Published on March 3rd, 2023 | by The Iceman0
Will we be able to go ice fishing ever again?
In the future, will we be able to go ice fishing any more? This is not a philosophical or existential question. I really mean it as it was written. With the way the weather seems to be developing, things are looking worse for those of us who like to fish on the hard water. Of course I live on the edge of the ice belt. So even in good times the ice fishing was limited. But last year I didn’t even get a chance to get on the ice. The year before that was no better.
Of course things change and weather fluctuates. In the early 2000’s there were times I was out on the ice fishing even in late March. Those days the people who don’t ice fish were complaining that spring was taking too long to come. But I was happy. I don’t mind warm weather one but. But when a couple of years pass and my local lakes don’t even freeze, I have to admit that I do see a problem.
Warmer weather means less ice
This past year I was barely able to get any ice fishing in at all. I had to travel to find some safe hard water. But in some other areas they were walking on very early ice. A major cold front came through out west and locked up a lot of lakes. Meanwhile back here the birds were still chirping and groundhogs were walking around like it was summer.
But overall there is a warming trend that we can see all around us. I don’t need to get into politics or argue with anyone about it. I have spent my whole life outdoors, and I know when things are different. It is on average warmer than it has been in the past. And there is less frozen water around me in the winter.
Look at this graph of the average temperature in the United States over the last 124 years. You can see a clear trend upward starting at about the beginning of the 1980’s. This doesn’t tell us everything about the way weather and ice has evolved. But it does give us an overall idea what is happening.
Not only was 2019 one of the hottest years I can remember, it was also one of the wettest. Neither of those things bodes well for covering lakes with solid ice that we can walk on and fish through. While I always hope to get back out on the ice I have to wonder how things will be this year and in the future.
What does the future hold?
I don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. It’s easy enough to see what is going on around me. And I am certainly not alone. Lots of anglers have been complaining of less time on the ice in recent years. From what I hear things have even been a little more limited up north where they get months of solid ice to enjoy.
That said, I don’t know what the future holds. I could make an educated guess, but my education is limited. So rather than speculate, I will just continue to deal with what comes. In other words, I will hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
I don’t think ice fishing will completely dry up and disappear any time soon. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see less and less hard water as time goes on. Luckily for me I can travel north and to higher elevations to find frozen lakes without a lot of worry. But other people who don’t have that privilege will find it harder to go ice fishing at all.
Still this is a great sport that people have developed over many years. And it goes on in other parts of the world too. A lot of things we utilize in America for ice fishing like the Marmooska jig came from anglers in other countries. That kind of development and back and forth will continue. And people like us will keep on ice fishing whenever we can.
As long as I am ice fishing I will be learning. It is a lifelong process that never ends. New situations come along and we adapt. If my fingers are still capable of moving you can bet that I will write about what I learn here. The whole fun of it is passing along the knowledge to others. This isn’t some huge website read by millions. But if even a couple of people find this site and use the info to help them go ice fishing, then my time and effort was all worthwhile.
Have fun on the ice–where you can find it–and stay safe