I asked a friend if she had a nice Christmas and she replied: “It was. Got a new toilet seat for my ice shack.” After I stopped laughing, my mind went back years ago when I was a kid and tagged along with my Dad when he went ice fishing.
Ice shack on Ironbound Pond
As you can see above, an ice shack is a little building just about big enough to house a couple of chairs and a cooler. You drag it out on a frozen lake on runners, just like a big sled. Traditionally, ice shacks are used for ice fishing, where a hole is drilled in the ice and traps are set. When the little flag goes up on the trap, the fishermen know they have a fish on the line that needs to be hauled up through the hole.
Now there are those who say that ice fishing is nothing more than an excuse for a couple of buddies to get together, sit beside a hole in the ice, and drink beer. That could be true for some, but serious ice fishermen are there for the fish.
Folded ice traps in a pack basket
As a child, I spent many, many hours on frozen Maine lakes in howling wind as I wondered what part of me would get frostbite first. In spite of that, I’d watch those traps like a hawk, just waiting for a flag to go up. We didn’t have the luxury of an ice shack back then. And you’d better believe we didn’t have one with a toilet seat, either!
What was the most unique present you either gave or received this holiday season?
Photos courtesy of Debb Quimby Heald, one of the finest nature photographers I know.