Ice fishing’s history and how the sport has evolved into an amazing technological pastime in these modern days is a fascinating tale. What used to be a social event is now considered to be a serious sport with the goal to catch as many fish as possible.
The Ojibwa Indians employed spears in the earliest form of ice fishing. After chipping holes in the ice, the Indians waited for a fish to swim to a decoy they made out of wood. Rods were often cut from a willow. Later, a dowel with two golf tees glued into side holes were used. The original method for ice fishing was to just sit on a bucket or stool and wait! However, it is possible to have quite comfortable accommodations and locate fish easily nowadays.
Dave Genz (“Mr. Ice Fishing”) and a few others invented a portable fish house in the 1980s. This pop-up tent has a wood or plastic floor, steel or aluminum frames and uses a nylon or canvas material. Genz says it can be set up in about 30 seconds and holds up to six anglers! Ice fishing history continues to improve the sport with ice fishermen now carrying an electric or gas-powered auger that can bore holes six-inches wide right through a foot of ice in merely seconds! Rather than wait at one hole, it is now possible to drill hundreds of holes in a single day to find fish.
Ice fishing anglers today would make ancient fishermen shake their heads in bewilderment because of the use of portable battery-powered depth finders with graphs and sonar flashers to locate fish. Additionally, there are underwater cameras to locate the fish and all anglers would have to do is wait until the fish ingests the bait before setting the hook. A Global Positioning System can also locate good fishing holes.