As the frigid temperatures descend upon the Connecticut River Valley area in New Hampshire and Vermont, anglers take to the plentiful lakes, rivers, and ponds to try their luck at ice fishing. As first light appears you will find anglers making their way onto the ice to drill holes in hopes of catching a fish that is worthy of bragging rights or at least makes for an interesting story.
There are also those fishermen that appear at the opposite end of the day as light is falling below the horizon to fish for pan fish such as smelt or perch. Which is an art in itself as the subtle flicker of the line requires quick reflexes to hook these small delights.
While ice fishing dates back some 2000 years and was most likely a way of survival when the bodies of water froze over and having food in your belly required hunting, trapping or fishing to ensure your survival. It does not represent the same sense of urgency today, but still provides one with a meal of protein plus the socialization of fellow anglers and the passing on of a family tradition.
One's choice of shelter consists of a temporary structure ranging from tent-looking "pop-ups" and the highly engineered shanty or bob house. Both sheltering you from the cold and a far cry from the bucket my husband sat on exposed to the elements when he first began the sport.
While the pursuit of fishing is what brings you to your favorite body of water, there is the added delight of the smell of a hot breakfast of sausage and eggs filtering from shanty to shanty, endless games of cards and the immense hope of the the next tip-up being the "big one."