Is ice fishing enjoyable?

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Now that we’ve had a steady streak of below-freezing temperatures, I’ve heard guys talking about hitting the local lakes for some ice fishing. Are you kidding me? Why? I’ve never gone ice fishing, and I’ve never been able to understand what motivates others to want to do so. What is the attraction of sitting in a sparsely-equipped shanty on a frozen lake, hoping to get a nibble from a fish that is small enough to fit through a hole drilled in the ice?

Is it really that much fun and/or rewarding to layer on the winter clothing from head to toe, grab the old tackle box, hop in the family vehicle and head out to your favorite frozen body of water?

I can kind of understand the allure of the peace and quiet one might experience sitting out there all alone. I’m guessing it does wonders to reduce the stress and re-charge the batteries after a hectic week at work. It might even be better than sitting at home listening to the wife and kids drone on about the endless trials and tribulations about everyday life.

But couldn’t the same thing be accomplished in a much warmer and more luxurious environment? A lot of guys head to the health club and sit in the sauna. That makes way more sense to me, especially when the temperatures outside drop down to single digits.

I’d love to hear from an avid ice fisherman. Do you REALLY like it? If you claim that you do, I’m sure there are scores of reasons why. Would you be willing to supply the rest of us with a list of a few of those reasons?

Or, better yet, if you have the nicest, best-equipped shanty in northern Illinois or southern Wisconsin, shoot me an e-mail, and let me know where it is. I’d love to come out and take some pictures and possibly join you for a few minutes some sunny afternoon after the holidays. I’ll even bring a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate, your choice.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Dec. 15-21, 2010 issue

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