Ever wanted to try ice fishing? I have. But it always seemed like something exotic that rugged people did in faraway places like Sweden, North Dakota or Lake Woebegone. But here in the Pacific Northwest, an unusually cold winter has created great conditions for fisherpersons who don’t want to wait until spring to hook Perch and Trout.
In conjunction with a Seattle Times Travel article, here are some photos from our recent ice fishing adventure at Fish Lake about 40 minutes east of Stevens Pass.
It’s a really fun outing and surreal to spend your day on top of 10 inches of ice and snow, 200 yards from shore.
The ice is still plenty thick and should remain stout until March. And while we didn’t nab any keepers, the fish are hungry and still biting.
Special thanks to Jon Hagerdorn from Family Lines who organized the community event.
Guide Steve Pate organizes poles and lures for our group using Swedish Dimples that look like Minnows.
Small fishing poles or even hand lures are all you need for ice fishing
Some fishermen choose to add fresh worms to their lures
These local brothers are using a hand auger (aka giant ice drill) to carve a new hole in the ice. Gas powered augers are also common on Fish Lake
One of the biggest surprises was the amount of slush on the ice. When a new hole is opened a bit of lake water spills out, soaking the surrounding snow. I wish I’d worn my rubber waders instead of my hiking boots!
You can’t have a day of fishing without snagging your hook in someone’s hair
After your hole is drilled, you have to scoop out a fair amount of slush
The family that ice fishes together stays together
Ian’s little pole also doubled as a gun for shooting storm troopers
Three-year-old Sadie was the first to get a bite – an ugly little sculpin. But when you’re a kid, even non-keepers are exciting to reel in.
Fishing is already a pretty lazy sport. Using a mount like this means you don’t even have to exert yourself by holding a pole.
Kelly Rojas of Hansville, WA puts in some serious effort for 15 minutes while drilling a new hole.
Locals who frequently ice fish use a gas powered auger for drilling new holes. Sleds are essential for hauling gear across the ice.
Guide Steve Pate gives local kids a few tips on how to hook Perch and Trout. Chairs and buckets are a good way to get your feet out of the slush while you fish.