It may seem strange to most of you out there, just sitting on the ice for countless of hours and it might not seem appealing at all. However, that’s exactly the whole point of it! That special combination of the soothing feeling that mixes with a dose of excitement while waiting for the bait to be taken.
By snowmobile, skis, or by foot, we head out on the ice and choose the perfect place to lay out the reindeer skin. Surrounded by silence and white expanses, we work the ice drill with force through the thick ice and listen contently to the sound as the drill goes through layer by layer. We choose bait with care and then we wait. Maybe tonight’s dinner will be fresh arctic char that is pulled up from the lake, but most likely not, so it is always best to have some packed food with you. The whole thing with Ice fishing is just the calming effect it gives, getting a fish is just a bonus. But with that said, the real charm is when you feel it starts to twitch in the line and you might just catch one.
Springtime is the best time for Ice fishing, when the sun warms, the snow reflects the sunrays, and the fish are more active. This time of the year it is also recommended to use sunscreen as the sun is often stronger than you think. Vary the day a bit by occasionally trying to look into the hole – you then lie on the ice with your face towards the hole and look at the fish under the ice. Incredibly exciting to watch the underwater life and the fish approaching the hook. Also, do not forget to move sometimes, maybe the next hole a few meters away gives greater luck.
Many Kiruna residents spend days and nights on the ice in a so-called Ark, tiny cottages / caravans on slides, which makes them mobile. Many have a hatch in the floor to be able to fish indoors if the weather is bad. Did you know that the first (known) ark was built in Abisko in 1935 by Ragnar Eriksson. Around the 1940s, the Ark became more popular. Today, they come in many designs, even a sauna, and they can be seen packed along the shorelines, for example when you drive along Nordkalottvägen. The Ark life is a great way to combine wildlife with fishing.
To get the best experience, it is incredibly important to dress warmly and according to the layer-on-layer principle. As this is a very quiet activity, you will get cold faster, but it is also nice to be able to take off a layer if it gets too hot. The temperature can vary quite a lot during the day. Do not underestimate the importance of packing hot drinks in a thermos and something good to eat. For a little extra luxury, we make a crackling fire, which is nice when the day heads towards the end, the cold becomes more noticeable, the darkness creeps in but we are definitely not ready to throw in the towel yet. Pimping in the evening under the stars and the northern lights is an unusual experience.
For those of you who are new to Ice fishing up here, we can warmly recommend joining a guided tour. A knowledgeable guide will take you on a fishing adventure for a couple of hours or days where you get an overall safe experience. If you go out on your own, it is important that you have safety equipment with you, especially in the spring when the ice begins to melt.
In the spring, you can also take part in the ice fishing events that are organized, including Kirunahugget which takes place at Luossajärvi lake near Kiruna and the famous Lapland Championship in Stenbacken where you can compete for great prizes since the middle of the 20th century.