A Canadian Thing
The feeling your hands get when they are almost too cold, but you keep holding on. All you can hear is your breathing… in…. and out…. as you watch it in the crisp air. Its so peaceful, almost meditative. The excitement of waiting and watching that hole in the ice for your perfect catch is what keeps your there. Its part of being Canadian, It’s ice fishing.
Layer up, grab the toque, and don’t forget the thermos. Staying warm is vital out there on the ice. We love Ice Breaker Merino Wool as our base layer, and for the kids we run to Helly Hansen for their base layers. They look adorable on their skinny butts too.
Remember those toes! If my feet get cold it’s end of game, right there, for me. I put on my Smart Wool socks and make sure my boots don’t fit too snug. As with any outdoor winter sport I always wear a different pair of socks and boots on the drive out so I don’t get them sweaty in the truck. Once you reach your destination jump out, pull on your fresh Smart Wools and boots….you will be good all day.
I could go on, and on about warm gear, but I’ll save that for next time. You just want to catch the fish, right?
You might be wondering what hooks are the money makers. It is pretty much a guessing game….good answer, Eh! Each lake is different, each species of fish is different, and each time of year is different. It’s all part of the sport! But I will let you in on a little secret… even ‘ol faithful, the five of diamonds catches fish out of the ice at Dormer Lake. If all else fails slap a piece of shrimp on that hook and it’s almost a sure thing every time.
If you are planning on heading out to any lake this winter please read this checklist of must do’s for ice fishing in Alberta.
Before you head out make sure the lake you are fishing is open. You can do this by reading the Alberta Sport Fishing Regulations. Go to our website here and click on Alberta Sport Fishing Regulations.
If you want to use bait, make sure that specific lake does not have a bait ban. Baiting information is also in the regulations.
Even though it isn’t law in Alberta anymore, respect them fish and pinch those barbs! This is also helpful if your son gets his fish hook stuck in his friend’s face. I’m not joking either…..just ask my husband.
Check that you have a valid Alberta sport fishing licence and have it on you. If you need a fishing licence get one right now! Yes, I mean like right, right now. Go to our website here and click on “can you purchase me a fishing licence?” Boom. Done.
Now that you have ensured you have everything lined up and you’re ready to hit the ice, you want to make one more decision. Is that ice safe to go on? Ice safety is the number one important decision when heading out on a wintery Alberta day. Ice must be 4 inches thick to walk on and 12 inches thick to drive on. Keep your family safe and check out these My Wild Alberta Ice Safety Tips. Remember on stocked water bodies, that are aerated, you must use extra caution. For more tips on this and for a list of Alberta’s aerated lakes check out Ice Safety On Stocked Waterbodies.
I hope you all can get out, this gorgeous Alberta winter, and spend some time staring at the hole in the ice. Good luck, stay warm, and I hope you catch the big one.