What better way to spend a cold, sunny Montana winter day then on a frozen lake ice fishing! Ice fishing is another way our family harvests wild food. In the fall we hunt. In the winter we ice fish. In the spring we harvest wild mushrooms. In the summer we harvest wild berries and herbs.
Prior to having Little A and becoming a parent a few years ago, I used to look forward to ice fishing adventures each winter. The idea of trying to keep a toddler warm on the ice all day does not sound like much fun to us. Instead I stay home with Little A and my husband ventures out for a long day of ice fishing with his friends. While I miss going on these adventures, I know one day I’ll be going again when Little A is just a little older. We’re grateful for every chance my husband can go since he always brings home a slew of fish that will feed our family for quite a few meals.
For those of you not familiar with ice fishing, you basically drill a hole in the ice with an auger. You use a ladle to scoop the ice out and commence the fishing. You use a special short fishing rod specifically for ice fishing.
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The only part of ice fishing I am never too fond of is the fact that you have to trust that the several feet of ice you’re standing on will hold you. Standing in the middle of a frozen lake that is several hundred feet deep is a little disconcerting to me at times. Especially when you hear the eerie creaking as the ice shifts.
Some folks are brave enough to drive trucks and four wheelers out onto the ice. I guess considering that I shouldn’t be so worried I’m going to fall in! I should note that before going ice fishing, we always check the Montana fishing report to make sure the ice is thick enough to safely walk out on the lake.
The main fish that we catch ice fishing around here are perch. They are a smaller size fish that freeze well and make a delicious fish fry!
My husband usually brings home a 5 gallon bucket filled with perch. I had hoped to take some pictures of the cleaning, filleting and freezing process so share with you all but forgot to do it. Next time I promise we’ll share that part of the process!
Have you ever been ice fishing