Ice fishing review

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MILF: Man, I love fishing! Glenna Haug via Unsplash

grab a pail and hit the ice

When you think of the perfect weekend, what does it entail? For some of us, it may involve relaxing on the beach, getting a tan. For others, it may involve a self-care weekend with a Starbucks coffee in one hand and a great book in the other. For some people, a perfect weekend involves going ice fishing with some friends and catching some fresh fish for dinner that night. This week, the Carillon is going to take you through a review and experience of what it is like to go ice fishing in Saskatchewan.

I have been going ice fishing for most of my life, which means I have a couple of stories in my mind. What do you imagine when you think of the ice fishing sport? Does it make you think of wearing all the winter gear possible, sitting on a pail over a hole? Basically, that is exactly what the experience is.

When you go ice fishing, you want to make sure you have the essentials. For me, this is what it entails: a pair of long johns or leggings and a long sleeve for your base layer, a good standard sweat suit, and an outer layer that involves boots, ski pants, winter coat, mittens, toque, and some hand/boot warmers. Now that you have enough winter gear to feel like you are walking around like a marshmallow, it is time to go fishing.

My family typically fishes in shallow water. We normally try to stay in the range of 20-30 feet deep to catch some walleye. Once you find your spot, you have to get it ready. What is a good way to get the perfect ice fishing hole? The standard way to do it is with an auger. You can go all out and get an electric or gas motor, or can go old fashioned style.

Now that you have drilled a hole, what is next? You bring out an ice fishing rod and put some bait on it – a minnow will do the trick. Now turn away, vegans (or if you are squeamish). You can puncture two holes through the spine and back out, or you can go through the spine then slightly near the head (no matter who you ask, though, they will have a different technique – trust me on that). Once you have the bait on the hook, you have to make sure you get deep enough to find some fish. You can do that by letting out your line. Once it gets a bit curly or wavy, then you know you are at the bottom. Stop letting out the line and reel a bit up. Now you just have to sit until you feel that bite.

Once you feel a nibble on your line, tip the rod just a little towards the hole to make sure they suck in all your bait. Then, time to set your hook! Make sure you don’t reel in too fast; that’s what my dad and grandfather always taught me. You should reel a bit, then make sure your line is still tight and with the fish still attached. Once you bring the fish out of the hole, it is time to bring the fish off the hook. For some of us, this may be the worst part; for some of us, it is the best part! You want to grab the top fin with the base of your hand to make sure you have a good grip. That way it cannot squirm away! Now time to take it off the line. You can decide to keep it or put it back in the water.

Then you keep going! That is the experience of ice fishing, a pretty classic Saskatchewan sport. Go catch some fish. Go take part in an outdoor sporting activity and tell us all about it next issue. The Carillon would love to hear about it!

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