Ice Fishing: What You Need & How To Enjoy It In The Alps
Are you looking for an exciting and different winter getaway? Then why not try ice fishing in the Alps.
There are many Alpine locations with stunning landscapes and well-stocked lakes and rivers suitable for ice fishing. For example, the Melchsee and Tannensee lakes in the Swiss Alps provide a perfect place for ice fishing, located almost two thousand meters above sea level. It's quite a different winter holiday than the usual!
With a wide range of fish in the Alpine lakes such as char, rainbow trout and perch it can be easy and fun to spend a few days or longer fishing on the frozen surface... as long as you have all the gear necessary that is.
Before rushing into an ice fishing trip it is advisable to do some planning first as a certain amount of specialized equipment is needed to make the experience rewarding and safe.
For anyone preparing to go on an Alpine ice fishing adventure, here are some essential pieces of equipment required to make it a success.
A Fish Finder
Fish finders are an essential piece of kit for locating fish under a thick sheet of ice. A great deal of insight can be gained by using specialized ice fishing underwater cameras as a fisherman can view the type and quantity of the fish. This can be particularly useful in deciding which bait to use, as cameras can help to identify species of fish so ice fishermen can tailor bait to their feeding habits.
A Specialized Ice Fishing Rod
The standard length of an ice fishing rod is 28 inches which are shorter than a usual fishing pole. Their shortness makes them easier to manoeuvre and more sensitive to fish activity. Typically ice fishing rods are made of cold-resistant materials such as composite or fiberglass.
Get The Right Fishing Line
Ice fishing line differs from the usual type as it is less visible in the water and much more resistant to abrasion and freezing when in contact with ice.
Otherwise known as ice fishing traps, mechanical bite indicators work by attaching the line and hook to a trigger. When a fish bites it activates the trigger which then raises a small pop-up flag.
Bite indicators are particularly useful for anglers who want to leave their rods unattended whilst they do other activities.
An Ice Fishing Tent
An ice fishing tent is akin to a portable shed to protect anglers from the elements whilst fishing. Many models include a range of accessories such as coat hangers, interior lighting, rod holders and storage areas.
Ice fishing tents are usually made from canvas, nylon or poly-cotton. When looking for a suitable ice fishing shelter it is a good idea to find one manufactured with thickest and toughest material to ensure it lasts years without tearing and successfully withholds heat. The material should also be breathable to make sure condensation doesn’t build up on the inside of the tent.
Since the temperature is well below freezing when ice fishing, it is extremely important to wear winter boots. These should be warm and waterproof to protect from severe weather conditions. Additionally, ice fishing boots should be equipped with grips to prevent slipping, and snow shoes if there is a thick blanket of snow covering the ice.
Ice Fishing Clothes
Ideally, when dressing for ice fishing, anglers should layer their clothing to provide them with the opportunity to strip down if they become too hot. Layering also ensures fishermen have enough clothing to handle severe weather conditions.
One trick to staying warm when ice fishing is to wear a one-piece item of clothing such as a long jacket or rain bib. Doing so seals heat inside as there are no points for warmth to escape, furthermore protecting from sleet, snow, and wind.
Other items of clothing required for ice fishing include gloves, hats, long underwear, sunglasses, waterproof coveralls, and winter socks.
A Float Suit
In the case of any emergency such as an ice break, a float suit can save lives. Swimming in ice-cold water is almost impossible as muscles cramp up quickly and the weight of wet clothing can drag people down. However, wearing a float suit can prevent drowning by increasing buoyancy and providing a protective outer layer to keep the layers underneath warm and dry.
First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen at any time, especially when spending time outdoors in freezing conditions. Therefore, it is essential to carry at least a basic first aid kit to deal with smaller injuries such as cuts and fishhooks caught in the skin.
Ice fishing in the Alps can be a truly adventurous and memorable experience, however, first anglers should take some time to prepare by checking what equipment is required.