Chippewa native american people ice fishing hole on winter landscape. Ancient engraving style art The Penny Magazine, London 1837

The History of Ice Fishing

For years, ice fishing has been enjoyed as a pastime and relied on for sustenance. As time has gone on, the technology use in ice fishing has developed. Now, we can enjoy the sport in relative comfort while spending time on the ice. From ice fishing structures, like skid houses, to fish-finding technology, a lot has changed over the decades. Let’s take a look back at the history of ice fishing.

When did ice fishing begin?

No one is quite sure when ice fishing began. Archeologists have found evidence that leads us to believe ice fishing dates back over 2000 years ago. This is the timeframe that most experts agree on, but it is likely that it was many years before that.

Who started ice fishing?

Ice fishing was a tradition of natives from North America and Canada. Historians believe that they used ice fishing as a mean of survival. When the water would cover with ice, they knew the fish were still there. They just needed to find a way to get to them.

How did natives ice fish?

When ice fishing first began, they did not use rods and reels. Instead, they used a technique called spearfishing. The natives speared the fish with spears tipped with bone or wood. Eventually, the idea was developed to build a structure to place over the hole. They chopped the hole in the ice and placed the structure to block out the light. This made it easier for the fisherman to see down into the water. Then, they came up with the idea to carve baitfish lures out of bone and wood. They would lower the lures down into the water to attract bigger fish. When the first fishing line was developed, the natives adapted and began using it.  As rods and reels were developed it became easier to ice fish, thus beginning one of our favorite winter pastimes.

Are you interested in a modern-day skid house or a darkhouse spearfishing house? Find a dealer near you!

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