Ice fishing in Maine, what’s the heck is the attraction some wonder ?
To many not anglers for wildlife with gills, could there be anything slower or more boring than fishing through a hole? To others, living for ice fishing adventures and the social aspect, nothing compares to their happiness. Waiting for the five trap lines down the drilled ice holes to trip. It’s all pure heaven. This blog post covers the topic of Maine ice fishing, one more winter pastime and described the outdoor sport. Maine is one ideal opportunity to fish year round… with or without ice in your recreational water.
Maybe you’ve seen and heard the guy or gal in the hip waders, talking about all types of fishing.
Planted smack dab in the middle of the genuine imitation fish pond while telling the story. Near the entrance to LL Bean’s mother ship Freeport Maine location as you stroll in and think what’s this demonstration.
You get a quick lesson on fly fishing and casting the line any of Maine’s four seasons.
Your ears pick up on a little sermon delivered on catch and release or just fishing in general for what you are going to eat. Respect for the wildlife and then here it comes. The announcement this is your lucky day shoppers. The in-store fishing guide standing in the pond with artificial water falls gurgling sounds, the really well fed trout swimming lazily in and around the rocks from outdoors brought indoors.
Using the wireless mic on the hands free headset piped into the overhead speaker store wide audio channel.”Rods and reels and the other paraphernalia for fishing the many open water locations in Maine are a true BAR-gin priced. Everything fishing just happens to be a wicked attractive twenty or more percent reduced for a limited time.” Good news blue light shoppers. To save you hard earned cash to stash not burn. Some green backs can stay folded in your wallet or purse. All to introduce you to the love of fishing in Maine.
But this blog post on ice fishing in Maine is not about selling you rods, reels, or creels.
It’s not about the love of wetting the fishing line on a trout stream on a bodacious summer day. And nope, uh uh, not the late in the day floating in a boat memory with your Grandfather who introduced you to the love of fishing in the dead of summer. Or the overstocked farm trout pond where the small fry gets so many strikes their arms hurt. Which causes the love to fish burning desire gene to ignite.
Maine is four seasons.
This fishing story is about what happens when the lake turns solid.
Ice ice baby and the Maine summer lake campers skid-addle to warmer surroundings in town or further south. Where no snow shovel is needed when you get up in the morning rise and shine.
I live on a Maine lake and hear the lone motor boat engine with the twist grip sound getting louder spring, summer, fall.
At five in the morning when the sun is just arriving to punch in at work from the east. While the moon retires, clocks out and heads to bed. It’s usually just one lone or maybe a pair of fisherman in the boat that early.
The piping hot fresh brewed coffee thermos is packed first and foremost. Along side some ham and cheese or tuna sandwiches, a variety of snacks too. And don’t forget the fresh bait. A guarded secret of what is put on the hook to catch some fish quick and easy. Tight lip secrecy surrounds that knowledge. Just like the best fishing hole locations.
As the early Maine fisherman stands up gingerly and casts a line and then sits down.
Slowly starting to troll for fish. Back and forth methodical. Out on the lake with loons and eagles and sea gulls toying with the same idea but approaching the task with different methods.
Ice fishing is a whole another winter sport.
There is work involved. Hand drilling the holes through eighteen inches of ice by hand is not easy. The motorized Jiffy ice auger can do the can opening of a Maine lake much quicker. Five holes, five or six inches in diameter for the ice fishing lines is what your license allows.
But hold it, slow down. The fish will wait for the games to begin. Before venturing out on the ice full charge blowing a bugle to announce the start of ice fishing season in Maine, check the ice. Determine the thickness of the ice and the load you are about to apply.
The holes you want to drill are not close to the Maine lake shore.
The deepest area of the lake is where you find the most fish, with the best neighborhood for them to hang out. More oxygen, greater depths mean you have to venture out to the region where other ice shacks set up shop for the same reason. And the cluster makes it more social and sharing stories, snacks, the landscape setting where it’s just you and the pop up village that will disappear before spring has sprung. More on Maine fishing laws.
The neat thing about Maine ice fishing in the dead of winter is there is less competition from up above.
And plenty of fish down below in the dark chilly waters of a Maine lake. The frosty temperatures, the production of dragging your ice shack out to the center of a Maine lake separates the men from the boys. It’s a little bit of a production getting set up for ice fishing.
