When Maine lakes and waterways begin to freeze over, there is a hearty band of individuals who take this as exciting news. They welcome these cold spells of Mother Nature because it means their favorite sport is about to begin ~ ice fishing.
Ice fishing has a long, proud history in Maine and it continues to grow in popularity. New technology, such as power augers, make the job of drilling a fishing hole through thick ice much easier. Improvements in winter clothing designs have made it possible for more people to enjoy colder temperatures in relative comfort.
But the great lure that brings these fervent outdoor folks out to brave the elements is the fun and challenge of hauling in a prized catch through the ice.
There are several techniques for ice fishing. One uses the tip-up traps. The traps are called tip ups because when a fish takes the bait on the line below the trap, a pole on the trap tips up to alert the lucky fisherman of a catch. Another technique is called jigging. When jigging, the fisherman lowers the bate line through the hole in the ice and pulls up and down on the line, or jigging, in hopes that the movement of the bait will attract a fish.
Inland Maine waterways abound with more than 60 varieties of fish species. Brook trout, also know as brookies, are the most abundant. Lake trout or togue, are also a prized catch, along with large mouth and small mouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch, rainbow trout and land-locked salmon.
When ice fishing it’s important to keep an eye out for the moment a fish strikes. Even more important is to keep an eye on the condition of the ice. Safety is a major concern and the thickness and condition of the ice needs to be under constant surveillance. Before venturing out be certain the ice can handle your weight.