ;)) that has some more info.

Yes there are plenty of portable ice houses actually built on sleds that are meant to haul all of your gear as well. The clam is one of the popular ones. They are nice when switching spots or for thinner ice when you can't drive your truck out yet.


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