Northern Hard Water || Chasing Lakers Beneath the Ice

Wrote for Leatherman

Water begins to ice over with the arrival of winter and does not open until early-to-mid April in Northern British Columbia. It is a season of harshness and beauty, where the land is as cold and hiemal as it is wonderful, glistening with frost diamonds. Northern ice fishing, I believe, attracts a certain individual. An individual who is enticed by cold temperatures, long sled rides, frosty noses and skin, raw and coarsened, licked by the cold winds. This individual is not me. Last year, I ended up in the ER after an ice fishing trip went awry. We were in pretty bad shape; whipped from mother nature and her icy temperatures, forcing us cut our frozen boots from our feet with with my Leatherman knife. My toes were numb, raw and black while the third degree frost bite had begun to set in. Thankfully, I still have all ten toes and they are now back to a lovely shade of pink.

A year later, with new boots, I set out again with the same friend and my new furry sidekick, Oreo, who I had adopted last spring. Again, she greeted us with the same wicked winds as a reminder from last year. Leaving town at 05:30, the dark air was calm and still but after three hours later and a frosty sled ride in, the sun began to rise with wind gusts that made setting up a tent nearly impossible. Tent went up though, ratchet straps were drilled into the ice to hold us in place, holes were augered and scooped, lines were rigged with big flashy jig flies and barbs were crimped.