Ice Fishing in Norway

Aus der Perspektive eines Eisfischers am Gålåvannet See.
Taken from the angle of a ice fisher at Gålåvannet lake.

Silence. Not a sound heard, not a word spoken. If it wasn’t for the monotone sound of the small button life near the shore it would have be completely silent. No highways, no city noise, no nothing. Only silence. And us. Out on the frozen lake Gala with our out tiny ice fishing rots. Somewhere in the middle of Norway and around an hours drive from Lillehammer by car.

„We drink a lot of coffee when we go ice fishing. A lot.“ John Ola is serious about the coffee and fills up our cups. Norwegian by far isn’t the strongest, but it does warm you up and for a while it is also a good distraction on the side. One thing’s for sure: standing over a 10cm hole in the ice concentrating on catching a fish certainly requires practice.

A hole, a fishing rod and a cup of coffee. That's all you need
A hole, a fishing rod and a cup of coffee. That’s all you need.

John Ola has practice. Once, we was out ice fishing with his dad at minus 42 degree Celsius he tells us. That’s the coldest temperature he can remember and he’s been living here for over 15 years. Sometimes they catch 40-50 fish a day ice fishing. Today the outlooks are grim. Today it’s cold out there. Too cold. Too cold even for the trout that at this time of the year prefer to float on the bottom of the sea, moving as little as necessary. And today none of them seems to be even a tiny bit hungry or feeling like a alive worm snack. Too bad really, we did put our hearts into stick the worm onto the hooks.

Der Wurm muss auf den Haken.
The worm has to go onto the hook.
Fishing in the snow and ice.
Fishing in the snow and ice.

We even tried to cheat. Well not us, but John Ola tells us that he’s been feeding the holes for three days with old cheese now hoping to attract fish around those places. We lower our fishing rots down to the bottom and wind them up back about a meter from the ground. Now we wait and hope for fish to pass by being attracted to the worms. To make sure they notice the worms we pull the rots up a little every two seconds or so. Up and down. Up and down.

It snowed when we got to the lake in the morning. At least it only has -19 degree Celsius and it’s supposed to get a bit warmer. But somehow we don’t feel this happening. And the coffee cups are empty again. So we go for refill of coffee for us and oat meal for our holes. Maybe this will attract the fish.

So norwegian.
So norwegian.

John Ola brought a big ice drill him. He wants to show us how to drill holes and we learn by doing. It’s simple but you have to keep it straight and not stop moving. If you stop you loose the momentum and it gets stuck. Once they caught a fish that was too big for the hole to be pulled out from. So they had to drill a second hole next to it to get it out of the water. We give our best drilling and make three beautiful new holes. All of them are more than a meter deep. Now that’s even too deep to have my GoPro peak through and down the lake.

Gone fishing.
Gone fishing.

So we stand on the ice, fish and wait. Every now and then we take away to ice that builds up on the water front inside the holes. A few minutes into our first round of fishing we hear a loud crack. The ice just cracked somewhere on the lake. But nothing to worry about John Ola ensures us. It’s too thick to matter.

Later that day we even get a bit of sunshine, we turn and face the sun. The sun feels good on our skin. Maybe this will get the fish moving.

Facing the sun.
Facing the sun.

But nor the sun or the starting snow fall can get any fish out of our holes today. We leave unsuccessful as lunch will be served back at the hotel, which I almost forget standing there ice-fishing. I would have loved to grill my own caught fish. But, there’s nothing I can do about it now and I’m sure this won’t be the last time that I’ve gone ice-fishing.

One last glance back to the lake, which is one with flat, flooded only by complete silence.

Disclosure: Thanks to Innovation Norway for the invitation. As always all opinions and experiences remain my own.

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