Ice fishing is one of the most popular types of winter fishing. And what can be more peaceful or soothing than sitting on the ice, basking in the early spring sun, with a rod in your hand waiting for a tug on the line? Even if you’ve never tried ice-fishing before, it’s a simple activity to try out.
“Pimpel” is the easiest type of ice fishing to begin with. You need an ice auger (like a drill), an ice-fishing rod with a “spoon” jig and live bait, such as maggots or worms. Bring a fold-up chair or some kind of mat to sit on, and a motorised ice auger can be helpful if you’re fishing where the ice is very thick. Otherwise your arms will get a good work-out drilling a few holes.
Fishing for Arctic char and whitefish
Just outside of Östersund is Lake Locknesjön, one of Sweden’s cleanest lakes with a large Arctic char population. A special char “spoon” is often recommended if you want to catch Artic char, and you use it with a maggot on the hook. Arctic char move around a lot under the ice so you can sit at the same hole for ages and then suddenly catch a fish as they swim long distances hunting for food.
They say that Musviken bay, part of Lake Locknesjön, is one of the best places for catching whitefish. Your best chances of catching whitefish are in January and February. Each season, 12 – 15 tonnes of whitefish are caught there, and the record is 745 fish caught in one day by one fisherman.
Fishing for perch, whitefish, brown trout and grayling
On Lake Storsjön you can ice fish for perch, whitefish, brown trout and grayling. Frösö Strand/Öneberget is a popular place that is easy to reach by Stadsbussarna buses, and if you have your own car you can try the bays around Andersjön. Näkten is another popular lake for winter fishing just outside of Östersund.
Fish for grayling close to the shore, around 30-50 cm is the best depth, especially when the snow is melting. That’s when the grayling are on the prowl. In contrast, whitefish seldom swim near the bottom of the lake. Instead you need to be further out on the ice, preferably around 1-2 metres depth and fish at half the depth. Perch are fairly sluggish when the water is cold, they don’t move much and often stay just above the bottom of the lake. Many people use a mormyska ice-fishing jig when ice-fishing for perch, grayling and whitefish.
Don’t forget to give your rod small, regular, jerks so that the jig and bait move around and lure the fish into thinking there is food to hunt for. If you catch something, get your rod quickly back into the hole again, fish often come in shoals. If you have something to lie on, it’s exciting to lie on your front and peep down the hole to try to see when the fish are getting closer – it’s called sight fishing!
Our advice is to go to a fishing store, such as Landbys here in Östersund to buy equipment and also get tips on the best fishing right now. You can often buy maggot or worms at petrol stations and do not forget to buy a fishing permit! To buy fishing license for Lake Locknesjön you can contact Bo Näsén at mobilnr: +46 (0)70-399 25 54
Make sure you check the thickness of the ice, wear a set of ice spikes around your neck just in case. It might also be good to bring a rope. And never go out on the ice alone. It’s both safer and more fun.
Look out for stream outlets, as well as piers and bridges. Wherever there is flowing water the ice becomes thinner. Also keep in mind that the springtime sun can weaken the ice too. Ice that may have been safe in the morning might not be safe in the late afternoon when the sun has been beating down.
Remember to dress up warm as it can get cold out on the lake. Don’t forget your sun lotion and sunglasses as the early spring sun is strong and the white snow and ice really reflect the light, so it is easy to get sunburnt.
Don’t forget to take a bite to eat with you!
Regardless of whether you plan to go ice fishing for an hour or stay out the whole day. Food never tastes better then when you eat it outside, so pack a hot drink in a thermos and bring a bite to eat, known as a “fika” in Swedish. Sit back in the chair or lie down on your mat, and just enjoy winter. Happy fishing!