Ice fishing huts and vehicles dot Sylvan Lake.

Annual freeze-up signals the start of a Canadian custom (photo gallery)

For Canadians, ice fishing is a winter rite. Cutting a hole in a frozen lake, dropping a line and anxiously awaiting a bite ranks as a winter pleasure that can only be topped by enjoying a piece of pan-fried perch, whitefish or ling cod.



For Canadians, ice fishing is a winter rite.

Cutting a hole in a frozen lake, dropping a line and anxiously awaiting a bite ranks as a winter pleasure that can only be topped by enjoying a piece of pan-fried perch, whitefish or ling cod.

Central Albertans are fortunate in having so many lakes suitable for ice fishing to choose from: Sylvan, Gull, Pine, Buffalo, Crimson and more.

Some fishers opt to bring a shack to better enjoy the social ends of the sport by visiting with friends out of the weather during what can often be long waits.

Many are content to tote their gear with them each time, some setting up portable tents to shield themselves from the elements. The hardiest simply plant themselves on a lawn chair or even just a bucket in hopes of landing the big one.

Whichever way works best, remember that provincial licences are required and there are catch limits. Given the numerous days of warm temperatures this fall thanks to chinooks, anglers are also cautioned to check ice thickness as a safety precaution.

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