Being all bundled up can make you overdressed in the huffing and puffing to haul it out to the middle of a Maine lake. Then come the holes to create by hand or device. To slice open the lake to start ice fishing one hole at a time. Slush spills up and out like a good producing drilled well often does. Flood the area around the shack for smooth rinks of ice for your kids to chase the puck or do figure eights.
The ice fishing shacks are loaded up with all the creature comforts of home.
To be invited to stop by and sample the fish chowder or chili while watching a sporting event or play a
couple hands of cribbage with tunes in the background is a big deal. Hey, want another deviled egg Sport? Pass those sardines and crackers and slice me another slab of that sticky cheddar. Thanks. Now how big was that fish that got away again. Back to the tall tales. That everyone knows is a tad stretched from the real story of that day fishing in Maine.
Maine winters slow the pace to allow the time to squeeze in something new. In Maine, no matter what the season, we dress differently but are always headed outdoors. Being stuck inside causes chaffing at the bit to break out.
It’s not just a temporary condition called cabin fever when you are tending ice fishing trap lines.
The fresh air, the open space and need to be outside to socialize. To take in the pure natural beauty when you are lucky enough to tap into the unspoiled surroundings in Maine. You bask in it, you crave it and don’t want to miss a drop like it is a life giving IV of steroid enhancement.
The ice fishing shack… what does the state say about the hut you use to be home on the Maine lake?
There are Maine ice fishing rules. You have to call it quits and remove the shack or structure three days at the close of the ice fishing season. Or before ice out, whichever comes first.
Thin ice, being out on the Maine lake trying to get the shack back to shore and the public boat landing can cause nightmares. Going through the ice in late winter is pretty sobering.
I can swim but holding my breath in frigid water until spring to surface for new lung air takes supreme patience. Finding the hole I fell through to return to the surface when below the sheet of Maine lake ice is a do or die situation.
Ever heard of hypothermia ? Your muscles won’t respond, you suddenly have no energy and lose feeling. Check and think twice about driving, snow sledding, cross country or snow shoeing out to an ice fishing shack.
The ice fishing home away from home where winter weekends are spent, there must be two inch letters that spell out the details.
Who owns this palace, what is your address along with your name Chummy. Also, leaving the structure on another person’s land without permission is a no no. Many ice shacks make it back to the public boat landing okay and intact. And then the flatbed or trailer needed to continue the journey back home is penciled in on the calendar date that works best. Held to the side of the kitchen refrigerator with the square filled in that addresses the maneuvers needed to hoist it up and yank it back home.
But leaving the ice fishing shack on the land of another… that’s a no no. That landowner who surprise finds your shanty ker-plopped on their private property has permission to immediately remove or even destroy it.
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT BUB!
That’s the permitted approach for any ice fishing shack structure left double parked on their property if no okay from them was received in writing.
Reflectors on all sides of the ice fishing shack make sense too just like a long dangerous lake dock.
Do you want an ice rocket, a Maine snowmobile to graze it or come into your living space at warp factor five? Whether you are in the shack huddles around the hole in the ice with the window to gaze out and monitor the other four outside fishing holes or not. Loss of life, the destruction of your ice shack in the darkness of night can be avoided with a little effort.
I know of a local snow sled buddy who did hit an ice shack and Christmas with this family members are without his attendance now.
Died way too early and maybe reflectors would not have helped but their can’t hurt for safety first. Also heard a fellow, an only child share with me what happened to his parents that were with another couple one Saturday night. They were driving on the winter ice and went through, losing both his parents just like that. He was suddenly an orphan who went to live with his Monticello Maine grand parents at six years old.
The ice shacks I’ve stopped into to visit are along the snow sledding ITS trails.
The Maine snowmobile trails often cut directly down across the middle of open lakes where ice shacks, cross country ski trails and pond hockey ice skating happen.
Like I said, Maine winter is not a time to hibernate. The chain pickerel want to play fish. We don’t waste a drop of winter sunshine under blue skies and all this white landscape of fresh fluffy snow.
If you are cold, you are not dressed right for whatever a Maine winter can throw at you for ice fishing.
If your teeth are chattering, grab the end of the sleigh robe your kids are sitting in and give ‘er a strong yank. Pull them and warm up pretty quickly as you hear their laughter. Hooking the snow sled to the toboggan and pulling the kids around slowly is memory making. The kids cheeks glow rosy. Their sleep tonight will be deep and complete from the outside oxygen therapy.
