Great Lakes ice fishing is risky, yet rewarding, a sport full of thrills and danger. As safety is first, or should be, fishermen venture above the chilly waters of the Great Lakes atop of ice to engage their skills with rods and reels, every winter season. The traditional event that should be called an extreme sport is full of risks and dangers, but also results in the satisfaction of the catch and the bond of friendship.
The Great Lakes, natural feats of creativeness, are surely a draw beyond the small ponds and rivers in the northeastern United States. Their fascinating expanse of waters bordering between Canada and the U.S., are enticing for travel and tourism, beauty and intrigue. Sandy beaches line the shores of the Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior Great Lakes, spawning romantic and scenic moments. Bordering on major cities, the Great Lakes have served in commerce of ship travel, delivering goods for centuries.
Year after year, the shallowest of the five Great Lakes, Erie, located on Ohio’s northern edge and abutting Canada and Michigan, is sure to freeze. The others have randomly frozen in certain spots, still allowing for winter sports such as ice fishing. Ice is a good thing, as it covers the lake and prevents moisture from escaping from the cold, dry air. If the lake does not freeze, water levels in the spring are low, effecting general warming temperatures and fish population.
Ice fishing is prime in many of the harbors of the Great Lakes, as the whole lake may not be safe with just a thin coating of ice. Measurements of at least four inches of thick ice are ideal to set up camp for a day or more of reeling in the goods. Great Lakes ice fishing involves risks most fishermen are well aware of, even if they become used to trusting in the natural elements. Fishing on the Great Lakes beyond the seasonal time of frozen waters is not good, as things start to warm up and increase the risks.
Safeguards are in place when an ice fisherman embarks on their grand tour with hopes to nab the big one. Flavorful and delightful meat can be extracted from the icy waters by drilling an eight inch hole into the ice. The catch of the day from any of the Great Lakes fishing may include trout, pike or perch. It is surely worth the effort and risk to fill up a home freezer with the tasty fillets.
Ice houses, or shanties can be readily put up and towed from a snowmobile or ATV. Structures replicating elaborate tents or mobile homes can actually be the indulgence of the ultimate sportsman. Ranging in styles and accommodation, shanties or huts can house a satellite TV, heater, fridge and a full-size bed. The possibilities are endless when it comes to doing what you want to do as natural hunters and fishermen. Modern life seems to follow as many sportsmen embark on their dreams.
Ignoring warnings from the authorities, over 130 fishermen put their own lives at risk in February of 2009 when the floe of ice they were fishing on broke away in Lake Erie. The precautions they had observed did not take hold as they floated away without their gear and equipment. The hard lesson of beating the elements was in full force as they were rescued after several days by helicopters. The fear was instilled, as they risked their very lives for the catch of the day.
As is with nature, waste and debris are a natural and regular part of life. Staying in one spot for several days can produce an unbecoming output. Leaving trash and raw sewage can result in hefty fines, citing cardboard, plastic and cigarette butts as the main concern, along with cans and bottles. It’s not a clean and free catch when the trimmings of the excursion are left behind. Unused or abandoned shanties can also produce unwanted floating debris in the lake when it warms up.
The ultimate thrill of a fisherman is to embark on an ice fishing expedition. Expecting good things from nature in the form of a good catch also requires the adherence to environmental standards and concerns. Many a fisherman has been elated with the great catch of the day or weekend, ignoring their own trash and waste they produced to procure the feast at hand.
Even recently, a father and son duo out on the ice in Canada, caught and captured a larger-than-life size fish from the frozen waters. Wondering if it could even rise above their eight inch hole in the ice, the 40 pounder emerged with brilliance beyond expectation. The wonderment and fascination of the catch was an awesome moment in ice fisherman fantasy. It all happened and they live on to tell the tale.
Great Lakes ice fishing stories are a tale above the water, running the risk as they move their destination from place to place. It does not all go without the encountering of storms and currents that tell beyond the natural bounds of fun and fishing. Great Lakes ice fishing can be risky, but surely worth the pleasure and the plenty of the catch!
By: Roanne FitzGibbon