Ice fishing is fascinatingly complex. It’s cold and potentially uncomfortably so. Access to frozen sheets of ice can be hard with deep snow slowing every step. The reflected sun burns skin quickly. And if you’re not in a tent, or the fishing’s slow, you can see…well…nothing.
It is all that. It’s also silent, if you need. Yet unlike on a deer stalk, it can also be a great chance to visit with friends and family all day, as you’re not going to scare the fish with a good gab (trust me, underwater cameras confirm this). There’s something boring about the static nature of the ice sheet. Until it cracks hard and rattles you to your core. It’s boring. Until you have a fishing line in your hands with the biggest fish of your life (actually) on the other end. It can be razor sharp cold, or blaring sun tshirt hot. It can be flood ice and wet and soppy, or dusty with diamond glitter snow. Inactive for hours, or a slam of fish on steadily, blood staining the snow. It is all of that.
Ice fishing, in my world, is a seasonal tradition that deserves honouring. It's something I did long ago with my grandparents - and my children are now doing with their grandparents. Before sea kayaking entered my life, introducing ocean fish to my home kitchen, this was my family’s source of fish for the year. I can’t imagine skipping it, as I might other hunting and fishing activities. Winter is long, the opportunities to find time in the calendar abundant, and the joys of it all re-appear every time I step onto the ice, staring at the inhospitable forboding expanse of snow, knowing there's something exciting and tasty waiting beneath my feet.
I’d propose that those that find it ‘boring’ or ‘cold’ need to 1) improve their ‘smell the roses’ game and 2) dress warmer.