Layers, dry clothing, the right gear makes being outside fun and comfortable. Without it, you suffer. Everyone ice fishing in Maine hearing you bitch and complain does too. No one likes a whiner when they could have prevented it with a little extra care and attention to how they dress when considering spending the entire day out in the Maine winter outdoors ice fishing.
Be prepared, we live in Maine and those mittens your grandmother knit with 100% wool can’t be beat ice fishing.
Snow sledding boats, extra gloves, a scarf or neck warmer and hat or hood. There are rules to apply to
how you dress to wander outside the seventy or higher degrees showing on the living room thermostat.
Brook trout fishing during the daylight hours, switching to cusk during the evening. I had a secretary for twenty four years before lung cancer knocked on the door who’s husband is the most dedicated fishermen I know. He gets up at 3AM in the morning to head to the ice fishing shack on Nickerson Lake. He is a catch and release kind of fisherman.
You might not be a local Mainer with his or her custom built or tow behind snow sled ice shack.
Renting a camp for a winter family vacation instead for a week that includes ice fishing could be the ticket you buy. Walking out to the attended ice fishing traps and hoping to catch a land-lock salmon on the end of the sinker-ed line open for business down below where it’s dark. Where the rainbows, splake or togue fish are waiting for your calling card hors d’oeuvres .
Ice fishing in Maine.
The tote sled used to drag your gear behind the snow sled goes out and back after ice fishing ends. You are maybe renting a cabin in the cove overlooking the ice fishing territory that yields the best results ice fishing in Maine. Hooking white, yellow perch, bass, pike and depending on the Maine lake or pond, a slew of other fish species. Or you take the tack used by the old boys with the wide open front and back doors of the family sedan like this ice fishing blog post displays up on top of the post.
A fishing derby in a Maine community can yield prizes and form new life long friendships.
Celebrating winter in Maine may seem odd to someone better suited for sand between their toes and palm trees swaying overhead. Maine is a northern tier state like Michigan, New Hampshire, Minnesota or Wisconsin so we’re not a novelty or one of a kind when it comes to taming winter and embracing it.
More on the list of ice fishing derby Maine locations.
Poker runs, raffles, snow sled club house suppers, other winter fun is combined with the Maine ice fishing derby list of activities. Every year the events get bigger and better and the same volunteers sign on for life like more local home grown fun events.
Let’s go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake, Maine’s largest body of inland water recreation fun.
See local Maine Inland Fishery game wardens tell you what ice fishing is all about if new to the sport.
One more video on ice fishing in Maine adventure.
Ice fishing in Maine. It’s not just a bunch of guys looking for the orange flag to spring. It is a slow sport, not as drawn out as watching paint dry. But not too taxing once the holes are drilled, the traps in place and all the related gear on site.
The kids play making snow people if the snow is sticky and can pack by rolling the body parts. Or the sides to wage war with a snow ball fight. The family dog is present and he or she socializes with other K-9’s. It is not just ice fisherman on the lake or pond. There is social interaction around the wood stove inside sitting down or standing up outside the ice fishing shack. Spectators come and go.
Snow shoeing, ice skating and pond hockey can happen and hot chocolate is always one of the liquids enjoyed by the younger family members.
Easy does it with the barley pop or grape juice or buttered rum. The game warden makes his rounds to assure compliance with ice fishing regulations.
Every lake or pond has it’s own set of rules to protect the water body. Some fish are not fair game until January 1st. Others water playgrounds allow across the board winter fishing without interruption or delay.
Regardless of what you use cheese, coffee rubs or WD 40 sprayed bait or lures, it is fishing. It takes still and keeping the ice fishing traps in the holes attended. You can introduce sonar.. or do it old school. Thinking what if you were a fish.. where would you be right about 2 o’clock topside on a Maine lake Saturday or Sunday afternoon?
Waiting until the ice is safe to venture out onto means eye on the forecast and measuring the depth in many places.
Being the last to set up your ice shack makes sense too. True ice fisherman have attached peg hooks like
small kids have strings on their knit mittens. The closer to the end of ice fishing season or when temperatures warm seasonably high and what’s under you disappears.
If you went through the ice or were snow sledding and just happened to find some open water, black ice.
You might be lucky enough to surface and use the pegs to dig in and grab the outer ring of ice to hopefully pull yourself up and out of the cold drink. The water cold and warm fish species call home.
Ice fishing in Maine, ever done it?