Fishing through the ice is a favorite winter pastime of many Northern anglers. You can get out of the house and spend time on the water even if it's hard on top. You can rough it fishing out in the open or you can fish from a ice shanty with all the comforts of home.
Before going out on the ice make sure it's thick enough not to be dangerous. Just because others are out there fishing doesn't mean it's safe. On big lakes, stay near the shore and don't get close to the outer edge of the ice before all the open water is gone. And be very careful taking snowmobiles and vehicles on the ice.
Cutting holes in the ice can be done with a hand or power auger, or even an ice spud (a kind of knife). Using the hand auger or spud is a good way to work up a sweat and then be really cold when you stop to fish. Some people like to cut several holes and fish them all, while others are satisfied with one hole to fish. Sitting over the hole and jigging a tiny jig or spoon, tipped with a maggot, minnow, or piece of fish, is a good way to catch fish. Tip-ups are devices that sit in the hole and pop up a flag when you get a bite, so if you set up several lines, you can watch them over a large area.
Some folks sit on a bucket on the ice beside the hole, exposed to wind and cold; others protect themselves with portable tents; and many more people build themselves ice shacks for protection. Some lakes look like small towns with all the ice shacks that stand in one spot all winter. The shacks can have all the comforts of home, from beds to stoves and televisions. Fishing in one can be just like sitting in your living room at home; that is, if your living room has a hole in the floor with water and fish in it.
Give ice fishing a try to beat cabin fever and catch some fish to eat. Just about any kind of fish in the lake can be caught under the ice, but perch and pike are most common. Check with local bait shops for tips on where to fish and what to use. And if there's a lake near you with an ice-fishing shanty town, you might find a bait shop right on the ice.